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Whiteboard Selling by Corey Sommers and David Jenkins

This article was inspired by Corey Sommers' and David Jenkins' Whiteboard Selling . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.

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How to Sell With a Whiteboard

“People retain less than 20% of what is presented to them using slides.”

“An effective sales whiteboard needs to be more than a narrative – it should also be a discussion framework that supports a two-way knowledge transfer.”

As sales representatives must keep the interest of executives with complex opinions of their business, whiteboards are increasingly popular as a mode of communication. Unlike a PowerPoint slide, a whiteboard offers you or your sales representative the opportunity to create a more flexible presentation.

While deleting unneeded PowerPoint slides or adding them before a presentation is difficult, you can easily change the information on a whiteboard to meet your prospects’ needs. Simple shapes and arrows can allow a salesperson to tell a story. You should use whiteboard training at your company to give salespeople the conversational skills they need, which boring slides can’t provide.

Before giving a whiteboard presentation, determine whether or not the conference room you are using actually has a whiteboard – most do. When you use such a presentation, you will release data in “progressive disclosure,” or in other words, bit by bit. This strategy will engage prospects better than any other approach, as they become involved in your narrative.

To have an effective whiteboard presentation, the presenter must be up to date on his or her prospect’s business and place in the current market. By illustrating your prospect’s current situation, you can move into a conversation where you demonstrate the type of needs your prospect will have met if he or she purchases your product or service. When your customer makes good points, right them on the whiteboard to demonstrate that you are listening.

By creating a “discussion map” before presenting, you will be better prepared to sell. The following six types of whiteboards are the most common:

  1. “Qualification and discovery whiteboards”
  2. “Why-change whiteboards”
  3. “Solution whiteboards”
  4. “Competitive whiteboards”
  5. “Business-case whiteboards”
  6. “Closing whiteboards”

A “why-change whiteboard” is especially important, as addressing a stubborn prospect’s reservations is vital when making a sale. Whatever type of whiteboard presentation you make, you should have “break points”to give your narrative flow and allow you to address your customers’ questions.

Another type of whiteboard, the “Level Set Wheel,” places the business goals of your prospect in the center, and it demonstrates clockwise the types of challenges facing your customer and how your product or service will address them. Always have evidence to back up your claims.

Your presentations should be customized to meet the specific needs of your prospects. For example, the order in which you present your different types of whiteboards and the length of the presentation should be tailored to fit your customer’s schedule and background.

Divide presentations into six to twelve “chapters,” and don’t write over 75 words or use over 12 visuals. By training your sales representatives to use whiteboard selling, their presentations will better connect with prospects. Give them plenty of time to practice before actually giving presentations.


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