October 21, 2016

7 Points for Sales Presentations


Technology changes everything. Right?

I’m not so sure. Tech enables, but does not always change the basics. Especially for the small business owner.

Your Business Blogger was in the market to buy a software solution. I sat through a conference call/web based sales pitch by Brand X for creating a wiz-bang presentation to promote one of my companies. The presenters made a number of mistakes.

I stopped counting at 7.

1) Start the presentation on time. Brand X could not immediately locate the CEO as pitchman for the assembled prospects waiting on-line and on the phone. If you can’t find the presenter, the show — the sales presentation must still go on — with an understudy if need be.

2) Never let ’em see you sweat. So Brand X’s lead presenter was lost. There appeared to be a very capable VP on hand to provide information, asking qualifying questions, giving a warm-up act. Say most anything, but don’t tell potential clients you can’t synchronize an Outlook calendar and don’t know what to do next. Fill the dead air with some anticipation. See The Consultant’s Jargon Generator. Unless it’s part of the act, don’t let on that your hair’s on fire.

3) Don’t tell me how smart you are. Brand X’s very accomplished CEO couldn’t tell us quick enough about his Ivy League degrees — sounding too much like a college sorority sister establishing a pecking order. I know he was smart because he told me so.

4) Never introduce yourself. Let someone else do the bragging. I am leery of any forty-year-old man telling me what University he attended. Particularly when “attend” means grad-level “certificate” program. (Unless it’s Oxford. Like me.) Brand X’s CEO should have had his very capable VP’s whisper as an aside, confidentially, “You know, he went to Harvard.” Find an accomplished Ed McMahon or a good second banana to say, “Heeereee’s Johnny!!!”

5) Never discuss religion or politics. Brand X has pet causes that alienated — something about rainforests, peace in our time, landfills, I think. And Starbucks. I was left with the impression that the Brand X commune sits in a circle in Oregon and sings Kumbaya, which must be very impressive to creative media potsmokers. But not to decision makers with a five figure buying authority.

6) Never provide backup/proof unless the client is skeptical. Brand X sent me eleven (11!) pages of landfill of client testimonials. A few blurbs, sure. And the client list. But pages of telling me how smart you are instead tells me how insecure you are. Which I learned from the Brits. (While at Oxford.)

7) Do as I say; Not as I do. Brand X highlighted their product as avoiding the need for those pesky salesmen calling and bothering and trying to sell you something. Then I get two follow-up sales telephone calls from Brand X. Now, I love sales guys — I started off selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door 35 years ago — but don’t put salesmen down, then use them when (appearing) desperate.

Bottom line: I didn’t buy. The Brand X manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $17,500. But! if you buy now! now! your investment! is onlyninethousanddollars….I had a low four figure budget and Brand X did not close the gap between my needs, my money and their software solution. Which was actually very good.

From web to telephone to trade shows to a one-on-one face-to-face, sales presentation basics are timeless.

Web based presentations are a tool to exchange labor for technology. Remember, sales basics are independent of platforms.

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Jack Yoest

Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

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66 Reactions

  1. The Consultant’s Jargon Generator link above is actually tongue-in-cheek. I’m currently reading the Guerilla book at that link and one page in the book lists similar cliched terms and instructs us to avoid them and to use ‘plainspeak’ instead. Perhaps a ‘song and dance’ would be better 🙂

  2. Vladimir, I’m a bit confused. I thought the Consultant’s Jargon Generator was real…

    Next you’ll tell me that Professional Wrestling is fake.

    You’re right: ‘song and dance’ would be better.


  3. Ouch! Generally if the right people don’t show up within 1/2 hour I end the meeting. I turned down a $75K software purchase because the sales folks set up a net meeting that required they gain control over my PC to do a demo. Beyond their flashy presentation with canned responses I found they could not answer the questions I asked, but kept referring to how cool their product was and how I would look like a hero to my boss. The software package we chose ended up costing $150K and has everything we need including real people for support.

  4. Jack, one I learned long ago was NEVER APOLOGIZE for any mistakes or error or gaffs that you have. Probably relates to never let em see you sweat above.


  5. Steve, your advice of to “never apologize” is most often (never) seen by on-air talent and performing artists. Usually a flub on stage is missed by the audience — an apology merely calls attention to the mistake. The best performers never apologize.

    I think the beginning of this was with one of the grown Henry Ford sons. Driving drunk, caught with a woman not his wife. Interviewed in jail: a reporter pesters with questions. Ford answers, “Never complain, never explain.”

    The idea to “never apologize” should be taught in business schools.

