Last Friday, I was sitting at lunch with a room full of fellow architects. And I overheard something that perked my ears up... Something to help you make sure you're creating a good AIA presentation.
You see? I'm always tuned in for something to share -- with you, my faithful readers, and with my clients.
Even when I'm just trying to eat my lunch and mind my own business...
Lunch at the AIA Iowa Convention...
So what was this little gem I wanted to pass on?
It was a discussion at my table about the last presentation one of the architects had just attended.
He was talking with his friend, comparing notes of the different classes they'd just seen.
The class he went to had been given by a building product vendor and was an approved AIA presentation. (Which means it qualified for continuing education credits us architects are required to accrue each year...)
I'd been in the same seminar, so I kind of knew where he was going with his commentary...
The architect was commenting on the value of the class's subject matter. But the presenter had made a crucial mistake.
He had oversold his product as the solution to the problem he was presenting.
Why is that a critical error?
Well, for one thing, the AIA actually has some pretty specific rules against over-promoting your product or service. If it's in one of their approved seminars. So I was surprised myself to see how much of that they'd worked into the presentation.
(**Note/apology: To protect the innocent, I'm going to be annoyingly and purposefully vague about the topic and building product presented...)
So the guy I was eavesdropping on saw it this way...
"I thought it was a really interesting class. The topic is a great one I think a lot of architects and our clients need to be thinking about. At least having the discussion. So we can find ways to bring the concept into their buildings. But, sorry pal, your product isn't the only way to get there..."
See what happened there?
The architect agreed with everything the presenter had said. But then he instinctively backed away because he was feeling sold to.
He most likely won't become a customer with this vendor. But he'll be looking at other ways to solve the problem.
The presenter should have simply done his great job of presenting the topic. And educating us with his research during the AIA part of the class.
Then, he could have used the last few minutes to show us his product and some ways they've solved the problem.
That's the way the AIA rules allow presenters to self-promote... Wait until the end.
And that's what architects are used to seeing over-and-over again. So, if you go against that established format, it throws up subconscious red-flags.
But the reason for that resistance goes deeper than just the AIA-approved format...
It also goes against one of the most basic and classic sales and copywriting formulas: Problem-Agitation-Solution.
Problem-Agitation-Solution (or "PAS")
The PAS formula has been around for a long time. And it's been called the most reliable sales formula ever invented.
And it can be applied to short messages or long-form sales letters. Or, in this case, hour-long presentations.
The PAS formula goes like this:
Problem - Present the problem your prospect feels. This could be a problem they're already aware of or one they hadn't considered until now...
Agitation - Poke at the problem until it's emotional.
Solution - Present your solution to the agitated problem.
As Eugene Schwartz put it when describing his book, Breakthrough Advertising. A book that goes into great detail on how you can use this formula...
"…this book is not about building better mousetraps. It is, however, about building larger mice, and then building terrifying fear of them in your customers. In other words, it is about helping to shape the largest and strongest market possible, and then intensifying that market’s reaction to its basic need or problem, and to the ‘exclusive’ solution you have to offer it."
So, make sure your presentations and marketing materials aren't overselling you and your products. At least not too quickly.
Need help creating a good AIA presentation?
Do you already have a series of presentations you've been putting out into the world?
Do they follow the rules? Are they missing the key psychological triggers you need to use to connect with architects?
For over three years, I've been helping building product manufacturers and other experts in our industry connect with architects.
Helping them focus their messages and copy. I can help you too.
Whether it's reviewing and editing your existing marketing pieces. Developing a new AIA presentation slideshow. Or helping you develop a new message platform.
You'll find I'm well-versed in the PAS formula I just described, as well as the many other variations of direct-response selling formulas out there. (Hint: If you step back and look at this email, it follows the PAS formula...)
Reach out on the Sutton Copywriting Contact form today and we'll schedule a phone call to see where we can help you get your marketing to the next level.
Make it a great marketing day!