PowerPoint, Wikipedia, and a True Definition of Sales

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Powerpoint 2010

In a previous article, I referred to Michael Schrage’s comment that the 2×2 matrix rated along with PowerPoint as the two most popular business tools. I don’t rate them equal — PowerPoint does not have the same depth as the 2×2 in the power to unravel problems;it is more a set of tools to get a more effective portrayal of an idea or message. In an effort to learn more, I went over to Wikipedia to check on PowerPoint. This led to a digression that is worth writing about.

Wikipedia says that PowerPoint is a ubiquitous presentation program. I guess we all knew that, and the reason it is ubiquitous is because of Microsoft’s marketing clout. It goes on to say that PowerPoint “is among the most prevalent forms of persuasion technology.” That last term caught my interest—I’ve heard of information technology, change technology, but this is the first I’ve heard of persuasion technology.

I plowed on:

“Persuasion technology is technology that can be used for presenting or promoting a point-of-view. Any technology designed and deployed for those purposes can be considered a persuasion technology. Such aids are regularly used in sales, diplomacy, politics, religion, military training, cult recruiting and management, and may potentially be used in any area of human interaction.”

Wow, look at what heads up the list – sales! Wikipedia says this about sales:

“Sales, or the activity of selling, forms an integral part of commercial activity. It could be argued that it is the cornerstone of business as it is the meeting of buyers and sellers and all other areas of business has the goal of making that meeting successful. Mastering sales is considered by many as some sort of persuading ‘art.’ On the contrary, the methodological approach of selling refers to it as a systematic process of repetitive and measurable milestones, by which a salesperson relates his offering, enabling the buyer to visualize how to achieve his goal in an economic way.”

I need to say “wow” a second time. That definition of sales is right on.

I try to emphasize the true meaning of sales in our Opportunity Portfolio Management sales training course. I use a slide that says “sales is the business of doing business.” One of our trainers asked to take it out. I let him do it—but on sober second thought, I won’t do that again.

There is so much to talk about just in this simple wander through Wikipedia — sales is a persuading “art”, for example. Wow number 3!!

Must do this again. And I believe I will write about it.

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