  6. The other lesson I learned early in my business career that is related to this is ‘business composure’ people respect that composure even when circumstances are hectic. My belief is composure is not stilted never out of control, passion yes, anger no.

  7. Hey, I don’t have much to say, but that was great! It reminded me of all the meetings and presentations and sales baloney that I used to have to sit through.

    I’ve noticed the point about letting other people speak for you before. In particular, the more smart you want to be, the more important it is that you don’t try to “prove” you are smart… it just takes a credible person to talk you up to accomplish that, and if you do it yourself you just invite scorn.

    Too bad talking yourself down doesn’t accomplish the reverse as well…

  8. “Never let them see you sweat”- This is important to remember while presenting a product or an idea. Yes, this is easier said than done, but with the help of rehearsal you will be able to work with your nervous self.
    Practicing in front of a mirror or a group of friends will help you convey your message more fluently.
    Confidence makes people believe in what you are saying. If you focus too much on your emotions, you will not articulate your message effectively to your audience. They will be distracted by your weird body language and forget about you are trying to promote. Visualization complements a presentation.

  9. Although technology can change and enhance presentations, there are certain fundamental rules that will never change when a person gives a presentation. I think that the mistakes that were mentioned are key rules that everyone should keep in mind and never break when they are giving a presentation. For example, a person should always start his or her presentation on time. Timeliness is essential, and a person should never be late because it gives an initial bad impression. In addition, a person should remain calm and present his or her competency without simply stating that he or she is smart. A person should show that he or she is smart without having to say it, and he or she should not let his or her nervousness get the best of him or her. Furthermore, a person should not have to introduce his or herself. A lasting impression is likely to be caused by someone else introducing you. Discussing religion and politics is extremely controversial, which is why it should never occur during a presentation. One could easily ruin his or her presentation by doing such. Also, one should not have to exhaust another with facts about his or her point. If a person is confident, then he or she will only have to give evidence and proof when needed or requested. Lastly, it is important for a person to not contradict his or herself. A person should not be seen doing something opposed to what he or she said in his or her presentation. If such is done, a person and company could immediately lose credibility.

  10. Christine Loughery

    “Sales presentation basics are timeless” and “independent of platforms.” While technology is an advancement that offers convenience and alternative options, especially in the business world, it does not change the fundamental principles of business practices. During a sales presentation on the web or by phone, the presenter should be prompt, prepared, professional, and focused on the needs of the buyer, just as he or she would in a presentation done in person. These aspects are crucial for all sales presentations, regardless of the platform, in order to be successful. Technology is not a reason to discard standard business practices that have been proven to work. This article allowed me to see how important it is to uphold standard sales basics regardless of the nature of the platform.

  11. Nicholas Joesten

    Time is of the essence, a phrase I have been accustomed to but not for contractual reasons. But punctuality is very important in the business world and can make or break decisions and valuable deals so I was quite surprised to hear that the presenter was late for his presentation. Obviously it would be ideal for him or her to start things off on the right foot. Also the concept of “Don’t tell me how smart you are” stuck out nicely to me and intrigued me. History in recent years has shown that you don’t need to earn a degree to be successful, although it does help a lot. Michael Dell , CEO and founder of Dell didn’t earn a degree and turned out very successful, so there is no need to gloat about alma mater.

  12. These seven points for sales presentations are basic, but necessary. I think the two most important takeaways from this article is to start on time and to never let the audience see you sweat. The first shows professionalism, while the latter shows confidence. Professionalism in business is necessary in almost every business transaction. The presenter is not only showcasing the product or idea, but he is also representing the company of the product. He has to embody someone with respect, integrity, and intelligence in order for the audience to take his sales presentation seriously. Confidence when pitching an idea is also key. Confidence in giving a speech is not easy to attain for everyone. It takes practice, knowledge, and skill. Confidence can also be instilled when the presenter actually believes in the product/idea he is pitching. More so, the presenter must convey his personal reliability to the product in order to convince the viewers that the product truly adds value to his life. Thus, this same product can also add value to the consumer’s life.

  13. MacKenzie Gardner

    “Never let them see you sweat” I believe that is one of the most important points in making any type of business presentation. It goes hand in hand with another saying, “fake it until you make it”. The people you are presenting a pitch to would rather listen to someone who at least sounds confident in what they are speaking on rather than hearing someone apologize for not having their act together. All in all this article highlighted many important key points that I agree with.

