by John Long

This past weekend, my neighborhood had a massive garage sale.  There were over 50 houses participating, attracting people from all across the metro.  This is the first year we had actively participated – mostly because this is our “Not having any more kids sale”.  As novices, we had/have a lot to learn.  Full disclosure – when I say “we”, I’m using the term loosely, as it really is more of “she”, as in my wife.  My role comprises of a) building the clothes racks b) watching kids c) running to get ones to make change and d) offering a beer to those who buy more than 3 items.   The first night a couple truths came out – one of which is about presentation.

In all business, including garage sales and staffing software sales, presentation really matters. 

Here are 4 things that proper presentation can bring:

1)       A quick overview of what is being offered.  In our garage sale – we are about kids clothes – lots and lots of kids clothes.  For our software, what does it do?

2)      Accentuation of the positive.  All businesses have strong points and not-so-strong points.  Proper presentation helps to get those positive points to the prospect quickly

3)      Prospects can visualize using the product/service.  To buy, prospects need to be able visualize the use of the product/service.

4)      Allows prospects to easily find what they are looking for.  For garage sales, clothes hanging on racks dramatically improve the chance of sale over products on tables or “in a heap”.  People don’t want to work for finding the right product. 

Now – I’m not great at presentation so I’m not going to try and ‘teach’ anything here.  Heck, if you have any good suggestions, especially relating to garage sales and software (!), please send them on.

But the first step in the process is to figure out your strong points.  Even if you get outside help on presentation/marketing, you still need to be able to communicate to them what features you want to promote. 

Couple quick tips:

1)       Fewer is better.  Don’t try to be all things to all people.  We had loads of little girl clothes and miscellaneous other things.  I had a person ask me if we had a “router”.  Being a tech guy, I was thinking about something completely different than what he was.  The point though, is that if you want power tools, go next door.  In software, we aren’t a fit for everyone – and that is OK.

2)      Pick features that can be communicated easily.  Getting across a marketing message is tough.  It requires repetition and you only have a couple seconds of the prospects attention.  Unless, of course, you give them free beer!

3)      Pick features that have a quantifiable return or benefit.  The temptation is to pick things that YOU think are cool.  Pick stuff your prospects like which provide true value, not just cool. 

Any of you doing garage sales – good luck and use my beer for three thought!  For the rest – I know of a great place to get girls, 0 to 5T at a great price!

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