All posts by Julie Hansen

Get out your snorkel! Selling in the time of Coronavirus


My first job was selling advertising for KBPI (Rocking the Rockies for 50 years!) In radio, your success was closely tied to your ranking in the quarterly audience ratings.  Buyers who controlled the biggest media budgets would often only buy the top two or three stations in a particular demographic – no matter how much value-added you provided. One sunny spring day my sales manager asked our team to report in the conference room for the results of the latest ratings report.  An anxious buzz filled the room as we wondered aloud whether the next three months would bring feast, famine, or something in between.  The room went quiet when my manager entered, report in hand.  He looked around the room in silence before presenting the verdict: “Get out your snorkel – we’re going down.” Yes, we had tanked in the ratings.  Yes, it was going to be a long Read More

7 Signs your Presentation is Stuck in the Eighties (and How to Modernize it!)


 Ah the eighties.  A great decade for music, parachute pants and PowerPoint!  Launched in 1987, PowerPoint revolutionized the way we pitch to clients and speak to audiences.  PowerPoint is still going strong 40 years later, but in order to better connect with modern audiences they’ve adapted their style with design tips, sharing options, mobile access, etc.  Have you adapted your style as well?  If your presentation is stuck in the eighties, it is as ineffective as trying to stream music on your Sony Walkman. Even if you weren’t around in the eighties, the odds are you may be using old-school presentation techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation.  How do you know if your presentation is stuck in the eighties?  Check the following 7 signs below and follow the tips to modernize your presentation. 7 Signs your Presentation is Stuck in the Eighties   1. “Let me Read More

Step-by-Step: How to Be your own Presentation Coach


how to coach yourself

Coaching is as vital to a presenter as it is to a performer.  If you’re not seeing what your audience is seeing, you’re operating in the dark.  While you may get occasional “drive-by” coaching from a manager, a peer or at a workshop, without a consistent and clear way to gauge progress, many presenters fall back on old habits or end up reinforcing ineffective behaviors.  If you’re invested in your career you need to learn how to be your own presentation coach.  Thanks to technology, coaching yourself is technically “easier than ever”, but there is still a huge barrier most people have when it comes to being objective about your performance.  Or even watching your own performance! As an actor I hated seeing myself on video.  Even if I had received accolades from audience members and directors,  all I could see when I watched were my flaws: a distracting hand Read More

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

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