One of our clients in the IT services space recently had the opportunity to pitch the CIO of a Fortune 50 technology giant. Several members of their senior leadership team flew out for it. It was a perfect test for the new sales messaging. At the end of their three hour meeting, the CIO pointed to the diagram on the whiteboard and told them that of all the things they presented that day, that was the one thing he would remember. Why?
It’s how 2/3rds of your prospects learn
It’s not that the whiteboard sketch itself was a work of art. It’s just that it was simple, visual, and spoke directly to the prospect’s pain. According to the Social Science Research Network, approximately 65% of people are visual learners. If you want to make your message stick with them, you’ve got to go visual. The problem is, most salespeople use visuals the wrong way.
Avoid the trap of visual overload
Too many sales and marketing professionals go from one extreme (no visuals) to the other (too many visuals) when pitching face-to-face. They lose their audience with 152-slide PowerPoint decks, dizzying Prezis, and stacks of collateral, when all they really needed was a simple diagram to get the point across. The whiteboard sketch is the perfect tool.
But what do you draw on the whiteboard?
There are lots of things you could illustrate visually – your process, your positioning, your unique approach. What we’ve found most effective in working with clients on their sales messaging is to whiteboard the customer’s pain. If you can visually demonstrate that you understand what’s going on in their world and the challenges they’re facing, you’ll have their ear.
Increase your impact 4X
A 3M study of classrooms discovered that visual aids improve learning by up to 400%. It works just the same in boardrooms. So, the next time you’re making a pitch to a high potential prospect, don’t forget that he or she is most likely a visual learner. If you spend the whole time talking, you’ll lose them. Come in armed with a simple whiteboard sketch that speaks directly to their pain, and you’ll get their attention.
For more on whiteboarding, check out our earlier two-part series, “Draw to a close (Part 1)” and “Draw to a close (Part 2)”.
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