Capturing your sales message on a whiteboard isn’t easy. We’ve often found ourselves scribbling odd shapes, confusing graphs, and funny-looking stick figures until the eleventh hour as we try to come up with the “big idea” for a client’s whiteboard sketch. That said, we’ve found that the best whiteboards typically have three core elements. And once you know what you’re shooting for, it’s easier to hit the target.
Three elements of a winning whiteboard sketch:
1. Simplicity. Most of our whiteboards start out incredibly complicated. Typically, this is because we’re trying to communicate way too much information. Then, as we chip away at them, a clearer message begins to appear. So, don’t try to draw out your prospect’s entire value chain. (I tried this once. It didn’t work.) And don’t feel like you have to squeeze your whole marketing message into the sketch. We’ll often just pick one small, but important part of the message that becomes the entire diagram.
2. Contrast. The classic before and after. It’s a tried and true marketing principle (think laundry detergent commercials), and it works perfectly in whiteboard drawings. If you can find a compelling, visual way to represent your customer’s world with you versus their world without you, you’ve already accomplished more than most sales presentations do. The greater the contrast you can show, the greater the impact of your message.
3. Surprise. Every whiteboard sketch needs some kind of unveil. “You thought the world was this way, but really it’s that way.” This is what makes a good whiteboard so sticky. Maybe you introduce a third axis to the x-y diagram. Maybe you change the visual plane entirely. Whatever you do, find some way to keep them guessing.
Simon Sinek delivered his 18-minute presentation “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” with just a flip chart and a couple of very simple (yet surprising and contrasting) diagrams. It became one of the top three most viewed TED Talks of all time and launched his career as an author, speaker, highly respected thought leader.
In an age where everyone is inundated with dazzling multimedia content at every turn, sometimes it’s the simplest, most primitive forms of communication that stand out the most.
Read Part 1 in this series here:
Draw to a close (Part 1): Winning business on the whiteboard