Published August 2006

11.5 presentation tips
to wow your prospect

Got a BIG appointment?

Want (or need) the sale?

Sure you do — everyone wants to make the sale, especially when it’s a BIG one.

Well, here’s the good news: This column is NOT about “how to make the sale.” Rather, it contains elements of a sale that engage the prospect. It’s way more powerful than your typical, “probe, present, overcome objections, close, follow up.”

These elements go way beyond your “system” of selling. They go way beyond traditional selling. These elements are for professionals who want to build relationships — not just make a sale. These elements will make the prospect respect you. These elements will lead to partnering. These elements will make the prospect want to buy from you.

Here are the major elements about the sale that you must incorporate into your presentation:

1. Develop a belief system in your company, your product or service and yourself that’s so strong, you assume every sale before you walk in the door. This mental mindset is the single most powerful element you can possess. If belief is weak, the passion will be weak, and the prospect won’t catch your fire.

2. Do your homework the night before. Prepare ideas to help the customer produce more and profit more. Being ready with ideas that will help the prospect will breed your own self-confidence. You’ll feel “ready to win.”

3. Pre-relax. Set your own internal tone. Listen to your favorite music on the way over. Be bouncy and in high spirits.

4. Set your mind on helping them achieve their objectives — NOT selling your stuff. That will set a game plan and the agenda for the meeting at the same time.

5. Tell the prospective customer you have come with a few ideas that will help them. This immediately separates you from the others. The prospect will be engaged and listening from the beginning.

6. Make friends with the person or people you are presenting to before you begin your formalized talk. Become likeable. If they don’t like you, you have greatly reduced the probability of them buying from you. Make small talk that allows you to find something in common. It helps everyone relax, and if you’re lucky enough, or smart enough, to find a “link” (something of mutual passion), you have set the tone for a positive outcome and the beginning of a relationship — not a sales presentation. If they aren’t smiling, if they aren’t friendly at the beginning of the meeting, DIG IN. You’re not likely to make the sale without a price fight. Strictly business means strictly price.

7. Ask ONE killer question at the beginning. One that makes the prospect stop and think, consider new information and respond in terms of you. Get them to respond with their past experience or their opinion. Get them thinking. Get them involved. And earn their respect with questions.

8. Create points of value and areas of differentiation as you’re speaking. It’s like a prize fight. You have to win each round so you can win the contest. You don’t have to knock them out — you just have to get the decision.

9. Don’t “need” the sale. If it’s the end of the month, if it’s a big customer and it’s a “must” sale, it’s likely that you will telegraph this fact to your prospect if it’s on your mind. You’ll be trying too hard. Pressing and pressuring for a “now” answer. It is likely you will try to manipulate the sale so it can be completed within your quota period. There are a number of worse mistakes in sales, but I am hard pressed to think of one at this moment. By the way — the reason you’re pressing is that your pipeline of prospects and prospective customers is empty.

10. Remember all the sales you already have made. Keep your mindset on the winner that you are. But keep your focus on helping the customer win for him/herself. The more the prospect feels “they win,” the more likely they will buy. When in doubt, ask more questions. When in doubt, think long term.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. That’s why you came, remember?

11.5 While you are qualifying them, they are qualifying you. This is a secret that most salespeople never realize and are never taught. From the way you enter the room, from the way you look, from the way you treated the administrative person at the front desk, from the first words you speak, the prospect is judging you, and deciding who you are as a person. And they’re deciding if they want to do business with you or not. Not your company, not your product, not your service, they are deciding on YOU!

Well, there you have it. Hope I have helped change your sales mindset. If I did, you win. If I didn’t, your competition wins. Go for it.

If you want more information on setting your mindset to positive, I offer you this anonymous poem called “DON’T QUIT.” Go to, register if you’re a first-time user, and enter DON’T QUIT in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Red Book of Sales Answers,” is president of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer. He can be reached at 704-333-1112 or by sending e-mail to

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA