Good sales pitch!
A short story.
He had called in advance, asking whether he might also present his projectors, next to the usual PC products. A modern company like PolyChem surely needed decent presentation peripherals. The nice Hewlett Packard-salesman had suggested this so politely that I couldn’t possibly say no. Besides, he was right: we did need decent presentation peripherals badly. We have an ancient overhead projector that can never be found when you need it, a big Barco beamer in the auditorium that doesn’t work half of the time, and one portable projector that is constantly in use. A smart projector salesman could have a field day with PolyChem.
‘I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to present our projectors to you, Mr Davis.’
The same politeness, smart suit, winning smile. Looks like someone you might trust to keep your wallet for you when you go for a swim.
‘I would like to start by asking you a few questions, Mr Davis, so I can establish your specific needs and then suggest which projectors in our range would be best suited for PolyChem. Would that be acceptable to you, Mr Davis?’
‘Go ahead. I’m listening and I’ll answer your questions.’
‘How many meeting rooms does PolyChem have, Mr Davis?’
‘About ten in our headoffice, and one or two in each of our international branches. We have fourteen of those.’
‘And how many projectors do you have for those thirty-eight meeting rooms?’
‘Just the one.’
‘And what are the consequences of this lack of projecting equipment in the thirty-seven other rooms?’
‘You hunt for hours for that one overhead projector, people are reduced to sketching out their pitch on flipcharts, and everybody’s grumbling that we need projectors urgently. One of the business unit managers has bought a small one out of his own budget. He is happy as Larry.’
‘How many sales representatives do you employ that need to give presentations for customers?’
‘We have twenty account managers who are on the road most of the time. Our customers are based all over the world.’
‘These sales representatives are all equiped with a laptop?’
‘And they hope the customer has a projector, so they can set up shop comfortably.’
‘How often is that the case, that they can use the customer’s equipment?’
‘About one in ten.’
‘What do your sales people have to say about this?’
‘They’ve been whingeing for weeks that they need a portable projector. Hwelett Packard is our IT-standard, and they have one of those in their range, nice design as well. At least once a week I get somebody saying they want one.’
‘So if I understand you correctly you waste a lot of time and energy because of this. Could you give me an estimate of the amount of time and energy you lose here?’
‘God, that has to be millions per year.’
‘Would you say the purchase cost for a few of these products outweighs the millions lost in productivity, not to mention demotivation and the unprofessional impression the company makes this way?’
‘Of course I think we should buy them, but our CFO, Roberti Smith-Jones, doesn’t agree. We’ve managed for years without, so there’s no reason to buy them now.’
‘Let us suppose, Mr Davis, that we fit every meeting room in your headoffice with a designated projection system, that each of your international offices receives a portable version, and that every sales representative gets a projector as a companion to their laptop when they’re on the road—what do you think the effect would be?’
‘I’m convinced we’d be operating a lot more efficiently and a lot more professionally. The customers would also notice that we’d made it into the 21st century. But that would cost a great deal of money.’
‘In fact it won’t cost you a cent, Mr Davis. It’ll save an enormous amount of time, it will increase your productivity, it will improve your turnover. And just to remind you of maximizing your return, we’ll send you a bill.’
‘And what about Roberti?’
‘Does he have any small children?’
‘He has twins aged eight.’
‘I suggest we supply him with a portable projector he can use for his financial presentations at PolyChem, and which he can set up as a ‘home theater’ outside work. He can project his kids’ Disney DVDs on the wall. He’ll be SuperDad, and he’ll come to see the enormous potential of our products.’
‘That’s a good idea.’
‘Did you know projectors can run on wireless technology as well these days, and that you can configure them into a network so you can download your presentations from a server?’
‘Interesting, but too complicated for Roberti. Let’s stick to Disney movies for now.
’So mister Davis, how many projectors shall we deliver to you then?’