Are You an Intentional Presenter? How to Leverage the Power of Intention in Your Presentation

Be an Intentional Presenter

Part of my process before working with sales teams to help  improve the win rate of their presentations, is to talk with sales managers about where they see room for improvement. I frequently hear comments like these: “Our salespeople know the product, they say all the right words, but they’re just not connecting with prospects in their presentations.” “They’re smart and passionate about the solution, but it’s not coming across in their demos.” In my experience, a flat or unenthusiastic presentation is rarely due to a lack of passion.  More often it’s due to a lack of understanding that being an effective presenter requires more than just “feeling it.”  It requires making sure those feelings are transferred to your audience, in other words, being intentional. What is an Intentional Presenter?  An intentional presenter understands that words are just part of how we communicate to others.  In addition to the sound Read More

Sales Presentation Fails…and Fixes. Plus Free Webinar!

Sales Presentation Skills

You’ve probably seen your share of Epic Fails – misprinted signs that lead to confusion, bridges that lead to nowhere, questionable clothing or parenting decisions. They’re fails because even if intentions are good, the outcome is disastrous. What about Sales Presentation Fails? Presentation fails are those unwitting mistakes or poor decisions that damage their credibility, distract from their message, and ultimately can cost them the sale. As a Sales Presentation Coach, I’ve had a front row seat to some amazingly good…and bad presentations. I’m going to be sharing the 7 most common Presentation Fails in my upcoming webinar on May 12th, but I’m going to give you a “sneak peek” here with one of the most EPIC FAILS I see salespeople making in presentations and demos. Ready? See if you can figure out what the Fail is, from this very typical opening monologue: “OK, looks like everybody’s here so I’m going Read More

5 ways to avoid a feature dump in your presentation

Avoid a feature dump in your presentation

More is not always better. If you ever drank from a hose as a kid, then you have a good idea of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of many presentations or demos. Overwhelming prospects with a steady stream of information – or feature dump – happens more than it should. Here are some of the excuses I hear: My solution is too complex I don’t have as much time as I need The prospect wants to see everything I’ve just got this one shot…etc. etc. If your goal is to show all your capabilities and anything that might possibly be of interest to the prospect, then mission accomplished. Unfortunately, you will have sacrificed a much greater goal:  Clarity and relevance. While it may seem like good sense to cover all your bases, throwing too much at your prospect actually weakens your message. Even a short Read More

The last time I failed to do discovery (Or how I ended up with Jell-O on my face)

Discovery for a presentation

I confess:  I haven’t always done discovery before a sales presentation.  Even when I was working at The National Enquirer years ago where their tag line was “Enquiring minds want to know!” Like many salespeople, I was often running fast trying to make quota. And on those occasions where a prospect seemed like a natural fit, or the situation was similar to something I’d encountered previously, I would take some shortcuts (read: make assumptions). Jell-O changed all of that. I was selling advertising for The National Enquirer and although it had one of the largest print audiences in the country at that time, people – especially advertisers — had very strong opinions about the publication.  But love it or hate it, we had a core group of advertisers who used us as a primary vehicle for efficiently reaching a very specific audience: mothers with average or below household incomes. The Read More

What to do when your prospect only has a few minutes

What to do when your prospect only has a few minutes

You: Spent two weeks preparing to deliver a ninety minute sales presentation. Prospect: “Sorry, I’ve only got a few minutes. Can you just give me a quick overview?” Aargh! Disappointing to say the least. Everything rides on your reaction when your prospect cuts down the time you need to deliver a well-thought out sales presentation. Unfortunately, the knee jerk reaction of most salespeople is to go along with the request, racing through the presentation like an over-caffeinated auctioneer, dismissing slides right and left. Resist the urge. Here’s why: Rushing through your presentation is dangerous and counter-productive. People retain very little when it’s delivered at them from a fire hose. Audience interaction is completely tossed aside in the interest of time, and almost any solution sounds unnecessarily complex when not presented in a strategic manner with associated context and benefits. You need a better strategy when your prospect only has a Read More

