7 Vital iPad Apps for Sales Presentations

More and more people are trying to use iPads during their sales meetings, but often get stuck with just email, CRM, and maybe a brochure or PDF presentation, none of which is really going to rock your audience’s world.

So, to change all that, we’re going to run down a list of some of the best apps to use to help you revolutionize the way that you conduct sales meetings, with the iPad playing an integral part in the conversation.

Sadly, this doesn’t include either Angry Bird or cat videos on YouTube. Sorry, but they’re just not going to work. Also, these recommendations make the assumption that you know to ditch bullet points and use visual animated sequences.

1) Compelling Presentations – SlideShark

You can’t just put your traditional text-based PowerPoint slides onto your iPad as your audience will not only fall asleep, but also really struggle to see small text shaking around. By using visuals, you’re not only providing more compelling material, but also a clearer viewing experience, as people will actually be able to make out the visuals that you have.

If you use plenty of animation, your audience will be drawn in to your story, giving you a good deal of control over what they absorb.

SlideShark is really the only way to achieve these kinds of things on your iPad. It is the best app that supports full PowerPoint graphics and animations (I know, you’d expect MS Office for iPad to do it, but it’s not a great viewing experience), and the ability to easily navigate around the slides in your presentations. It’s ideal for creating an interactive, visual conversation with your prospect.

2) Sketching & Annotation – Bamboo Paper

You can create a truly interactive sales meeting by using sketching and annotation to make a specific argument live with your prospect. Draw a graph to demonstrate your ideas for the prospect’s particular challenges and what they might get out of it, or show how other solutions or options might work for them.

Using all of this interactively with the prospect on your iPad means that you can communicate far more clearly. Better yet, physically give them the iPad so that they can add to your sketches, and co-create the story being told. You can get so much more insight into their needs, and they feel like they’re able to steer the conversation much more directly to something that will be relevant and useful.

Bamboo Paper is really good for this, as it allows you to draw anything you like freehand using a variety of pens and colors, but also import images and annotate over the top of them which works really well if you have something complex to explain that would be too time-consuming to draw from scratch.

3) Polling & Interactivity – Poll Daddy

A great interactive tool that the iPad offers is the ability to ask questions or promote responses to surveys and polls. This approach is not only useful for basic fact finding for the individual prospect, which can steer the conversation more easily down the right track in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore, but more interestingly the information gathered from many different polls can be aggregated to give you useful insight into your customer base.

It’s worth looking at, as these results can help inform a whole host of things across the company, such as sales messaging, targeted marketing, and customer support. You can also build these surveys around specific sales methodologies so you always follow the right approach and don’t miss anything vital in the heat of the moment.

I’m going to recommend PollDaddy as your go-to survey tool, as it produces some neat, easy to navigate response pages. As it’s so reliant on non-iPad functionality, it may be worth looking at some of the other options too to see whether the entire package does it for you.

4) Brochures, Specifications & Documents – iBooks

At this point, if you’re following along carefully you may quite rightly exclaim: “What’s this? Documents on the iPad? But I thought you said no text!”

You’d be right, but you might enter a part of the conversation that requires an in-depth look at some technical details. Remember that in a meeting it’s fine to allow your prospect to read something for a minute or two, so why not have a collection of brochures in PDF form that you bring in on your iPad and then hand over to your prospect for them to read briefly?

Just don’t hold the iPad yourself and talk whilst they’re trying to read – that won’t work. In fact, why not use this as a basis for sketching and annotations too, potentially highlighting elements of the technical detail that are important to the prospect, or how they work, or what value they deliver.

The standard PDF reader on iPads is iBooks, and it works very nicely if you have a list of brochures, spec sheets, price lists, or whatever you need to access that you can put into different folders, or collections, to make things easier.

If you want to go a bit further and annotate on these PDFs, then you’ll have to look elsewhere, and iAnnotate is a good one, as you can draw and sketch all over the PDFs that you have in your library, which for spec sheets and some brochures can really help to bring them to life.

5) Videos & Animations – AVPlayerHD

Videos are another great tool to have at your disposal during a sales conversation, with the ability to share a minute or two of video often being key to help explain complex ideas, or make an emotional connection to generate some real excitement about your prospect’s chosen topic of conversation. Having a selection of videos available, perhaps related to different implementations of your products, or maybe showing case study testimonials, can all work really well when used in the right way.

To play video on the iPad is a little tricky, as Apple gets sensitive about giving you free reign over a potentially very lucrative source of revenue. The standard video app doesn’t really work as it’s quite restrictive, but AVPlayerHD is great.

