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Achieve Visual Storytelling (and Sales) Success With Whiteboards

by Tim Riesterer  |  
December 13, 2012

According to Forrester Research, 88% of executive decision-makers want to have a conversation, not a presentation, for sales-related pitches. Accordingly, as a marketer, you should be asking yourself two important questions: What content tools am I going to give to those in the field to tell our company story? And what important insights do my field reps have to share?

To solve the critical issue of executive buyer engagement, the answer—despite today's new technologies and modern advances—actually goes all the way back to cave people, but today it's called "whiteboarding."

Whiteboard imagery relies on the simplicity of an ancient communications medium to convey powerful meaning, and it creates contrast that appeals to the "old brain" (the decision-making part) to get your customers and prospects to do something different—and to choose you.

In short, whiteboards are an essential visual storytelling tool that marketers can help create for salespeople to differentiate their company from the competition.

Whiteboard Selling Methodology

Whiteboarding enables you to create and deliver an effective visual story. Using a whiteboard has an impact on message development, the deployment of that message, and the delivery skills necessary to bring your story to life.

Developing your organization's capability to use a pen instead of relying on a PowerPoint presentation, and instilling confidence in using a pen as your communications weapon of choice, requires a purposeful, repeatable, and structured approach.

whiteboard selling methodology is not like a typical sales methodology in the sense of sales processes like opportunity management or account planning. Those methodologies help salespeople to structure a deal, including where to show up and whom to meet with.

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Tim Riesterer is chief strategy and marketing officer of Corporate Visions Inc. He is the co-author of Customer Message Management and Conversations that Win The Complex Sale,

LinkedIn: Tim Riesterer

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  • by Kristin Zhivago Thu Dec 13, 2012 via web

    The enterprise-level buyers I am interviewing for my clients tell me the same thing: They want a RELEVANT conversation, not a pitch. A pitch delivered via whiteboard is going to be just as disappointing (and maybe even somewhat tedious) as a pitch delivered via slides. What I am now recommending to my clients is that they employ people for "sales" positions who are technically astute and who can answer the client's specific questions.

    It is an absolute fact now that, by the time the enterprise-level buyer contacts a company, they are already well into their buying process - to the point where as much as 95% of their questions have been answered other ways (websites, yes, and editorial, but mostly via their contacts - other people like them - who have given them advice, either online via reviews and discussion groups, or directly). They totally beyond a "pitch," regardless of the medium used to deliver it.

    I am also advising my clients to train their salespeople to LISTEN first - to let the customer tell them where they are in their buying process, what they've learned so far, what their goals are, and the specific questions they have - before the salesperson starts to talk. This approach allows the customer to reveal what he/she is really thinking - which otherwise never happens in a sales call - and to provide the context the salesperson needs to then have a relevant, informative conversation.

    It's time to give up on the whole idea of pitching. A pitch is not a conversation, it is a monologue. A successful conversation between a "buyer" and a "seller" is not a pitch; it's two people exploring the opportunities and tradeoffs and coming to a joint, win-win solution.

    Kristin Zhivago

  • by Paul Griffith Thu Dec 13, 2012 via web

    This article, and Kristin Zhivago's comments, are spot on. Thanks for making the points so effectively.

    Being pitched at or sold to by powerpoint is just so wrong. It feels like you're being browbeaten by one of Alan Sugar's apprentices. At best someone will wait politely until you've finished spouting on and then ask THEIR questions (if you allow them).

    Drawing pictures is also a wonderful way of engaging with someone - just look at Rolf Harris or Tony Hart. I'm constantly looking for ways to explain things with pictures.

    I do wonder whether I am alone, though, in finding so many businesses (4 out of 5?) stumble before these hurdles - they're just not very clear what story they want to tell. Ah well: more good stuff to chew on when looking at how you grow your revenue.

  • by Nichole Fri Dec 14, 2012 via web

    I love this post! I recently finished reading "The Back of the Napkin" by Dan Roam which is about problem solving and selling ideas with pictures so this post immediately piqued my interest. I'm currently working to implement it into my own business and hope to help other businesses implement it as well.

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