  14. So it seems that technology does not change as much as you think would in the business world after all. In terms of proper business etiquette, technology can help prepare you for tasks you have to get done in business or a presentation you have to make but you can not use the technology in the business world to help make yourself look professional. The only thing that can make yourself look prepared and professional especially in the case of a presentation is yourself… a computer can not do this for you, nor can any other technology. The most important part of the article in my opinion is to always be on time. Nothing can look worse than not benign time because the rest of your presentation will not be able to be as good as a result.

  15. Business presentations are meant to be quick meetings that attract the customer into the idea of buying your product or service. The more you throw at them all at once the more they know and can make a decision but, if you present yourself (product, or company) with limited information they will have to wonder and do research on their own or come to you for more. Also more than one person should always be present who knows the information inside and out so if someone does get nervous or is unable to perform the presentation is not wasted, you can continue with ease and without worry, but if you come off sounding arrogant or to smart, meaning that you’re just spitting out information then you can and will turn people off of the idea.

  16. I completely agree with this article. Technology has given us the ability to bring the aspects of design and creativity to our presentations. However, we tend to use it as our “crutch” instead of as an addition. We spend so much time creating a visually appealing piece to pitch our project that we begin to overlook the fundamentals of presenting. It is so important to remember that just because we have the tools to create a great pitch it does not mean we can slack in the basics of business presenting. If we are able to follow these 7 very basic steps along in addition to a great use of technology your presentation should absolutely impress your prospective buyer.

  17. The point of having a back up plan is probably the most crucial. If you are missing your lead spokesman, which happens more than anyone would think you are at a loss for marketing your product. Also its easier to find someone else in advance and show them the information than to last minute throw someone on stage and say go speak. Its not to your benefit to be scrambling since it causes an atmosphere of nervousness and hesitation among the company, showing weakness and faults. Even if you have a great product if you show weakness in your business strategy people will not invest or buy product. A last aspect that I think is important also is that you shouldn’t play all of your cards immediately, give them enough information to want to know more and to get involved.

    • Jack Yoest

      Logan, you are right — we must always have the back-up or plan B or a fall back position. We need to be in control of events or events will control us.

      As the Methodist missionaries would say, “On a moment’s notice, we must be able to preach, pray or perish.’

      Preparation can help us look death in the eye.

      Well done,

  18. What you published made a bunch of sense. However, what about this? suppose you wrote a catchier title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however suppose you added a title that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean 7 Points for Sales Presentations is kinda vanilla. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create post headlines to grab people interested. You might add a video or a related picture or two to get people interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it could make your website a little livelier.

  19. Chelsi Marcellana

    According to this article, those who are giving sales presentations must stay humble and always act like they know exactly what they are doing. It says to “never introduce yourself” or “never say how smart you are” because you want those in the presentation to know through others. Through word of mouth, it better reflects the professionalism of the presenter. This is good advice anywhere in the workplace, especially keeping poised when things aren’t working out as expected.

  20. Mary Margaret Sheridan

    It is important to note that even with all the changes and advances in technology, the basics of making sale presentations don’t change. I think one of the most important points is timeliness. This is such a basic thing and should be common sense, but it really says a lot about someone when they are not on time. This is a sign of respect and it essential in all business situations. Another point that I think is important is to not tell your potential client how smart you are. A sales call should not be the time for you to brag about your accolades. If you are smart and qualified, it will show in the way you speak and carry yourself. These tips are pretty basic but very important to remember for sales presentations.

  21. Mahmoud Al-Attas

    I really learned a lot from this article, these 7 points for sale presentation are very interesting. What caught my attention was “ Never let ‘em see you sweat’’. In my perspective, this shows that you’re not confident about what you are saying and never under estimate your capabilities. The third point was not to brag about yourself. For instants, to keep on repeating about how smart you are. Lastly, people tend to like other people brag rather than me bragging about myself. Thank you for sharing this amazing article!!

  22. Starting a presentation on time is vital. If you are set to present information to someone or multiple people, you want to start on time without having them wait. If the presentation begins 10 minutes late, people could see that as them not being important. The third point you mentioned of not telling them how smart you are, is also key. People do not want to hear someone brag about their education unless they ask you. How you present should show them how smart you are. Let the presentation speak for itself.

  23. Sometimes it’s the simple things in a presentation that can lead to leaving the best or worst impressions when it comes to conference calls or web based sales pitches. The seven points that are made in this article are not earth shattering discoveries, but are completely necessary when you are trying to sell a product. The three points that stand out to me the most are “start the presentation on time”, “Never discuss religion and politics”, and “Don’t tell me how smart you are.” So many people refuse to adhere to these points and as a result leave a sales pitch with a bad impression and a missed sale.