The interface is clean and slick and you can easily access the video you want from your library. Playback is also very smooth and great quality, so you can jump into the video that you want quickly and navigate around it without any lag too.

What’s nice is that it plays pretty much any video format that you care to mention, so you’re not restricted to the .mp4 or .mov formats that the iPad natively supports, giving you much more freedom in what you show, or reducing the amount of time to convert your videos to an iPad friendly format.

It is a paid app costing $2.99, which often puts people off, but there aren’t any free apps that are quite as good. One option is the now restored VLC player, which is probably the best free video app, but it’s a little trickier to navigate around, slower to respond, and I’ve found it to be less than brilliant when you just want something to play – you really can’t afford loading time on an iPad with a prospect waiting for the technology to catch up.

6) Planning Conversations – Mindjet Maps

So now you have all of these different pieces of content to use, combined with a selection of great apps to share them with. What’s really important is that you don’t get lost. A good way to ensure that your meeting goes well is to plan out the kind of conversations that you’re likely to have. Start by thinking about what your audience is most likely to be interested in – what are they doing now? How do you add value and how can you get them to recognize that value?

What do you want them to do both as a direct result of your conversation and over the longer term? And don’t forget to think about how you differentiate from your competitors, and what your audience’s perception of that difference is. Answering questions like these will help you frame the content and topics that you need to cover.

A great way to plan all this out is to use a mind mapping tool. We like Mindjet Maps, which is a free app that gives you a pretty neat mind map. It’s fairly easy to use, guiding you through all the steps of creating a mind map. You can create main themes, sub-topics, and content for each section, as well as create links between topics, so that you can plan a potential route through all the content.

The mind map is good as it allows you to see everything in one go, rather than trying to plan something out in a Word document, or PowerPoint presentation, where you’re somewhat limited to a linear flow. The app also links to the much more powerful desktop version too, in which you have a lot more control and loads of other functions, so it’s worth investigating.

7) Seamless Shifting

This isn’t an app, but remember that within your meetings, you need to be flexible and tailor your content to the needs of your audience. A great tip to help you seamlessly move between your different apps is to use a four finger swipe, either left or right, to move between apps by turning on the multitasking gestures control in Settings.

Coordinating Content – Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and more.

Having all of this content available at your fingertips (literally!) means that wherever your audience wants to go, you can join them. If you have a series of short presentation snippets – perhaps based around a set of different value messages, such as cost saving, productivity, or flexibility – then if they tell you that they’re under real budgetary pressure, you can jump to the appropriate (cost) snippet and tell them things that they care about.

The article is about seven vital iPad apps, and I’ve cheated a bit by offering some alternatives, so it’s up to at least eight so far. This next bit is really cheating. Sorry. There are a couple of different approaches to take, but Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or any of the other similar services provide great apps for this purpose, as you can store pretty much any file, of any size and access it when you need it.

The neat thing about most of them as cloud-based content solutions is that you can access your content from any device, anywhere, which is great when you’re on the road. However, you can also download the content for off-line access. This means that they really can be a single source for all content whether your online or not.

It’s not just that they store content in a single place (although this is pretty useful), it’s the fact that most have integrated with so many useful applications that makes them such a great tools, so you can link all of your content to the appropriate app.

There is no one app that does it all, but a combination of them can be very powerful, meaning that you can show your prospects what they need to see to be convinced to buy from you. And if you need help to create it all, there’s an App for that too.

About the Author:

Richard Goring is a managing consultant at Bright Carbon, a presentation skills consulting company that  helps sales and marketing teams create effective sales tools. Mostly that means presentations, but it can also mean dynamic animations or Visual Conversations – anything that uses  the company’s visual storytelling abilities. For more information, visit www.brightcarbon.com

Essential New Apps for iPad Presenting

What are the essential apps for iPad presenters?  I compiled a list a year ago; it’s time for an update.

I love the iPad for presenting. I use it to create my notes, and then put them up on the comfort monitors in front of me but hidden from the audience. Or, if there are no monitors, then the iPad itself does the job, and allows me to keep an eye on the clock so that I end on time.

I also use the iPad to show video. Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a big fan of slides, but I do show the occasional one, and it’s easy to do so from the iPad.

At an earlier stage in the presentation food chain, I use the iPad for research, note-taking, and collection of ideas, stories, video, and images for later use.

