When pitching for business, a compelling, concise and consistent value proposition is the most important part of the presentation. This should be the first slide that you write. The rest of the presentation has to prove that you can deliver upon your promise to create belief, and a desire to take action. And, as we all know, seeing is believing. Typically, there are four types of proof points to support your value proposition: process, technical, logical, and case studies with testimonials. Not just any successful case studies, but those that your client can relate to in order for them to associate them with their challenges and opportunities for change.
Case studies, backed up with a client’s endorsement of your products or services, help to foster desire and also to diminish their concerns about change, and the risk it may carry. Otherwise, without them, decision makers may procrastinate, or simply do nothing at all. Sometimes, although their current state may not be perfect, they may prefer to stay as they are rather than take the risk of change. It is vital that you select case studies and present them in a manner that they can easily see the relevance of them to their present state, and potential future state from the benefits of the tangible and quantifiable outcomes of your solution.
The best presenters tell stories. Stories that are purposeful to the audience. These stimulate and emotionally engage the recipient’s brain. And, as consumers, humans are insatiable when it comes to stories. We all love stories and in particular, we all love stories with imagery.
Research at Princeton University found that listeners of stories experience the same feelings as the narrator. MRI scans of brain activity of both the narrator and the recipient of a story are identical: ‘Story comprehension entails a network of brain areas that support working memory. For story production, the same brain areas are necessary. Hence the congruency of brains.’ Because the recipient feels the same emotions, empathy builds and they become advocates who can re-call the story and can, sometimes, take ownership of the story.
A qualified case study presented as a short story will greatly improve the understanding of your value proposition, create a better awareness of the proposed outcome, and will be remembered far better in long term memory.
‘Imagined events evoke more schematic imagery’.
– Professor Cowan