Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: The TUFA Message

The world we live and sell in is changing, and one way this is visible is in the way we present to customers and prospects. In the past, most presentations were delivered in board rooms and conference rooms and other formal settings. We used PowerPoint decks - and before that, flipcharts - to capture and convey our messages.

Although this type of presentation certainly still happens, things have continued to evolve. We also deliver presentations in virtual web meetings and via the phone. In shorter sales cycles, it's not uncommon to see the "presentation" delivered in a single call, with the presenter assimilating their research in real time and processing the information into a compelling message on the spot. Many of us have seen our delivery ratio change dramatically, from 100% completed face-to-face ten years ago, to 50% or less completed face-to-face today.

There are some distinct advantages to this trend. Efficiency in the way we use our time is up, and travel-related costs are down. We can cover more ground and get more done. There are some disadvantages, too. Not being face-to-face with the customer limits our ability to figure out how they are feeling about our presentation, and changes the dynamic of the closing question and subsequent roundtable discussion. This can affect our hit rate.

In the end, this evolving reality has changed our thinking about the TUFA (Them-Us-Fit-Action) "presentation", and has led us to instead think about it as the TUFA "message". Wherever and however we deliver this message:

  • We reflect first on the customer and what we've learned about their situation, direction and challenges ("T")
  • We then transition to share with them why we feel we are a strategic resource for their consideration ("U")
  • Next, we tie this together with an inspiring fit that shows the impact of our work together ("F")
  • Then we close on an appropriate action plan ("A")

The TUFA flow remains incredibly effective, and timeless. In fact, it's hard to imagine a sales setting where the flow doesn't apply.

TUFA presentations: They're not just for conference rooms anymore.

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