What the heck am I looking at?!  A Forgotten Software Demo Best Practice


As a demo and presentation skills coach, I have seen more than my fair share of software demos – along with their associated screens, tabs, search bars, drop downs, notifications and text fields.  Some screens are so busy Lewis and Clark armed with a GPS would get lost!  But even simpler interfaces often beg the question: “What the heck am I looking at?” in a seller’s haste to show how much their software can do in the allotted time. The software demo best practice of quickly conveying tor your audience what they are seeing (and why it matters) is going the way of the Dodo, and that’s a costly mistake.  Here’s why: Like me, it is likely that your customer has never seen your software before.  And the way you introduce a screen will significantly impact two key factors in moving the deal forward:  your customer’s attention and their ability Read More

Top 5 Sales Blog Posts of 2019


I hope 2019 was a great year for you!  I’ve rounded up the Top 5 Blog Posts of 2019 for you in case you missed them – with a minimum of 58 ideas to set you up for success in 2020! These are the Top 5 Sales Blog Posts of 2019 – as voted by readers! 1.  The 1 Improv Technique Salespeople MUST Know:  (Great for handling objections)  Read here 2.  5 Fake Facts that are Killing your Sales Presentation:  (this 2nd one is a proven deal killer…)  Read here 3.  50 Ways to Blow a Great Presentation:   (I see Numbers 14 & 17 all the time…) Read here 4.  Does PowerPoint Even Make Sense any More?  (You may be surprised at the conclusion!)  Read here 5.  The Power of Show and Tell: 3 Ways to use Props in Your Pitch or Presentation:  (Yes, an elementary school technique CAN help Read More

Why a Sales Presentation is Not a Ted Talk


I’m a big fan of Ted Talks. A good Ted Talk can entertain, inspire, or expose you to new ideas and perspectives.  And as a presenter, there are lots of great lessons to take away from Ted Talks.  But make no mistake, a sales presentation is not a Ted Talk.  And it’s dangerous for sellers to model their presentation after one.  Here’s why: You must have a call-to-action. Unlike a Ted Talk, it’s vital that your prospect to do more than feel “inspired” or “informed” after your sales presentation.  You want them to take action.  While the best Ted Talks do a good job of ending in a memorable way, don’t be tricked into thinking that being memorable can substitute for a clearly defined call-to-action.  Get tips on calls-to-action that work here. It’s not a monologue. Ted Talks are monologues. There’s nothing wrong with a monologue, but research shows that Read More

Put Some Pizzazz in Your Presentation


Thanks to the impeachment hearings, “pizzazz” has gotten a lot of media exposure lately.  Political analysts on one side claim the legal proceedings lacked the “pizzazz” necessary to hold the public’s attention.  The other side claims the facts speak for themselves, pizzazz completely unnecessary. I’m not going to weigh in on the debate about whether pizzazz belongs in our legal system or not, but I do want to address the slightly less-heated, but ongoing debate around whether pizzazz belongs in sales presentations. Like our political parties, one camp of sellers insist that “the facts speak for themselves.” While the other camp is always looking for more ways to package or deliver their message in a way that makes a greater impact on their audience.  In other words, they are looking to add some “pizzazz” to their presentations. Why Should you Put some Pizzazz in your Presentation? What is pizzazz anyway? Read More

For Great Presenters, “Use It, Lose It, or Laugh at It” Rules


As they say in live theater, “the show must go on.” The same holds true for your presentation. Whether the customer throws you a curve ball, you’ve forgotten your slide deck, or can’t access your demo environment, you must carry on. Things change and mistakes happen. Technology and humans are both fallible. The important thing to remember is to remain calm. Not only will keeping your composure help you manage the situation, but it will help your prospect stay calm as well. Keep in mind that your prospect will take his cues from you. If you suddenly look like you’ve just missed the last flight home, your prospect will be understandably alarmed as well. When the unexpected occurs in business, great presenters can find many improv techniques to be helpful, especially the improv rule of Use it, Lose it, or Laugh at to be extremely helpful. The rule quickly narrows Read More

Are you making this common mistake in your presentation?


