Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Hollywood Power Broker's Top 5 Sales Fails

Recently, the Hollywood gossip site Defamer posted an article about Mitch Grossbach, an agent at the powerful CAA talent agency in Los Angeles.  The article discusses how Grossbach is seeking to move his fashion representation team to another talent agency, and how he’s using a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Agency Expansion Opportunity” to explain why he should be hired.

According to Defamer, Grossbach is having a difficult time finding a new home for himself and his team, and a quick look at his sales presentation reveals why.

Whether your goal is to do business on Wilshire Boulevard, Wall Street, or Main Street, here are five of Grossbach’s mistakes that you should avoid in your own sales presentations:

1. Don’t be misleading.

In his presentation, Grossbach says that the largest deal that his team created at CAA was an “8-figure Creative Director renegotiation”.  Since agents are paid a commission of 10%, that would be a lot of revenue on one deal for CAA.  However, insiders know that the deal wasn’t paid in one lump upfront sum:  it was likely a multi-year deal with performance bonuses that, if the performance targets were achieved, would result in an 8-figure payday.  The actual upfront payment and guaranteed compensation were probably much lower then what Grossbach is purporting.

Avoid the inclusion of such murky hyperbole in your own presentations.  Don’t bend the truth or play loose with the facts about what your product or service can deliver:  a savvy prospect will see right through any misleading info and absolutely call you on it.  This will diminish your credibility and eliminate your chances of closing the deal.

2.  Don’t be confusing.

Grossbach claims that his fashion division at CAA “will be cash-flow positive and profitable this Fiscal year”.  If that’s true, why would CAA be willing to let him go?

In order for your presentation to be persuasive, make sure that the info you present is precise.  Don’t toss in any details which could create friction, hesitation, or indecision from the person who’s reading it.

3.  Don’t be vague.

Grossbach offers information about his accomplishments that’s written so loosely, it raises more questions than it answers.

Your presentation should be crafted to be clear and convincing with zero usage of industry lingo or jargon.  Prospective clients will pick up on any hazy generalities, superfluous fluff, or cliché biz-speak, so don’t share ambiguous information that could possibly raise red flags.

4.  Don’t be unverifiable.

Grossbach promises that his team “is uniquely positioned to identify fashion industry deal flow prior to anyone else.”  It would be interesting to hear how Grossbach can confirm that bold proclamation.

All declarations in your presentation should be provable with facts, data, and examples.  Just because you say something doesn’t make it true or believable.  In terms of what you need to include in order to back up your assertions, if it takes you more than one sentence to make your case, then the assertion probably shouldn’t be used.

5.  Don't forget to include metrics and results.

If it’s your opinion against the opinion of a prospect, the prospect’s opinion usually wins.  But if it’s your data against the opinion of a prospect, the data tends to win the day.

Grossbach’s presentation didn’t offer much in the way of metrics or results, and the integrity of his information was suspect.

To maximize your presentation's reliability and credibility, incorporate as many measurable results and metrics as possible.  Did your product or service help a client to make money?  If so, how much?  Did what you're selling help to save a client money or increase productivity?  If so, by how much?  These kind of inarguable figures bulletproof your presentation, and make your product or service that much more desirable to a prospect.

Grossbach’s presentation may or may not win him a new home for his fashion team’s services.  But if the info that he pitched was more clear, concise, and convincing, he absolutely would have had a much better shot at landing a fab-ulous new gig.