Some of the initial hype over the iPad has died a bit and now it's time to dig in and start to analyze the real value this tool (and others like it) can bring to the small business table.
In addition to the practical content consumption functions and the obvious coolness factor of the iPad, sales folks and anyone who needs to present ideas to small groups should latch onto the iPad as a killer sales tool.
Flip book with animation
Over the last few years sales people have gotten in the habit of using electronic slide shows delivered by way of a laptop, but it's always been a bit clunky feeling. With the iPad's small size and flip book feel you can add hi tech function without feeling like you're setting up camp in the office.
When you add the Keynote app you get a beautiful way to create and show an animated sales presentation with a stunning display. (Warning to current Keynote users: Apple has some work to do for power users wanting to import presentations into the iPad version of Keynote)
If presenting to a larger group you can use the optional VGA adapter cable to connect an iPad to a projector.
The ability to carry around video and the web on your iPad creates opportunities to provide personalized content. A personalized video message from the CEO, a case study from an industry peer, a technical explanation from the IT team are all natural additions to the sales call on this device.
Real time interaction
Using the touch pad functionality of the iPad allows you to draw your prospect into your presentation by creating paths they can choose or allowing them to tap a presentation to go to the next slide. This kind of engagement often improves attention and allows you to keep the technology intimate. For the moment it’s also got a bit of wow factor too.
Because the iPad makes it easy to jump online what if you added real time information? “Let’s see what they are saying about our product on Twitter right now.” This may take some confidence to do, but what a great show of proof.
By adding an app like Dropbox or Box.net you can access files stored on one of these online file storage services and create a virtual portfolio of work. This kind of library is an essential presentation tool for many selling environments from graphic designer to remodeling contractor.
You can also arm your sales team with access to thousands of documents, spec sheets, testimonials, success stories and research so they can pull whatever they need and review it with prospects as the situation dictates.
At $499 for the 16G Wi-Fi version this seems like a pretty good buy if you spend the time to arm the presenter with great content.
While it’s true that most everything I’ve mentioned in this article can be accomplished with a laptop that can be acquired for around the same price, I truly believe this is a better tool and perhaps the best tool for this very specific sales and presenting function.