I love the iPad for presenting because it’s light to carry, fast, easy to use, and relatively crash-free. I’m nearly at the point where I’m leaving the computer at home, and taking the iPad plus keyboard instead. As soon as I get over wearing both belt and suspenders, I’ll travel computer-free.

So how about those apps? I’m an app junkie; I have over a hundred on my iPad, and I’m always swapping them out for shiny new ones when they come along. But here’s my current hit list. Caveat: Apps change daily. This is not a list for all time or even an exhaustive one right now. It’s just what is working for me today.

Prezi, Pages, Keynote. If you don’t know Prezi, it’s time you did. It’s slide presentation software, but much cooler than either Keynote or PowerPoint. Then, of course, there are the basics from Apple. Pages provides word processing for writing out notes, speeches, ideas, and so on.  Keynote is for slides. But do give Prezi a try. Especially if you’re a slide-heavy presenter, this is the software for you.

Goodreader. Still a big favorite. I looked long and hard for this app and tried a bunch of others before I settled on Goodreader.  Basically, it’s a way to store files on your iPad.  What’s the big deal?  You can easily store video, pdfs, slides, etc – and then play or view them with a click or two.  With the right adaptor, you’re set to play video clips with the least muss and fuss I’ve found so far.  And it’s real easy to move video files from computer to iPad with a drag and drop when your iPad is syncing.

Evernote. My entire life is now stored on Evernote, and that includes the speeches. I use Evernote on my computer, my iPhone, and my iPad.  It’s the single best note management system I’ve found. You can take pictures, notes – information in any form – and store it for future use in a presentation or simply in your preparation for a presentation.  I use it to store ideas I run across – to ‘remember everything’ as the advert says.

Noteshelf.  There are lots of note-taking apps; this one is cool because you can hook it up to the projector via the iPad and write in real time. Voila – instant white board.  It’s great for capturing audience feedback, ideas, and so on in a way that’s visible to the entire audience (assuming you have those giant screens on either side of the stage).

Office HD. This app is one of those combo apps that allows you to read or create a word processing file, or a slide deck, or a spreadsheet. I like it because it is easy to use and saves you real estate on your iPad, and it seems to coordinate more easily with my mail program than either Pages or Keynote does, so that I can edit documents or grab images and slides on the fly.

I’ve often used it to make last-minute changes to speech notes and get them to the conference tech people or just to myself when I use the iPad as a note display device.

Dropbox. Great for moving large files around. And storing them in the cloud. I’m sure this one is familiar to just about everyone. Essential for dealing with large slide decks on the go.

Prompster Pro or Podium Pro. Good for speakers who need a teleprompter, Promspter Pro seems to work well and costs less than some of its rivals at $5.  Beware the super cheap ones.  Podium Pro is a dollar less (at $4) has a number of features like the ability to record your talk, color-code sections and other nifty things.  I don’t have deep personal experience with these, but friends report that they both do the job.

Presentation Clock. A giant timer, plain and simple. Useful for making sure you don’t run over your time.

About the Author:

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and presentation skill coaches. In his blog he covers modern communications from a variety of angles, including the latest developments in communication research, the basic principles and rules of good communication, and the good and bad speakers of the day. His passion is to connect the latest brain research with timeless insights into persuasive speaking in order to further our understanding of how people connect with one another. For more information on his company, visit www.publicwords.com

 

How to Adapt Your Slides for iPad Presenting

By Geetesh Bajaj

One of the many ways in which you can adapt your PowerPoint slides to an iPad friendly format is by converting all your slides to pictures. This approach will work well for slides that have no animation or multimedia -– and the good news is that great presentation slides can be created without animation or multimedia of any sort.

The bad news is that this is a one-way street -– and if you want to make any changes to your slides, you will have to edit your original presentation and convert the slides again to individual pictures.

Figure 1 shows the 16 slide presentation I started with — these are all slides from a Photo Album presentation, and each slide has a photograph and caption. Your slides may be like more conventional PowerPoint slides, and it does not matter because the process for all types of slides is the same.

Slides for iPad 02

Figure 1: All slides ready to be exported from PowerPoint

To convert your individual slides to pictures in PowerPoint, you summon the Save As dialog box and choose JPG or another graphic format as the file type. We have instructions on exporting your slides as PNGs in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, and the process works the same way to export JPGs in any PowerPoint version on both Windows and Mac. You will ultimately end up with plenty of pictures that are suffixed with their original slide numbers –- the first slide in your 16 slide presentation will be named Slide1.JPG, and the last slide will be named Slide16.JPG.

