How to Win the Ultra-Marathon of Presentations

Woman runner on sand dunes

Full day and multiple day presentations or demos are the ultra-marathon of presenting and common in certain industries, like technology. While a full day presentation might seem as simple as stringing together several shorter presentations and chugging plenty of Red Bull, they present some unique challenges including: More brain power More content means more material for both you and your audience to try and remember. More is not always better if it means a long, meandering data dump where the prospect walks away with no clear recall of the key message or overall value to his organization.  More presenters Longer presentations often involve a team effort. While this takes some of the pressure off of each individual presenter, it can produce disparate messaging, awkward transitions, and wildly inconsistent delivery which can ultimately keep you from achieving your goal. Short attention spans With attention spans at an all time low and Read More

Stop presenting like it’s 1999!


Hey kids, want to know what 1999 was like? Sit in on most sales presentations today and you’ll instantly be transported back in time. Boring company overviews. Long monologues. Forgettable messaging. The only difference between then and now are the disengaged prospects reaching for their smartphones. We don’t live in the 90’s anymore and neither do our prospects.  Consider this: Attention spans are half of what they used to be a decade ago. Buyers are better informed than ever.  Nearly 2/3 research your company before they even contact you. Products and services are being bought and sold like commodities. In the second decade of the 21st century, technology and prospects continue to change, yet, too many salespeople are still using techniques to present their solutions that date back to a time when fax machines and dial-up modems were state-of-the-art. Yes, they’re still around today, but if you use them, nobody will Read More

Breaking the 4th Wall: How to keep your audience on the edge of their seats


If you’re a fan of House of Cards like me, you’ve experienced the power of Breaking the Fourth Wall – a technique where an actor suddenly steps out of character and talks directly to the audience. The first time Frank Underwood (aka: Kevin Spacey) turned and spoke directly to the camera, I felt like he had stepped right out of my television set and was talking directly to me. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat for the rest of the show – and the entire season! Breaking the fourth wall can have a similarly dramatic effect on your audience during your sales presentation. In film, television, and theater, the fourth wall is an imaginary wall that separates the actor from his audience, placing a safe distance between his world and theirs. Breaking the fourth wall is a technique that’s gotten a lot of recent play, Read More

Leveraging the 93% advantage in your sales presentation


A well-crafted message is a critical component of your sales presentation, conversation, or demo, but in today’s competitive landscape, you can’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting. Consider this… Two actors are auditioning for the same part. Each actor fits the description sent out by the casting director and they audition reading from the exact same script. Why does one actor get the part while the other goes back to checking audition notices?  It obviously isn’t because of the words since they are exactly the same. The winning actor brings meaning and emotion to the words. She makes it easy for the director to see her in the role. She’s using her instrument – her voice, body, and mind – to bring the script to life, capture the audience’s attention, and convince them she is right for the role. Presenting your solution in a competitive world Read More

Is Your Sales Monologue up to Tonight Show Standards?

Jimmy Fallon

I love Jimmy Fallon’s monologue. It’s clever and topical. It’s short and interactive. It’s everything a sales monologue in a presentation is not. To be fair, delivering a monologue is exceptionally difficult — even for the pros. It’s always easier for performers to interact with another actor in a scene or for a television host to interview a guest, than to stand up and talk directly to an audience solo for four to five minutes. Too many salespeople approach their sales presentation as a series of long monologues to get through – without understanding what it takes to keep an audience’s attention during that time. How often in your personal life do you stop and allow someone to speak to you for five or ten minutes straight without some type of response or interaction? Unless you’re taking a class or being “told off”, probably not often. Yet, that’s exactly what Read More

Is your presentation built to persuade? The anatomy of a persuasive presentation

two manager are offering collaboration with you

Presentations, like movies, television shows, and speeches typically follow a basic three-act structure invented by Aristotle: they have an opening, a body, and a conclusion. There are many variations on that structure and each serves a different purpose – whether it’s to entertain, inform, or inspire. As a salesperson it’s not enough for your prospect to walk out and be “well-informed” or say “that was a fun presentation.” To drive your prospect to take action, you need a structure designed to persuade. Research shows that the structure proven most effective in persuading audiences divides your presentation into three parts: Situation, complication, resolution. This structure works for a variety of reasons: it places the focus on your prospect’s challenge or objective — rather than your product, service, or company — and it organizes your message in a way that can shift your prospect’s perception, open her mind to new ideas, and Read More

Stop Fighting for Attention! Use Real-Time Polls to Increase Audience Engagement!


Tired of fighting with a smartphone for your prospect’s attention during your sales presentation? Stop fighting and embrace it by using the power of real time polls to promote audience engagement and reinforce your message! The Power of Gamification Real-time polls come from the world of gamification — the use of game elements like scoring, rules, and competition – and are an effective new tool to have in your presenter’s toolkit. By combining mental focus, physical activity, and ongoing action, real-time polls are an excellent way to gain audience attention, drive learning and retention during your presentation or demonstration: Power up your Q&A: Asking your audience for a show of hands is so 20th century. Posing a thought-provoking question on a topic that leads into your presentation and asking your audience to weigh in on their smart phones and show them the results in real-time? Now you’re moving into the new Read More

5 Tips for Commanding the Sales Stage

Back view of girl standing in stage lights

In order to grab and hold your prospects’ attention and get buy-in into the vision you are presenting for them with your sales presentation, you must inhabit your sales stage – whether it’s a an actual stage or a corner of a business office — with the complete conviction and confidence of a great performer.  How do you do that day after day, prospect after prospect?  You can learn to deliver an effective and compelling sales presentation each time by following these tips from performers on taking command of the sales stage: Tip #1: Banish self-consciousness. Self-consciousness often results in distracting movement that pulls the audience out of the performance. Doing some sales warm-up exercises will help to loosen up and channel some of that nervous energy into a positive force. ( Download your  free warm-up here.)  In addition, focusing on your purpose—to communicate your message in a way that affects your Read More

3 Questions Your Sales Presentation Must Answer


There are as many variations in the content and structure of a sales presentation as Beyonce has wardrobe changes, but when it comes down to the question it must answer in your prospect’s mind, it will typically fall into one, two or all three of the following: Why should I buy this product or service? Why should I buy from you? Why should I buy now? Knowing which question(s) you must address is critical to how you structure and position your message —  one reason why doing a thorough discovery is so important. (For tips on the 5 things you must do in your discovery call, click here.)  Here are the key things to take into consideration when addressing each type of question in your presentation: Why should I buy this product or service? Your prospect may not yet be convinced that your product or service is the answer to Read More

3 +1 Bonus Tips for Delivering Your Sales Presentation on Your Tablet or iPad

Woman holding ipad with empty white screen vertically

Part 2 of my series on best practices for presenting with a tablet or iPad. Delivering your sales presentation on your tablet or iPad can be an engaging way to grab your prospect’s attention and showcase your work or your products in a fresh, and engaging way.  The unique ability of tablets to address common selling situations in the moment makes them especially useful. Get an objection? Show a short video clip of a customer endorsement. Concerns about pricing or availability? Check inventory, price, and discounts in real time. Need to find detailed product specs? Access your data base with a few quick clicks.  Ready to seal the deal? Get a digital signature on the spot. As user-friendly as tablets are, don’t underestimate the need to prepare and practice. In my last post I covered 5 key tips for presenting with your iPad or tablet, now here are four more Read More