  24. I think that the most important point for these sales presentations is to not let them see you sweat. You have to show the people that you are speaking to, that you’re not nervous and make it look like you’ve done it before. If you’re in front of people and talking to them they are going to listen to you. So even if you are nervous, it is very important to at least look comfortable up there. Showing that you are confident in what you’re saying. It is also very important to have confidence in yourself. I also agree a lot on the point to always start the presentation on time. It is essential not to make people wait. Even if there is something that is preventing you from doing your presentation as you planned it, you should be able to adjust your presentation on the fly.

  25. This article is very interesting and seems very accurate. I had to laugh when it was talking about not letting them see you sweat. It is surprising how many people I have seen do that while presenting. I think it is very important to be confident and believe in what you are presenting about. If you do not look confident then why should anyone be interested or believe what you are saying. As someone who hears presentations offended I think that being short and concise is also very important. You want to keep the audiences attention and in this day and age people do not concentrate very long. I agree with the religion/politics point because everyone gets there feelings hurt when talking about that kind of stuff. The only point that I disagree with is the point about not providing proof. I think that is very critical because then the client or audience has no reason to contest what you are saying.

  26. This sounds like a terrible sales pitch, they seem to have done everything wrong. My question is, at what point do we decide to forget that business people are also human and make mistakes? I understand that all of these incidents in the article are major blunders that lost them the sale. But do we, as business people, really except every person coming to us to be the perfect sales person? If the product is impressive and the price is fair, do we not buy the product if the sales person was late because they had trouble getting their child ready for school or a different real life occurrence? I think we live in a very critical society that expects a lot out of a single person. High expectations are not a bad thing, in fact they drive people to work harder and smarter. Business people should expect the best out of everyone who presents something to them. Sales people should work hard to create their best presentation. But, we also should not forget to be understanding of small human errors.

  27. I think that’s it’s very important to not solely rely on technology when giving a presentation and to always have a back up plan when all else fails. Like the article says “don’t let them see you sweat”, if the customer sees the presenter hesitating and not being able to present the product properly then the customer will feel even more hesitant about buying the product or not buy the product at all. Also, in addition to being prepared being on time is also key to having an effective presentation. As the saying goes “time is money”, so the consumer just wants to hear about the product, not waste their time waiting for the presenters to try and get the presentation in order. I think that following these basic steps presenters can have a more successful presentation and have a higher chance of selling their product.

  28. I believe the first point, starting the presentation on time, is the most valuable out of them all. First impressions are everything, and if a presentation is not started on time that is an immediate signal to the audience that the presenter is unprepared. Just off the fact that the presentation was started late could be the reason why it is a failure. An experienced presenter knows to arrive at his destination early enough to set up and get everything prepared. This way it is almost certain everything will go as planned.
    I think the second point, never let ‘em see you sweat, is another very significant point. This point also stems off of preparation. Besides for showing up the scene a couple minutes early to set up, an experienced presenter also knows to recite and practice the presentation prior to make sure he or she has it down to a science.

  29. Having someone else introduce you further establishes your credibility. I went to the career fair last week, there was a gentleman representing DMG securities, a small brokerage firm in Virginia. He kept telling me how ‘lucrative’ his business was. When I asked him how many employees worked at his firm, he replied, “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question because DMG securities is a private company.” I thought this was strange. He could tell me how lucrative the company was, but could not release any information on who he traded for or disclose any information on the people he worked with. Had another individual willing to share more knowledge about the firm introduced this gentleman, as well as disclose of this gentleman’s accomplishments, I may have a different opinion on DMG securities and this representative of DMG securities. Do not introduce yourself, and do not oversell yourself.

  30. When it comes to sales presentations, it is all about the impact that you leave with the consumer. You could have an awful product or a terrific product. However, if your sales pitch is not where it needs to be… you will most certainly not get the sale. This is something I learned first when I was working with a federal contracting firm this summer. Regardless of the solution provided for the federal governments problem.. it all came down to the proposal. It needed to be straight forward and highlight the solutions provided in a concise manner. Sales is what solidifies the success of your product. Without a good sales pitch, even the best of products will fall short in sales.

  31. I found this article to be amusing. You would think that those who are trying to sell something would perfect the little details. Anyway, the thing that stood out to me the most after reading was this. When I analysed the 7 pointers again, I realised that other than Never introduce yourself and Do as I say not as I do, it is five points that I feel, one should follow when at a job interview. Most definitely start on time – if not early. (One of my very wise professors once told me that if you’re on time then you’re late), Never let them see you sweat – show that you are confident, Don’t tell them how smart you are – Let your resume do that, you don’t want to come across as a big head, Never discuss religion or politics – You are there for a job not to share your views and beliefs, and finally never provide backup/proof unless the client is sceptical, you want them to trust you not doubt you.

