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  • Lance Rice

Power (not on) Point

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

Goal: Improve the polish and professionalism of our client presentations.

Our story begins in a lonely hotel room in Colorado at about 1 in the morning. My manager and I agreed it would be beneficial for me to undergo the same training as our sales people so I could directly know what they taught to better serve them. Part of that process was an end of boot camp sales pitch to a panel of sales managers.

So there I was in my hotel room working diligently on the presentation I’d be sharing the following morning. At about 2:30am I decided it was to the point I was satisfied so I finally got some overdue rest. Morning came and with it roughly a gallon of coffee to get me going. Up there in front of the panel my presentation went swimmingly and it touched on all the things they were looking for in a sales pitch. There was applause and thumbs up.

Cool story right? Well, this is where the fun actually begins.

Fast forward a couple weeks somehow an account executives client presentation crosses my desk and much to my surprise a few of those slides from my mock sales pitch made in there. I was definitely shocked since it was never meant to see the light of day again let alone be client facing. Somehow one of the managers tracked down my initial PowerPoint file and let an account exec use it. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. If a mock sales presentation I put together in the middle of the night in a hotel room found it’s way to a client eyes there was clearly a gaping hole in the company and an opportunity for me to step in.

While I’m relatively tech savvy and not without skills I’d never considered myself an expert on PowerPoint or presenting but that was about to change. I took it upon myself to learn the program better as well as become a better storyteller through presentation. This initiative resulted in me being the unofficial West Division Presentation specialist.

Sales people were literally lining up to have me polish their presentations but sadly I am but one person and this was not even my primary, secondary, or even duodenary responsibility. However, there was still a way I could help and still fulfill my main duties.

Several years earlier I’d learned that being the bottleneck in a process may make you important it also limits the overall success of an organization. This was the point where student becomes the trainer.

First step was to connect with the west division sales support manager and work out an arrangement. I specifically went the sales support route because in an ideal world the sales people would spend their time in front of clients and not in front of their computers. Plus, I knew first hand that’s where the real magic would happen. Long story short she loved the idea and was eager to fly me out to all the markets to conduct trainings. Each one ended being a great success but there was still more to do.

Now that I knew people in the local markets had the chops to produce high quality interactive presentations I could shift focus producing the initial tent pole presentations to work from. Once I completed those I’d then send them off to the individual markets to be localized and targeted to the specific clients. Also, it was important to me to make sure each sales support specialist had direct access to me collaborate and ask questions.

The result? A vast improvement in overall polish and professionalism of our account executive’s client pitches. Plus, several great people got to learn new skills that would help them along in their careers.

“Due to Lance’s training when I was at Comcast, my ppt skills became so polished that my creative skills were in high demand. It also allowed to grow professionally and continue to develop in my career” -Rose Lin

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