Too many sales presentations start out strong, only to run out of gas at the end.  Making this common mistake in your presentation leaves  buyers uninspired, unmotivated, and unlikely to take next steps. Your  closing is second only in importance to your opening, yet it is often the least planned out part of a presentation. An effective presentation close doesn’t happen by chance.   It takes planning and practice.  But as the final impression you make on your prospect, it’s well worth investing the time and effort. 5 ways to avoid making this common mistake in your presentation: Know your ending: This seems obvious, I know. But the truth is many presenters aren’t 100% certain where they’re going to end.  This leads to needless repetition, stopping at a weak point or just sort of trailing off…  Know exactly what your last line is.  Nail it.  Put a period on it and Read More

How to Use Your Personal Story to Connect Emotionally with Buyers


Sales is a transfer of thoughts, ideas and emotions.  And one of the best ways to connect emotionally with buyers is with stories. Research even shows that when listening to a story, changes take place in our brains. We actually connect emotionally with the storyteller.  Of the 5 types of stories I suggest salespeople have at the ready, a Personal Story has the greatest potential to make an emotional connection.  Why?  Because the storyteller is obviously more connected to their story which increases its emotional impact.  And also because personal stories are unique, authentic and therefore more memorable. Despite this, many salespeople resist using personal stories for one of three reasons: 1. They believe buyers don’t want to hear a personal story/feel it’s inappropriate 2. They don’t think they have an interesting or relevant story 3. They don’t know how to adapt their personal story to use in a business Read More

Vocal Authority: Using Your Voice for Sales Success


voice and sales

Kristin, a highly-experienced sales person, describes being frequently interrupted or “talked over” by her manager or peers.  Andrea is a talented young sales person who is often ignored by older decision-makers.  Daniel, a new sales leader, is frustrated because his team isn’t listening to him, making it difficult to excel in his new role. Despite talent, titles or experience, these three share a common problem.  They are not being taken seriously.  And not being taken seriously can cost you sales and career opportunities.  Vocal authority, or the ability to speak in a way that portrays confidence, credibility and demands respect is a critical component of success in sales and business.  Yes, you can get by without it, but it’s going to be just that much harder for you.      How Your Voice Impacts Sales Fair or not, the sound, tone and quality of your voice effects if and how Read More

Be a Video Sales Superstar with These 3 Acting Secrets


Video is fast becoming a salesperson’s secret weapon in the battle for attention of today’s busy buyers.  Whether it’s recorded videos for prospecting or a webcam for a remote meeting, using video in sales can help you quickly establish a personal connection, stand out from the competition, and close more deals. (see below)  So what in the world is holding you back from being a Video Sales Superstar?  Research by Gong.io found that closed deals involved webcams being used 41% more often than lost deals. For many salespeople, it’s the discomfort – or downright terror – of being on camera.  I get it.  Speaking to a camera is an unnatural act.  But here’s a secret:  many of those same actors that appear so natural and confident on film had to work to overcome their fear of the camera and master some specific techniques.  And if they can learn how, so can Read More

Does PowerPoint even make sense anymore?


“My customers don’t want to see a bunch of slides.  They tune out almost immediately.” “I don’t even bother with PowerPoint anymore.  I just have a conversation with my clients.”  I hear comments like these every day from salespeople and customers alike.  It’s not surprising really.  Over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created every day.  And with over 6 million teachers using slides in the classroom, customers have already seen their fair share of presentations by the time they enter the business world.  It’s understandable if we’ve all grown a bit weary of the whole genre. Lately, I’ve seen a real backlash against PowerPoint or any type of slide-based presentation.  Perhaps it’s a result of years of being subjected to poorly designed and executed decks. Or it’s the endless lists of bullet points, dizzying animations, and stock photos that have led to a swelling rebellion. TED Talks may even have Read More

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Performance Sales and Training: Persuasive Presentation Skills to meet the challenges of today’s B2B Sales Environment