It's that time of the month again! As part of my business, I'm working with another group of entrepreneurs going to present in front of the Band of Angels. One of the trickier parts of the presentation tends to be describing why the company is different.
It's a common point in the presentation where the presenter goes sideways because it is fertile ground to become technical, scientific or otherwise detail-oriented. I won't deny that there are often technical or scientific differences that are notable regarding the product or solution provided. However, very few people in the audience are actually going to get it. (And, candidly, even if you're in front of a VC, unless you're queued, my suggestion is to avoid the technical stuff until later....)
Granted, this will be a "consulting" type suggestion but I've found it works.
- What makes you different: First, identify two attributes that make your solution more compelling. It's important to note that I do not suggest using price as one of the two attributes. In my opinion, if you compete on price, the deep pockets can defeat you with predatory pricing (even at a loss) unitl you die on the vine.
I've found things like: ease of use or ease of implementation or length of time to solve, etc. to be useful.
A more direct way to consider this is often to consider the following. Assume that you walk into one of your current or soon to be clients and the purchaser has three proposals on their desk. One from you, one from the incumbent (identify them) and one from a competitor (identify them)...why do they choose you?
Often the discussion directs towards the REAL benefits of your solution and approach and away from temporary "have to do's" like pricing decisions to get into the market.
- "Consulting" box: Once identified, put the two attributes on a four quadrant scale and put yourself on the upper right hand quadrant (like easy to implement AND intuitive to use for new users).
You can put two or three (max) other competitors mapped out in the other quadrant.
- Our customers agree: Next to that, I like to have a text box that shows that your customer agrees. It's obviously very powerful if you've got a customer that you can show bought because of your difference (in particular if they are at the presentation!!!).
Basically, you want to walk the investor into the fact that you are different and people care and have acted on that.
This approach tends to stay tight and helps to dispel many of the questions about whether the venture makes sense to begin with. If you state that you're different and no one cares, it's a bit hard to make the claim that it does make sense. Early customer momentum or validation is golden at this point.
I understand that one day you'll read my input suggesting this way and the very next day you'll have someone tell you how little they like it (thus the perplexing world of presentation consulting). For me, form in this case is far less important as substance. Know why you're different and be able to prove it.
If you've done a good job describing how life is before and after your solution and follow it up with how you're different (with proof), you're off to an awfully strong presentation start.