Powerful Presentation with Personal Story Plays Critical Role in Netting New Business


Digital technology has radically altered the ways businesses manage and distribute their documents. This digital revolution has brought numerous benefits, to be sure. But it has also spawned new challenges. Found in 1985 and based in Eagan, Minnesota, OPIN Systems specializes in developing software solutions which assist with the preservation and electronic delivery of production reports, business documents, and other digital assets.


How to stand out from the competition

For high-technology companies, differentiating themselves from the competition can be an especially tall order. This is certainly true for OPIN Systems, which owns an enviable track record by virtue of its robust product functionality and extensive industry experience. But, in a very competitive environment, that often isn’t enough. Whether real or perceived, products in the high-tech sector are often difficult to differentiate.

“In making technology decisions today, a company will usually narrow the finalists down to the best two or three,” explains Kevin Mitchell, OPIN Systems’ Executive Vice President. “Usually, a company will bring in the finalists for one last presentation, and that’s your chance to differentiate yourself from competitors,” says Mitchell.


Create excitement with strongvisuals and theme

For guidance in creating a presentationwith a high “wow” factor, OPIN Systems engaged Spoken Impact. OPIN Systemswanted to communicate the company’s “heart and soul” while highlightin key points of differentiation. Also, the company desired a presentation which, in Mitchell’s words, “created excitement” among prospective clients at their critical moments of decision.

OPIN Systems new sales presentation has clearly met and even exceeded the company’s expectations. With a completely different look and feel fromprevious iterations, the new presentationno longer relies on slide after slide of bulleted copy. Instead, it contains highimpact visuals, accentuated by motion and sound, working with quick-hit, active words and phrases.

Woven throughout the presentation isa mountain-climbing theme. Mitchell explains: “Mountain climbing requires a lot of preparation. You certainly need the right gear. And some would say that the most important ingredient is the team, the people you’re linked to. A lot of companies, points out Mitchell, talk about “partnering” with their clients, but in our business, it can be the difference between success and failure.”

To drive home the partnership message, the OPIN Systems-Spoken Impact brainstorming team hit on the idea of using a carabiner symbol. A carabiner is an oblong metal ring with a spring clipused by mountain climbers, often linking them to one another. At the end of the sales presentation, members of the OPIN Systems team hands out actual carabiners to everyone.

Giving them what they want

Flexibility is another hallmark of the new sales presentation. Using an electronic “dashboard,” presenters can tell the company story at a high level, then click on hyperlinks for detail on a particular product or service category, depending on audience interests and each client’s needs.

“We did this deliberately, because one of our key premises is that we don’t just sell prepackaged ‘out-of-the-box’ software,” says Mitchell. “We wanted our presentation to reflect the fact that we spend a lot of time trying to understand what each client’s business issues are and then crafting a solution with exactly the right components.”


The unanimous choice: OPIN Systems!

Although the new presentation has generated accolades from staff and prospective clients alike, one instance stands out in the minds of Mitchell and Ronchak: an important presentation to a major healthcare organization.

“The process was down to us and one other competitor,” recalls Mitchell. “At one point in the process with this healthcare organization, we were clearly the second choice.” Using the new sales presentation, Ronchak led off with story — a tactic for immediately engaging his audience. The story was a personal one, involving a friend who had climbed Alaska’s Mount McKinley.

Mitchell observed the client reaction to Ronchak’s story and knew something uniquely powerful was happening. “To be honest, sometimes in the past, we could see people’s eyes glaze over. But not with this presentation. By the time I did the sum-up and pulled the carabiners out of my pocket, it was clear by their expressions that they got it. In fact, they saw it coming.”

“We knew from the reaction in the room that this was a slam-dunk presentation. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a presentation which generated such a visible and immediate positive reaction.” It’s also unusual for members of the client team to actually compliment the presenters for a job well done, as they did in this instance, according to Ronchak. “They came up and said it was an excellent presentation from A to Z.”

‘We recouped our investment’

Mitchell is unwavering in the value he places on the services rendered by Spoken Impact.

“We recouped our investment with the first sale,” he asserts. “There’s also been an intangible payoff in terms of how the presentation re-energized our sales and marketing people. The excitement it generated was a major story line by itself.”

Before the relationship with Spoken Impact, the company pursued other avenues, including the use of marketing firms and advertising agencies, in an effort to increase the impact of its corporate and product presentations. “These resources did a good job, and I felt like we made progress...but we didn’t achieve victory. Our engagement with Spoken Impact produced, by far, the best results we’ve ever seen.”

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