First Up, a reminder — you are answering these questions without ever posing the question. There’s no “Why is this different” headline on a slide. You’re anticipating the ten, actually 11, questions the B2B audience wants answers to. But you’re not being obvious or literal about it.
Take it from the guy who’s made every mistake over the past 20 years. Don’t do that.
*I* answer. I preemptively answer “Why is this different”. In the Attention Commander slide.
Because that’s the slide where the audience is still in the Courtesy Attention phase, and they’re deciding if your presentation is worth the next hour of their time.
If they decide that the next hour isn’t worth their full attention, they probably won’t leave. They just won’t invest much attention in you.
Now, here’s the challenge for you when you create your Attention Commander slide, and answer “why is this different”.
You need to break out of the Lecture trap, and we’re only on slide 2.
On this slide, and with this question, we need to establish why we’re worth their attention.
And the reason we think they should pay attention to us is probably not the reason we think it is. So we need to start with the audience in mind.
We’re too focused on features. The audience only cares about benefits.
Here’s an example from the days when I had to fly a lot for work. In American airports, there’s the regular passenger security line. Then there’s a TSA PreCheck line. And in some airports there’s even a shorter line called Clear. PreCheck, and even more so for Clear, they think they’re selling a faster security process. A faster process, from the minute you get in the security lineup until you clear security.
Anyone who does a lot of business travel and has paid for PreCheck, and especially for Clear, which costs about 10 times as much as PreCheck, knows the truth. What we’re buying is not what they think they’re selling.
The feature is the faster security processing.
You’re not buying faster processing or a shorter security line. YOu’re buying a benefit that they never talk about in their marketing or sales process. Predictability. If you have PreCheck or Clear, you know, pretty much, how long you’re going to have to stand in line.
In The regular security line, there might be no line at all. Or you might end up behind 200 people in a tour group, and every one of them is trying to get a big bottle of shampoo through the x-ray.
There’s no predictability when you use the regular, free security process. Multiply that unpredictable experience by 6 or 8 trips per month, and it means the difference between spending an hour in an airport, or three hours, every time you fly away, and every time you fly back. Plus the chance that you miss your flight because of a long security line.
With predictability, let’s say 20 minutes in line, every time, you know how long you can spend in the customer’s office. Or in the hotel. Or at lunch.
Feature…. Faster processing. Benefit, predictability.
When we’re answering “Why is this different” on the Attention Commander slide, we’re proposing the benefit, not the feature, okay?
We don’t have to come right out and say the benefit. That’s selling too early. That’s selling before we even get them from not-knowing to knowing. So we’re usually indirect about the benefit. In fact, we don’t put the benefit on the slide, at all. We make a point-of-view statement that suggests the benefit, and grab their attention with it. And we do that with our voiceover.
Here’s an example. 5G is going to become a fact of life for all of us, worldwide, over the next few years.
If you were selling something that wireless telephone companies buy so they can offer 5G to their customers, your attention commander slide might start out with a feature.
“5G will produce a lot more data than 4G, and our product lets you handle this greater load.”
That’s very feature-oriented. And doesn’t answer the question “Why is this different” – which is another way of asking, why do I care about this or YOU right now?
A different approach, without being too sales-y, could be: you could have a slide that said “5G’s next 3 misunderstood problems.”
And your voiceover could say
“5G is bringing 3 new problems with it. Most wireless operators still underestimate them. Today we’re going to talk about them, and show why they’re still a potential risk, and how to think about them differently.”
The idea here is your customer, or prospect, is doing this same meeting with multiple vendors. You need to stand out enough to make it to the next round, whatever round that is. So you need to have a point of view. And it needs to be interesting and unique in some way.
By the way, interesting, unique – -these are from the customer’s perspective. It doesn’t matter much if YOU think what you’re saying is interesting or unique. The customer matters here, more than us. And the customer is almost always interested in the benefit, not the feature. A benefit, among other benefits, that stands out.
And that’s the first question you need to answer for the audience. “Why is this different” is so important, it’s not only first, it’s alone in its category. Other sections are made up of multiple questions, but this one is the king of all the questions.