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Walking down Memory Lane…

One little-known, under-appreciated aspect of the sales profession is the presentation tools our companies equip us with.  If Noah was similarly equipped by the Lord, the Ark would have sunk.  When things go wrong, is it the sales people; the product; or their presentation tools?

Several years ago, a car dealer in St. Petersburg, Florida fired his entire sales force and sales went up twenty-six percent.

Rick Page

Recently, I presented at the international client and partner conference of my leading Cloud Computing company.  The topic was Selling Value and my audience was our resellers.  I was also able to attend the Cloud application and platform presentations – “stimulated demos”.  Screen shots; report shots; workflow examples; the works.  Those simulations took me on a walk down Memory Lane…

You see, these latest and greatest, Cloud Computing products and platform presentations were delivered on today’s-most-widely-used-(and stable)-sales-technology-platform of our modern and sophisticated era – PowerPoint.  Yep; selling the Cloud with presentation software launched May 22, 1990 – 22 years ago!

Back to Rick Page, from his book Hope Is Not a Strategy ©:

Before computers, tellers showed with slide trays, showing feature after feature:  “Stop me if you see something you like.”  Today we have presentation software with even greater capacity to bore our prospects. 

I remember when PowerPoint replaced the-then-most-widely-used-(and stable)-sales-technology-platform of the time; Harvard Graphics; launched in 1986.  Not the most user-friendly application, Harvard Graphics took a great deal of effort (and intelligence) to create presentations.  Ergo the name “Harvard” I suppose.

The first person I remember who created presentations in Harvard Graphics was my friend and fraternity brother, Dushan Petrovich.  Dushan was not a sales professional.  He was an accountant at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, assigned to their Chicago Cubs division.  He built internal financial projection presentations in Harvard Graphics.  He was smart enough to operate the software – smarter still, “Duke” rose all the way to become the President of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company before retiring in 2011.  Great presentations no doubt!

In 1986, I was a Sales Rep for Integral Systems (Dave Duffield’s preceding company to PeopleSoft; which preceded WorkDay).  It was a mainframe world in those days.  Integral’s claim to fame in the mid-1980s was our “native database implementations” of payroll and human resource management software.  We ran on the then-famous IMS; IDMS; Adabase; and IBM’s DB2 database platforms.

The-most-widely-used-(and stable)-sales-technology-platform of that era?  35mm slide projectors!  Screen shots; report shots; workflow examples; the works.  Here I was selling the most technologically sophisticated, business applications of my time and carrying in to the meeting rooms at companies such as Motorola and PPG Industries a slide projector with a 200 slide carousel.  (Hello Rick Page.)

For the technical presentation accompanying my 35mm simulated demo, our subject matter expert at Integral Systems, Nelson Russell, used the-second-most-widely-used-(and stable)-sales-technology-platform of that time – overhead transparencies!  There he was, presenting Integral’s technical implementation, adhering to IBM’s “System Application Architecture” blueprint for the future of mainframes; mini’s; and micro’s – hoping the light bulb in his overhead projector wouldn’t burn out!

Of course, sales presentation tools aren’t limited to selling technology.  In 1959, my Dad used a Dukane film strip projector equipped with a 78 rpm-LP album and wired remote control for a multi-media, life insurance presentation to families at their kitchen tables in the evening.  The Dukane remains in working condition today.

Maybe if those sales reps at that car dealer had better presentation tools…

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.

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One Comment


  1. Jim Anderson
    Jun 04, 2012

    Very good reminder that we continually face change in technology which requires we continually must stay educated on what’s new. This does not have to be daunting but can be refreshing with a positive attitide. Thanks.

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