Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sales Presentations That Suck

Did you ever have to sit through a presentation? By default, the definition probably means 45-90 minutes and just feel bad for the speaker?

Ever leave early? Probably not if you were in an office setting. But IT people have had a macro button for years to cause their pager, phone, or whatever to go off, so they have an excuse to leave.

Not so easy to do in a sales presentation.

In the past, I rarely used slides for presentations unless asked/forced to do so. Why? Because on any given day, I may be off, or the executive in front of me may be rushed for time, and I never wanted to be one of those salespeople that asked for more time because they had more slides.

When I was presenting to some military brass on a road map that our sales team asked me to handle, after 1 slide, ONE SLIDE, it was clear the leader was not going to go for it.

So I stopped. In mid-sentence to turn around and ask, what is important to you? He told me, and we had an hour and a half of serious discussion. No telling, just sharing of information.

Don't suck. Pay attention to your listeners and attendees. Doing a webinar? Ensure the chat room is open and watched by someone else who can let you know when people are dropping off or showing their boredom. You know it when you see it if the conversation has little to do with your product or solution.

We all go to conferences, and some have better speakers than others. But if you pay for an event, you deserve to voice your opinion. What about when you are not really paying for the conference? Does your free pass get you to be bribed to talk nicely? Do you drop out of the conference because it turns you off?

Large conferences still have many other sessions, and no doubt you can find the better sessions.

The meeting in your office, much harder. Do you throw out the sales rep? What if it is your own employee? Hopefully, you will be helping them to understand a better way.

Reverting to your social media "out" is the easy way out.

Stand up and make your case because you will help others get better because otherwise, you are just as responsible for the failure by NOT saying anything.


  1. Keith -

    Your approach is right on. Understanding your audience will always trump the prettiest slides! Always glad to see another crusader for improving the world of business presentations!


  2. Thank you Kelly. Lots to improve but it is a long process to teach every sales person as you know.