Selling on iPad

No matter who you are, you’ve got something to sell, whether it be your business plan or your own personal charm. If you sell for a living like me, you try to get sales down to an exact science. Over the years I’ve sold to large groups and sat one-on-one with top-level execs, and I’ve gotten a good instinct for what works and what doesn’t.

As COO at Ingage, I’m basically head of sales, and I’ve done mobile technical sales my whole career. At Oracle I sold mobile strategies to DOD clients like the Army and Navy. At Intellisync I promoted solutions for syncing Palm Pilots to Outlook and Lotus Notes databases. At Palm I supported sales of the Treo to enterprise customers, and at Apple I promoted the early iPhone as the ultimate business solution.

Because I was at Apple, I started using iPad as a sales tool the day it was launched back in 2010. At first it was hard to break away from my habit of using Keynote on my Mac. But I soon found that iPad freed me from the typical sales routine of present—ask questions, present—ask questions. iPad allowed me to create a deeper connection with the customers that I was presenting to. iPad puts you and your customer on equal footing because you’re literally at the same level, whether you’re at a table or standing up at a coffee shop.

As a sales tool, iPad is most powerful in smaller settings where you can get people interacting with it. It’s very easy to share the iPad screen; you can have that one-to-many, one-to-five, or one-to-one opportunity to capture customers’ attention. My typical presentation is a conference-table size meeting with no more than five or six people. But what’s always most effective is going one-on-one with a customer, sitting at a 90-degree angle at the corner of a square table. I put the iPad right between us as a shared entity we can both use.

iPad is very inviting to the person you’re presenting to. Customers want to see what’s going on, and iPad gives you the opportunity to hand over the device and let users go through the content. Have you ever seen a small child’s ecstatic reaction when you put an app in front of them on the iPad? You get the same response from a grown adult when you put a piece of collateral in front of them that moves, that they can touch, that they can interact with. (That’s why Ingage is so amazing. But more on that later.)

iPad is a definite improvement over those “death by PowerPoint” meetings. When a presenter is just reading off the screen, slide by slide, people have no pause to engage with the content so they just tune out. Customers don’t want a monologue, they want a dialogue. Having something touchable for my customer to interact with helps us get into that dialogue. It really creates a different emotion than me just talking at them from a podium.

As part of that dialogue, iPad lets me ask questions and dive into the content that’s most relevant for my customers. You know the saying, the best camera is the one you have with you? For a sales person, the best content is the content you have at your fingertips, ready to deploy at any second. As a sales tool iPad is the lightweight mobile device you have with you at almost every turn, loaded with tons of relevant, shareable content instantly available with no boot-up time. Have iPad, will sell.

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