More than a hole

Legendary Harvard Business School marketing professor, Theodore Levitt, coined the phrase “People don’t want to buy a drill and a quarter-inch bit. They want a quarter-inch hole!” In his book, This is Marketing, Seth Godin takes the professor’s famous quote to the next level. They’re not buying drills or drill bits, they’re buying holes. Good sales and marketing people understand this. The drill and quarter inch bit isn’t the solution, the hole is. But this is only the first level of what some call “solution selling”.  In his book Seth Godin describes how there is much more to the “solution”. He uses an example of putting up a shelf, I’ll use… Read More

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Presentation Homicide!

Is someone killing your presentations? In many industries presentations are “slide decks” created for one person by someone else, often in another department. Often this department is marketing. These are sometimes called “customer facing presentations”.  There are 3 big problems when you follow this method of presentation creation: #1 – Slides are not a presentation There is an all too common misunderstanding of exactly what a presentation is.  By definition (and by how it works), a presentation is a live event.  It’s like a play, it’s an experience for the audience. The visuals are there to amplify and clarify key messages, and to add structure to a presentation.  They are… Read More

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Are percentages making an impact in your presentations? (probably not)

Late last year I was at the largest conference in the medical imaging industry. While walking through the exhibit halls I noticed that many of the vendor booths were covered in messages using percentages. Problem is that most of them couldn’t have made an impact. This is because of how we use (or don’t use) percentages in our everyday communication. Of course, there are a lot of reports and scientific papers that use percentages. In many fields they are used by experts to explain concepts and results. Using a percentage in this context can be a useful communication tool. However, in business settings we often use percentages in areas where… Read More

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