  32. In some cases technology can be very helpful in giving a presentation, It can provide a slideshow with key points and graphics to draw in the customer. This all being said we can’t rely on technology as much as our generation tends to. The seven points made in this article are very big and crucial points. The one that I feel I can appreciate the most is to always start on time. Being an athlete I have learned that 10 minuets early is 5 minuets too late. It is crucial to always be 15 minuets early to something, because you never know what could come up. In terms of athletics you get there 15 minuets early to put your cleats on and mentally prepare yourself, where in the business world you need to be there 15 minuets early to prove your devotion to the task at hand, and prepare your presentation incase a slide got placed out of order due to a technological update. If something can go wrong most of the time it will so it is always important to be prepared for all circumstances and be prepared early.

  33. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s webpage link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

  34. Making a sales presentation can be a very challenging process. Presentations all start with appearance. If you look sharp, people are going to give you a chance. If you are up in front of your audience and look unprofessional, people are less likely to listen to your presentation. The next most important thing is confidence. When you sound like you know what you’re talking about, you are going to get peoples attention. Finally giving people a chance to ask questions can help you a lot. People want a chance to talk and clear up anything you said.

  35. Sales presentations have many opportunities for something to go wrong, but always being prepared and staying on your feet I believe will allow you to pull yourself out of those tough situations. Starting on time is the most important aspect of the sales presentation, it shows you value your audiences time and attention. Also being late will just lead to domino effect on your presentation, you could feel rushed, flustered and out of order which will just make your presentation that much worse. Staying calm and confident, or like you said “not letting them see you sweat” ultimately could make or ruin your presentation. Someone who appears nervous and unsure of themselves will never make a good salesman because no one will buy anything from someone who is awkward to be around. Knowing what your selling and having the confidence that you could sell it to anyone is the best attitude to go into a sales pitch with.

  36. Victoria Principato

    I really like the way this article was organized! The 7 points makes it really easy to follow and for readers to understand the main talking points. However, I do have to say some of the points made seem a bit harsh. As Claire commented above, it is important to remember that sales people are human and make mistakes. In business, being critical in making decisions is important. However, it is also important to be understanding. Overall, we must make sure we are not just criticizing people, but learning from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

  37. As an accounting major, you learn the hard way the importance of timeliness. Arriving late to accounting requires standing at the center of the classroom and apologizing to all the students and the Professors for your late arrival and ensuring it will not happen again. The Professors don’t do this to be mean, it’s quite the opposite. They are trying to teach the students from as early on as they can, that be punctual isn’t just important, but rather a necessity. Showing up late to an interview is basically immediate dismissal. If one cannot show up for a job interview on time, why would the hiring company even consider their hire? The late arrival is just a portrayal of what would be a frequent occurrence if they were hired for the company. As we all are well aware “time is of the essence.” As mentioned in the article above, although physical proof that a company is doing what it says can be reassuring, it can also be a hassle. If one didn’t doubt the company, why is it necessary to provide them with this additional information. No one wants to receive 11 pages of “proof” unless they had serious doubts and concerns. It is a waste of the company and each individual person’s time. It can also make a company seem less confident in their abilities, or perhaps even cause an audience to wonder if this information is being provided because they have been untrustworthy and doubted in the past. Nevertheless, I agree with the article, do not provide your “proof” unless you are either asked for it, or have a very doubtful audience/customer.

  38. “Technology changes, but the basics of sales presentations are timeless.”A very good point that the presenters we’re foolish to forget. Two of the seven-plus mistakes that really caught my attention were “starting the presentation on time”, and “don’t tell them how smart you are”. The first point is pretty self explanatory, don’t show up late. In sales, your first impression is pivotal, don’t blow it by showing up late. The second point is one that needs to be addressed precisely. You want to sell your product, not yourself, but you need to have the upper-hand and be in control. This can be accomplished by flexing your muscles at the potential buyer to convince him or her that you’ve established a good reputation, but you shouldn’t brag about yourself. Keep the focus on your product. Keep the basics in mind and you should have no problem delivering a decent pitch.

  39. Madalaina D'Angelo

    The 7 criteria outlined about are simplified yet entirely an effective way of evaluating a sales pitch and labeling what can prove to be a successful sales pitch and those that aren’t. Sometimes the most simple criteria can lead the to the most successful results, and demonstrated by Brand X. Presentation skills are important across a plethrora of job areas, but sales, where the producer-consumer relationship is literally crucial to business success, the criteria above should be an integral part of the promotion part of the 4 Ps of marketing.