Of course you may not have 16 slides — that’s just the number of slides that I started with, as shown in Figure 1 above.

At this time, it is a good idea to rename your first 9 slides so that Slide1.JPG now reads Slide01.JPG (see Figure 2 below).

Slides for iPad 02

Figure 2: JPGs exported from PowerPoint

Thereafter place these slides in a folder that is indexed by iTunes. To learn more about how iTunes indexes picture folders, search the term add photos to iTunes library on Google. Depending upon which version of iTunes you are using, or if you use Windows or a Mac, the process may differ. Apple also has a great tutorial called Syncing photos using iTunes.

The next time you sync your iPad (both iPad 1 and 2) with your iTunes, the slide pictures will be copied, and available within your iPad’s Photos app.

Once you have synced your iPad, launch the Photos app on the device to see if all your slides have been imported as pictures –- also make sure that they are sequenced in the order you want to show them as slides, as shown in Figure 3 below.

Slides for iPad 03

Figure 3: Your slides on the iPad

Thereafter you can show these picture slides off your iPad -– moving on to the next slide is as easy as moving on to the next picture. And since the Photos app is AirPlay aware even on iPad 1, you can use it with an Apple TV or even a VGA cable connected to a projector. This may not be the most elegant way to transport your PowerPoint slides to an iPad, but it does work.

Note: Even though Apple’s documentation says PNGs are supported by the Photos app on iPad, and by iTunes to sync, I found that iTunes ignored all PNGs — that may be just a coincidence but JPGS do work the best.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (www.indezine.com)  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint- related site (http://www.ppted.com) that provides designer PowerPoint templates.

Geetesh also is the author of the best-selling book Cutting Edge PowerPoint for Dummies and three subsequent books on PowerPoint 2007 for Windows and one on PowerPoint 2008 for Mac.

Presenting with an iPad: How to Add Apple TV

By Geetesh Bajaj

If you are serious about iPad presenting, then you may have already realized that it makes no sense to attach your iPad to a TV or projector with a cable. For one this means that your iPad is physically tied to a location, and you cannot really move around and navigate your content at the same time. And also the fact that you miss out on portability, the iPad’s biggest advantage.

The direction you need to explore is quite obvious as far as Apple is concerned — they would like you to look at their Apple TV device. An Apple TV connects to TVs and projectors with the requisite cables. Thereafter it creates a wireless connection with your iPad using the built-in AirPlay technology — the rest of this post will explore both Apple TV and AirPlay.

So what is an Apple TV? Actually there are two types of Apple TVs:

1) 1st generation Apple TVs that included hard disk space, were larger in size, and cost 3 times as much as the new 2nd generation Apple TVs. These are useless for iPad users since they do not support AirPlay. Also they are too large to be carried around. These included a remote as shown in the picture below.

2) 2nd generation Apple TVs that have no hard disk space (they actually have 8GB of flash disk space, but that is undocumented). These are much smaller than 1st generation Apple TVs, and are AirPlay capable making them great to use with iPads. They also are small enough to fit within the palm of your hand and can be easily carried around along with your iPad. These also include a remote, although the remote is not shown in the picture below.

Once you connect your Apple TV to a TV or projector, you can then make the TV or projector display anything on your iPad (or an iPhone or an iPod Touch) as long as you have these prerequisites in place:

1.iOS 5 installed on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch — this update adds improved AirPlay capabilities to your iOS devices.

2.An iPad 2 or iPhone 4S will provide you with AirPlay mirroring — thus anything that shows up on your iOS device screen will show up on the TV or projector output. If you have an iPad 1 or an iPhone 4, AirPlay will still work — but just with the Photos app — and not much else.

That’s not as limited as you may believe — you can save most of your slides as successive pictures in an album — you can then have a cool presentation showing off your iPad 1 or iPhone 4. You will lose out on animations and multimedia — but many iPad and iPhone apps still do not support all PowerPoint bells and whistles — so that’s not such a bad solution!

On the other hand, what irks me is that even Apple’s own Keynote will not support AirPlay on iPad 1 and iPhone 4.

In the next article in this series, we will look more at AirPlay, and what more you can do using this technology.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (www.indezine.com)  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint- related site (http://www.ppted.com) that provides designer PowerPoint templates.

Geetesh also is the author of the best-selling book Cutting Edge PowerPoint for Dummies and three subsequent books on PowerPoint 2007 for Windows and one on PowerPoint 2008 for Mac.

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