Winning Team Presentations. Part 1: Planning

Successful business team at work.

With big dollars at stake and a significant investment of time and resources, it’s critical that you come across as a well-cast ensemble with consistent messaging, seamless interaction, and good chemistry during your team presentation. The way you interact together as a team gives your prospect an indication of what it will be like to work with your company. Sloppy transitions, disconnected messages, and discord among team members can make your prospect feel more like they’re working with a dysfunctional family than a valued business partner! You want your presentation to come across as a cohesive message – not several disparate parts strung together, but team members are often spread across the country, involved in other projects, and have varying levels of knowledge, skill, and motivation. How can you ensure you’re all on the same page? How do you communicate effectively as a team? How do you support each other Read More

7 Small Changes that have a Big Impact on Your Presentation

Frog Prince Concept

You know your sales presentation could use an overhaul in order to resonate with today’s busy decision-makers, but you have a presentation tomorrow. You simply don’t have the time to make wholesale changes. Here are some small changes that you can quickly make that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of your presentation: Apply WIFM to your company overview I’m not a big fan of company overviews – and neither is your prospect – but if you must include one, avoid delivering a laundry list of irrelevant facts by putting every item to the WIFM Test. For every company factoid, step into your customer’s shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” Highlight the connection when you deliver it. If there’s no real benefit associated with it, leave it out. You will be left with a stronger, more customer-focused overview and your prospect will thank you.   (TIP: Read More

How to make your presentation sticky

Blank sticky notes on a rope

Longer buying cycles and increasingly complex sales are making it  rare that a sales presentation or demonstration ends in a signed contract. Often decision-makers don’t get together for days, weeks or even months to discuss your proposal. During that time, your prospect has seen additional vendors and had to contend with new demands and challenges. How do you make sure that your message is remembered after you walk out the door – and not confused with that of your competition? You need to be sticky. In their book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath introduced the concept of being “sticky” – having top-of-mind recall with your customer − and it’s, well, stuck. Applying some of the key principles of what makes an idea sticky to your presentation is a great way to ensure you are top-of-mind when buying decision are made. Following are some tips for increasing the “stickiness” of your presentation: Read More

Presentation strategies for the complex sale

big maze - labyrinth

Complex sales provide unique challenges for salespeople in all stages of the process, and the presentation or demonstration is no exception. Products like technology, infrastructure, design and construction projects often involve a series of presentations and/or demonstrations. They are a major investment of time, effort and commitment on both your end and the customers, so it’s critical to understand the dynamics going into the presentation, including: *  Multiple decision makers. Because of the large price tag, impact on the organization, and a high perceived risk, there is typically more than one decision-maker and multiple stake-holders involved in the process. To win the complex sale you must convince the majority of these decision-makers to buy your product − even though they may not all be at your presentation. *  Presenting as a team. If you’re involved in a complex sale, you are very likely part of a sales team. How you Read More

Does your presentation close — or simply come to an end?

Courtroom Trial

Imagine being on trial – you’re not guilty of course − and after the final witness’ testimony your lawyer simply rests her case and leaves it up to the jury to make sense of all of the evidence and deliver whatever verdict they feel appropriate. Would you be happy? I don’t think so. Yet most sales presentations end something like this, “Well, I guess that’s it. Thank you for having us and we’ll open it up to questions.” While the presentation certainly came to an end, that doesn’t qualify as a closing. Closing is a process that either completes a sale or moves you one or two steps closer to it. If all you’ve accomplished is gotten to the end of your presentation but not asked for a verdict, you have  not really closed. Back to your trial… What would you want your lawyer to do at the end of Read More

8 sales presentation disaster recovery tips

Laptop with flame

During my presentation workshops we try to replicate a real presentation environment as much as possible. When it was Michael’s turn to present he hooked up his laptop and nothing happened. Michael checked the connections and still…nothing. Michael apologized and kept retrying it – much like when you’ve lost your keys and keep checking the same place you always put them in. Soon he was getting suggestions from everyone in the class. Two people jumped up to help. Another one went to find someone from IT. Eventually half the room was gone or busy checking emails or texts. It was just like a real presentation. Likely you’ve faced this nightmare in real life: You’re giving an important presentation and your slide deck disappears, your demo freezes or you’ve forgotten something important. It is how you handle these unforeseen circumstances that can make or break your presentation. Like Michael, without a Read More

Is anybody listening? 5 tips to a riveting web presentation

skeptical surprised woman reading news on smartphone holding lap

Ever found yourself texting, checking email or freshening your coffee during a web presentation or webinar? Temptations abound in a virtual world and that’s exactly what your prospects are doing if you’ve failed to keep them engaged and focused on your message. Maintaining your prospect’s attention is a challenge online. What works in live presentations – FASTER, BIGGER, LOUDER! – doesn’t translate to a virtual audience. Understanding where you’re at high risk for tune-out and making some strategic adjustments in those areas can take your presentation from “Is anybody out there?” to “Are we done already?!” Here are some tips that will keep your prospect riveted during your next web presentation:                      *  Have two openings. If you’ve been on time for a web presentation you know how frustrating it can be to wait for others to join the meeting. How you handle this will affect the first impression your Read More

5 things you must do in your discovery process

Businessman looks on the computer with a  lens

When the competition is stiff, preparation — and discovery in particular — plays a critical role in the ultimate success of your presentation. While much information about a company can be found on-line, the best source of information and greatest payoff potential comes from having a conversation with key people within your prospect’s company. Ask for a discovery conversation. So go ahead and ask. It’s a reasonable request to ask for input from those within your prospect’s company who can shed light on the situation. It benefits not only you, but also the prospect. After all, gaining a better understanding of their needs shortens your presentation time by allowing you to provide a more accurate and precise recommendation and get to the point quicker. In a competitive market it’s unlikely that you will be the only one asking your prospect questions to prepare for your presentation. How can you set Read More

Eliminate the silent treatment during your presentation: avoid these questions


  Today’s sales presentations aren’t the one-way monologues of old. Audience’s not only expect to be engaged, but your message will have greater impact and recall if they are actively participating in the presentation. Posing a question is a quick and easy way to engage your audience. People are naturally curious and a good question will stimulate their thinking right away.  So why do I hear so many post-presentation comments from sellers like these:   What a boring group! They just stared at me when I asked them a question!”   I asked a bunch of questions, but half of them were busy texting!” I get it. It’s uncomfortable to throw a question out there and see a bunch of blank faces staring back at you in silence.  And it’s tempting to want to blame lack of response to our questions on our audience, but the truth is that asking questions alone Read More

The Verdict is in: The Opening of Your Presentation Influences Your Sale

Stern judge speaking to the court

    You’ve finally got that hard-fought presentation time with your prospect. You’ve managed to get all the decision-makers together in one room at the same time. Quick reality check: Do you have their attention? I wouldn’t bet on it. Like you, prospects have other things on their minds. Perhaps they just got off a call with an unhappy customer or they’re worrying about how to handle an unresolved issue. Your first goal is to pull your listeners into the present.  Which means, you need a clear strategy for breaking through the mental clutter and physical distractions that plague today’s business audiences. After all, it won’t matter how exceptional your message is if your prospect isn’t listening! The opening of your presentation or conversation influences the outcome of a sale than you may realize. Consider this: First impressions – Last impressions.  First impressions, while not always accurate, do affect the Read More