  40. If anything, technology has made business more complicated. Trying to coordinate meetings over Skype is hard when not everyone’s a technological expert, and sifting through junk e-mails takes away from doing business. That’s why I think it’s so important to rely on the basics of business to get the job done. Having a clean, warm appearance, using correct speaking techniques when giving a sales pitch, and knowing your product inside and out are fundamental practices that enhance business – sales pitches especially. Fancy PowerPoint presentations won’t impress other business people in a technologically-advanced age where anyone can pull a PowerPoint presentation out of a hat. Going back to the basic practices that create winning sales pitches, returning to those common practices that so many business people forget about, is oftentimes the most effective way to wow during a sales presentation.

  41. When presenting a product or an idea, the presenters are bound to make a few mistakes here and there. It is okay to do this but to make all of them at the same time will most likely steer the buyer away from your sale as seen from this article. The two that stood out to me from this article that I can definitely agree with are “don’t tell me how smart you are” and “start the presentation on time.” Starting on time is really important because it shows your audience that you are taking this presentation seriously and are not wasting their time. Additionally, hyping yourself up and telling your audience how smart you are does not help your case because your audience does not want to hear about you, they want to hear about what you are marketing and how the product will benefit them. They could care less how smart you are as a person, as long as they are receiving benefits from what you have. Failing to do these two things will leave a bad impression on those you are presenting to and will most likely cost you your sale.

  42. After reading this article, I do agree that even though we are given amazing technology to work with in sales pitches the actual technology itself should be used as an accessory or icing on the cake to your sales pitch. When working with technology you should know your presentation’s ins and outs whether you are the tech guy in the back or the star of the show. It is vital to know how the technology behind the presentation works and how to use it. Furthermore, when making a pitch to a potential customer time is of the essence. I know for a fact that nothing annoys me more than wasted time. I found it also important as the seller to interest your potential consumers not in yourself but what you are selling to them. That being said I would say that I completely agree with the statement that not many people care what amazing school you went to or how smart you are…show me. Actions really do speak louder than words.

  43. After reading this article I do believe that technology can be used effectively but should not be a be all end all of a presentation. The seller should be focused on the buyer and not about themselves and about what great college they went to or how smart they are… the whole point of a presentation is to show and present how great your product is and why they should spend their money on your product. I also agree that time is of the essence. We live in a world working with many time constraints so if someone is trying to sell you something it better be on time. I also agree that it is important to keep your cool when making a presentation, if you do not believe in yourself, how will you expect someone else to.

  44. The overarching themes of this article is something that every business person should know! I believe in so many of these ‘what not to do’ ideas. First, it is important to be timely. As an accounting major, or in fact any business professional, we are expected to be on time if not early. Late is never expectable and it makes yourself and your company book bad. Secondly, I think that it is very accurate to say that you should not boast about all of your achievements. When doing so, this typically shows that someone feels insecure about themselves and wants to talk about their achievements to justify their belonging. Thirdly, politics and religion is like church and state. There is a certain line that you do not cross and when you do that again, looks poor on your part. Overall, this article is a great quick reference on what not to do when trying to sell your company or product.

  45. Technology will always be changing and evolving. But, the etiquette for presentations will remain the same. When you are presenting a good, service, or idea, you are representing yourself, your company, or your partner(s). It is your responsibility to act in the highest regard in terms of presenting your product and yourself. First impressions can leave permanent marks. If you are late for an appointment or forget an important part of the presentation, this will impact the client’s impression of you. These can be negative attributes that will affect the client’s decision whether to continue working with you or not. Before a presentation, it might help to go over your steps in professional etiquette, and what you will say, in order to get the job done effectively.

  46. I especially like the point “never let ’em see you sweat” brought up in the article. I believe this is most important because it is how potential clients see whether or not you are confident and know what you’re talking about in a business presentation. Even if you are nervous, it is important that you try your best to conceal that nervousness and fear and be in touch with your inner confidence. A way of ensuring that you reduce nervousness is by practicing your presentation over and over. Practice brings confidence and reassurance. Know the material. Know the environment. Know yourself.

  47. I agree with almost everything in this from starting a presentation on time to, salesman are an important role, but I do not agree with the fact that you have the ability to brag and talk about what college you went too. Yes, Oxford is one of the best colleges if not the best, don’t you think people will get tired of hearing that? If you are giving a presentation in a business meeting they already know you are smart because you have this certain job, there is no need to rub it in their face that you went to Oxford. Just like in this article you talked about going to Oxford in the beginning there is no need to tell me you went to it again later in the article.