The Anatomy of a Boring Presentation

boring presentation

You’ve probably sat in a presentation that made you long for a fire drill or a burst pipe to release you from the tedium. A boring presentation can be the result of many factors: unimaginative or irrelevant content, poor execution or lack of preparation, but often the problem starts with structure. Most salespeople still follow a presentation structure that has been around since the seventies. And while we might smile nostalgically when we see someone sporting bell bottoms or tie dye, there’s nothing for your prospect to smile about when confronted with this tired old structure. I write a lot about how to create and deliver a presentation that engages and persuades today’s busy business audiences, so I thought it would be helpful to turn the tables, and look at the anatomy of a boring presentation through the eyes of a prospect. The  Elements of a Boring Presentation The Introduction Audience Read More

4 Personality Types that can Derail your Presentation (and How to Stop Them in Their Tracks!)

4 Personality types that can derail your presentation

While you may never experience an interruption of Kanye proportions during your presentation or demo, you’ve probably encountered one of these 4 personality types who consciously or unconsciously seem hell bent on derailing your presentation. Handle it poorly, and you can find yourself back at square one with your prospect or out of the running entirely. If you present for a living, you need to have a plan for addressing potential derailers so you can keep your presentation from veering way off track and meet the goals of your audience. 4 Personality Types that can derail your presentation – and how to stop them in their tracks: *  The Kanye Just like when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift as she accepted a VMA award, the Kanye has no problem letting you know anytime they disagree. Right in the middle of your opening or making a key point? No problem. Kanye is only Read More

How to Create Urgency by Raising the Stakes in your Presentation

How to Create Urgency in your presentation

Why you Need to Create Urgency in your Presentation Longer sales cycles and busier prospects dealing with multiple and often conflicting priorities make the need to create urgency during your presentation, dare I say, “urgent?”  I am not of course referring to the manufactured “This is the last one we have left!” type of urgency.  I am talking about authentic urgency:  the desire to solve a problem that a customer has perhaps dismissed or put off because other issues are competing for his or her attention. Too many salespeople miss opportunities to create urgency within their presentation by glossing over or discounting challenges. Here’s an example from an actual presentation: Version 1:  Low Urgency  “As you mentioned, expanding your business into multiple states and navigating the many requirements associated with managing the Compliance, Tax and Employee Administration requirements within the various states where you’re doing business can be very difficult.  Read More

5 Great Reasons to Tell a Story in Your Sales Presentation

Oscar for best screenplay

Spotlight, this year’s Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay, proved yet again that a good story, well told can pay big dividends. Storytelling can pay big dividends in your sales presentations as well when you follow a few rules. The first rule is critical to the success of your story, and that is being crystal clear why you are telling a story. Why “the why” is key in your sales story Stories that are used solely as attention-grabbers and lead nowhere waste time and try the patience of busy prospects. While this may work in everyday conversation, a sales presentation is not an everyday conversation. It is a purposeful, heightened communication and every element, including a story, must be tied to the reason that you are there. Whether that’s to solve a business challenge, explore an opportunity or overcome obstacles to doing business. Should a story also grab attention and Read More

The 3rd Annual Oscar Best Presentation Awards

Chris Rock Oscars 2016

You already know who won the Oscar’s major categories, but do you know who won the award for Best…or Worst Presenter?  Or the Best “Addressing the Elephant in the Room?” If you look at The Oscars from a sales perspective, it’s a great collection of mini-presentations and monologues given in front of a live and virtual audience with short attention spans and high expectations. Which makes it the perfect setting to understand what works when presenting to a business, what doesn’t and why. Here are the results of my 3rd Annual Oscar Presentation Awards and the sales takeaways: Best “Addressing the Elephant in the Room:” Chris Rock With his first line, “Welcome to the white people’s choice awards,” Chris Rock took on the negative press about the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees. He handled a sensitive subject that had received major press the weeks leading up the Read More