Presentations That Sell

    January 14, 2003

Unfortunately, many presentations causes the prospect to quickly lose interest and say something like, “Lemme think about it. I’ll call you.” And, most of the time, they don’t. We think we did a good job but now the prospect doesn’t return our calls and all indications point to “no sale.” Where did we go wrong?

There were likely a few things we missed; mistake that many salespeople commonly fall prey to during their presentations. Here are a few suggestions that will help you increase the impact of your presentations, keep your prospect’s attention and increase the probability of closing the sale:

1. Before you begin, briefly summarize your understanding of their needs, wants and current situation. This means you repeat back to the prospect what they stated was important to them. For example, “Just so I understand, Mr. Prospect; you want a supplier who is willing to work with you to maximize revenues from your machines, someone who has access to a wide range of products and, most importantly, you want your machines serviced in a timely manner if they happen to break down. Is that correct?” This summary allows both you and the prospect to confirm that you have accurately understood what the potential customer is looking for. Plus, it also demonstrates that you have listened to them which will increase your credibility.

2. When you begin your presentation avoid the mistake of launching into a canned or rehearsed presentation. Instead, focus on what your prospect said was important to him and adapt your approach accordingly. As simple as this sounds, my experience has taught me that most sales people don’t customize their presentation to meet their customer’s requirements. Provide examples of how you solved another customer’s problem, or how you responded to a specific issue that is relevant to the current prospect’s situation.

3. Discuss benefits, not features. So many sales people talk at great length about the features of the their product or service. But people buy benefits, not features. People want to know what’s in it for them. I call this tuning into station WII-FM. For example, instead of telling your potential customer that you offer service within 12 hours, phrase it this way, “Mr. Prospect, you’ll be happy to know that we are committed to servicing any problem within 12 hours of being contacted (feature). That means (benefit) you won’t have to deal with lost revenue like you have in the past.” Although the benefit seems obvious, it is not always apparent from the customer’s perspective.

4. Demonstrate enthusiasm, energy and passion. Most presentations I’ve sat through are flat, dry and delivered in a monotone voice. If you can’t get excited about your product/service how can you expect your prospect to? And, if they don’t, they won’t feel compelled to buy.

5. Offer testimonials. If your prospect appears skeptical, which is understandable in today’s business world, be prepared with written testimonials from existing customers. People believe what they see in writing more than what they hear. I strongly suggest that you contact your best customers and ask them for their candid comments why they do business with you. Assuming their responses are favourable, ask if you can use their comments. In very few situations will you receive a negative response, particularly if you have a great relationship with them. Record these comments and, if appropriate add even more impact by including photos. Remember, people think in pictures and a picture is worth a thousand words.

Developing the ability to present your product and/or service in a positive, compelling manner does make a difference. Follow these five points and give your prospect a reason to say something other than, “Lemme think about it, I’ll call you.”

2006 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

Kelley Robertson works with specialty retailers to help them capture more from each sale. He is the author of two books including the best-seller, Stop, Ask & Listen-Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers. Receive a FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing to his free newsletter available at

Kelley speaks regularly at conferences, sales meetings, and corporate functions. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or