  48. Two things I learned growing up were to be early and to always have a back-up plan. The saying, “if you’re not early, you’re late” has been instilled in my mind. And, as much as technology helps advance society, it seems that at the moments it is needed the most it somehow breaks down. Timeliness and preparedness are key. As you mentioned, the basics to sales never change. All other parts contributing to sales develop which often causes people to forget about the fundamentals of selling. All in all, your article encapsulates all that I know to be important in the world of business. Staying humble, being prepared and arriving on time are the keys to success in this line of business.

  49. Anthony Spadaccini

    Presenting can be a vey daunting task, many factors come into play during the pitch/presentation. There is an audience you do not know, critiquing everything you do, looking into every detail you show on the screen, and making on the fly judgments on whether to proceed to the next step or not. Companies make or break during this process. The impression you leave at the end is the biggest, did you tell them everything they need to know, did you give them all the essential information for them to take the next step, and finally did you do your job and sell the product the way it was supposed to do. All of these questions are the leading reasons on if a company were to invest/buy a product or not.

  50. A sloppy presentation poisons any potential that a product, idea or invention may have. It can take a lifetime to build a reputation in the public eye, but only a moment to destroy it. Maintaining a professional appearance and feel during a presentation by mitigating mistakes will ensure the longevity of one’s reputation. Unfortunately everyone makes mistakes at some point in their career, but practice and perseverance help overcome the difficulties. It is critical to move on as quickly as possible from one’s mistakes, while remembering to not replicate those errors in the future.

  51. A good presentation is timely, involved, and simple. Asserting a presence with confidence, using proper etiquette and timely silence to catch the audience’s attention. Technology is capable of great presentation effects, however the presenter should not veer from the topic at hand. The presentation should be able to brag for itself, so there is no need to read testimonials and waste time and time is money. To be late is a poor reflection on yourself and your company. You are not just selling the product or idea; you are selling yourself during a presentation. A company’s “why,” their mission statement, will sell the company and better help the relationship.

  52. Nicolette Crisalli

    This article really points out the importance of presentations and what to do or not do. I think one of the most important points made was to not let your audience know you’re sweating. This is important because when people are looking to buy or invest in a product, they want to be fully confident in what they are putting their money towards. They will feel much more confident in this decision if you as the presenter are confident and persuading if you instead are sweating, worried, and stuttering they are going to feel a bit worried and not as confident in their decision with the product. I think to reduce this “sweating” is easy by really knowing the product or service you’re selling, being confident about it, and then practicing the presentation over and over again.

  53. I agree with the premise that technology hasn’t automatically made business easier and simpler. At it’s core, business is built upon the ability to sell themselves and the product in an orderly, accomplished and professional manner. Technology gives a leg up for modern business people but without the ability to sell their products the new technology is worthless. I believe all of these points are paramount in the process of selling a business idea or service/good. Starting on time is the most simple building block in trying to sell your product. I, personally, can’t stand anyone who is late and I know that if I’m buying something and I’m at a trade show, walking over to another table would be the first thing on my mind if someone were late. Another great point is the “Don’t sweat it”. This, to me, brings to mind the mantra of, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it”. In total, I agree with the article, and lastly, on a more personal note, #5 gave me a good laugh.

  54. Though thinking on the spot can be difficult, it is an essential skill in the business world. Even more so, if one’s business is reliant upon how well a presentation or sales pitch goes, he or she must be quick on his or her feet. It is rare that things go as planned, and, as a result, resiliency is a paramount quality in any successful businessman or woman. I found particularly interesting the part about how Brand X contradicted itself in a way when trying to sell its own product. It is no secret that everyone fumbles through presentations at times, but more than one slip-up in the same pitch can be extremely detrimental.

  55. I completely agree that technology is not a necessity when providing a sales presentation. Even though technology has advanced immensely and plays a major role in companies, every business person still needs to know the basics. A customer is not interested in listening to the company and sales reps talk about reasons why they are a credible company, what schools they attended, etc. A customer will be able to tell how credible a company is by how they truly care about selling their product to you. Anyone who is interested in buying a product will be able to tell if that sales person is actually genuine or just going through the motions of making a sale. Customers are what make companies stay successful so it is very important to stay loyal and honest to them because that is when you will create a real relationship.

