Three Keys to an
Impactful Selling Story
Brandy Keel-Do is a 15+ year CPG Sales Executive with experience selling to large National Accounts (Walmart, Target, Albertsons/Safeway) for CPGs big & small, like Campbell’s, Dole Packaged Foods, Queen V, and Veggiecraft Farms.
Congratulations! After months of calling and email, you’ve finally gotten that buyer meeting scheduled! Then suddenly, you realize you’ve got to get your presentation finalized, and you start stressing about writing the strongest selling story you can. You have a lot of information you want to share and the next thing you know, you’ve got a 30 (or more!) page deck on your hands! Here are three things to keep in mind as you’re building your presentation, especially for an initial meeting with a customer.
#1: Keep. It. Short.
Keep it to under ten slides (yes, I said ten), including your story and company overview. Typically, you will only have a 30 minute meeting with a buyer and they are overwhelmed with multiple categories on their desks. Ten slides is plenty of room to tell your story and talk about your products.
A shorter deck will also allow you to have a conversation with the buyer and ask questions, rather than trying to speed through a bunch of slides in the short amount of time you have. You can always send over more slides and information after the meeting if needed. A short presentation leaves time for you to have a conversation and build a relationship, vs you doing all the talking. Would you want to go on a second date with someone who didn’t let you talk?
#2: Include them in Your Story, Too
Your story should include data custom to the retail partner you’re talking to (if you can’t get data, at least research the company priorities online and make sure you explain how you can help them achieve them), and articulate the size of the prize – how much revenue will you bring in? Are you highly incremental to the category? Here’s an outline for how to keep it to a few slides, yet still get your point across:
- Slides 1-2: Who you are/your company intro
- Slide 3: Data to support why you’re entering the category/what your role is in it
- Slide 4-5: Key insights from your research that identifies the white space
- Slides 6-7: Product details, price, and explanation for how you fill the white space you identified in the slides prior
- Slide 8: Volume or revenue opportunity for the retailer should they bring your brand/products into the set
- Slide 9: Wrap up & recommendation. Think of this as the one slide your buyer could take to her boss to reference your presentation.
I even left you an extra slide to fill in where you think you need it!
Prepare pointed questions to assess the interest of the buyer at the end of the call, for example, “How do you think this product could fit into what you’re trying to accomplish with the next set?” This both directly asks the buyer if they think your product is a good fit, but asks about their priorities and what they want to accomplish. Listen for clues that you can respond to that will reinforce why your product belongs on the shelf.
Don’t forget to leave time to allow the buyer to sample your product – but don’t be offended if they don’t want to indulge in the meeting. Buyers have lots of reasons for choosing when and how they sample new items, it is often not right across from you. However, if you have a product that needs to be prepared (like a smoothie blend or a pasta sauce) – have a plan! Bring a blender, cups, spoons, napkins, any ingredients you might need. I’ve made calls with my InstaPot ready to demonstrate a pasta product, just in case!
Industry hint: When you’re hitting stores checking out the set before the call, grab the store brand version of the paper goods or other ingredients you might need from the same retailer as the buyer you’re going to see. Sets a good tone!
#3: Details, Details, Details
Lastly, pay attention to the details. Triple check for spelling and grammar mistakes! Let someone else read through the deck when you’re finished. A fresh set of eyes can find those little things you may have missed. Also, use the same format throughout the presentation. Use the same fonts and try to use the same font size for the headers and the same size for the body of the pages. This conveys a higher level of professionalism and makes for a better reading and presentation experience for the buyer.
Share your tips & tricks in the comments section below and of course: Happy Selling!