  56. The points made in this article are all very important for any type of presentation not just only a sales pitch. For everything in life it is important to ALWAYS be on time, not only it shows that you care but most importantly it gives you a head start on anything. It is important to know that everyone gets nervous, it’s a common thing but being nervous can result in forgetting your points which is why you have to be prepared for anything and know your product. Introducing yourself and telling others about how smart you are only makes you seem braggy and insecure. Having someone else introducing you makes you seem more important to the audience, most importantly if you are the CEO of the company. During the presentations one looks for small talk to look for common things between one and the audience. That said, never go for religion or politics because you don’t know the other persons opinion and could be a negative outcome for your pitch. And finally if you don’t do any of these you will portray yourself as a confident sales person and won’t seem desperate and will probably end up doing the sale.

  57. This article was very helpful regarding the information given about presentations. I want to agree that technology can definitely help someone in making a sales presentation or any presentation in general however it can also hurt the individual as well. We see this in our classrooms when students face with their back or side to the class and read directly off of the PowerPoint slide, this is not only poor presentation skills and behavior but it also shows that the speaker doesn’t necessarily understand what they are talking about. Which goes against one of the articles point to never let the audience see you sweat. As a presenter you are the expert and if you can present based on knowledge that you obtain and you can face your audience and clearly speak you will seem more knowledgeable about the topic making you more convincing and likely to sell what ever your sale presentation is on.

  58. I almost feel bad for Brand X, then again, this is their job, to sell you their product, and they utterly failed. From the beginning, the presentation seemed to be doomed. And I wholeheartedly agree with these points, one of my biggest pet peeves is when salespeople, or any one for that matter believes that where they went to school is better and above everyone else. It is very unbecoming of someone to scramble as this company did, never mind, the endless nagging of a salesman. I understand the nature of the business and how important it is to close on prospective accounts; however, one would think Brand X would be better at pitching a product that is worth 5 figures. I think that everyone should really learn from other people’s experiences such as this one and take it into their own lives and apply it.

  59. Presentations are crucial in order to make a sale, because it could make or break someone’s decision to purchase the product or service. Though technology can be helpful during presentations, I agree that the basics will determine the outcome. While presenting to a potential client or customer, being professional is key, therefore being on time is a must. If the speaker arrives late to their own presentation, it tells the client that they are not fully committed to satisfying their buying needs. Another main point that I drew from this article was to always remain confident, yet never cocky. The audience does not need to hear about how amazing the presenter is, rather they should hear about why the product or service they are purchasing is so great. However, it is important to keep confidence levels high during a presentation, because it helps the audience to trust a speaker who knows what they are talking about without seeming nervous.

  60. This article is extremely informative about the ins and outs of giving a presentation. I believe that these 7 steps are crucial in order to have an audience that is intrigued in the presenter. I think the first step about starting on time is the most important step for any presentation. If the audience is kept waiting they will grow tired and uninterested in what they are going to hear during the presentation. If one is late that throws off the entire setting for the rest of the time. I also think it is very important to not speak about religion or politics because this can throw of the dynamic. Interests like those are kept for a different time, not when you are trying to expand on an idea during a presentation. I believe this article gives great detail about how to successfully give a presentation in the workplace.

  61. A company can have an excellent product or service, and great people, but without the proper sales pitch and presentation, it may all be worthless. If your pitch does not portray your company in a way the customer finds worth their time, they are not going to buy your product or service. The presentation needs to focus on the company and what it is selling, not promoting the people that run it. Do not stress what you have done and the issues you feel are important. If they have a great product or service, half the job is done. They just have to be able to talk about it. Not what others think of it, but why you as the head of the company know it is good.

  62. I think that these seven points shouldn’t just be limited to sales people, but all professionals should display these points. No matter what field you are in, acting professional goes a long way. Being confident in who you are (not bragging), maintaining composure, and being prepared are necessary for being a successful professional. As I have learned through my many years of playing sports, people don’t pay attention to how you act when things are going well, but they will want to see how you handle yourself when things are not going well. This shows the type of person you really are and how you handle conflicts. These salesmen proved to their audience that they couldn’t handle the dilemma of being unable to locate their CEO, which showed their weakness as a company.

  63. Elizabeth Gittings

    I agree with a majority of the points discussed in this article, especially when it comes to sweating during a presentation. If a person cannot present and understand the product they are selling without confidence, then why would your customer purchase that good? If you don’t love it then how can you make someone else do so? Another issue that is common now a days with presenting that goes along with this topic to a degree is the inability to present in general in front of people. It is painful watching keynote speakers at the business school continue to fill sentences with umm. If a person is confident in their talk they will not fear the empty air when collecting a thought. I do disagree with the concept of introducing oneself. I find that there is a sense of pride in introducing yourself. But there is no reason to brag about what school you attended to or how successful you are. Less is more.

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