Posts Tagged ‘sales presentation’

How to Increase Sales with this Question Framework

Most sales people want to increase sales.  This is why open ended questions are so popular.  Yet there is a  question framework that when executed flawlessly can accomplish this professional and organizational goal.

Homework Required

However before asking this specific question, the salesperson must do his or her homework.  Knowledge about the sales lead and the organization is essential.  Possibly this is why more than three contacts are necessary to convert the sales lead into a customer.

Homework begins with gleaming information from sales conversations with the prospect.  This basic information could be annual sales, number of employees to the demographics of organization.

Then further time must be devoted to learning and understanding the psychographics behind the buying decision.  This information focuses on the motivation to buy such as a personal promotion to even more personal information such as overall temperament and attitudes.

The Framing of This Sales Question

So when the salesperson is ready to give her or his sales presentation, she or he now can insert this question between statements from past due diligence.

“From what you have shared with me, 50% of your current sales team has failed to achieve sales quotas. You have also shared your sales cycle time is six months and the average sales is (insert figure).  If you could convert 10% of that 50% to achieve sales quotes, then that impact would be (insert calculation of dollar impact).  By increasing your sales by 20%, our solution can quickly demonstrate a (insert percentage) return on investment within six months.”

By using this sales question framework, the salesperson can begin with the end in mind to increase his or her own sales results.

  • What does the sales lead want?
  • What is the impact of that want?
  • What is an acceptable time frame?
  • How can the solution generate a positive return on investment?

The If, Then Sales Question can increase sales provided it is embedded between these two statements.

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Three Sales Behaviors That Kill Deals

When meeting with a new sales lead, we as salespeople must be extremely careful about our sales behaviors.  How we interact with the potential ideal customer is the first step in building trust and demonstrating our knowledge.




Cliche Rapport Building

Your sales leads are busy people just like you.  Wasting their time with cliche rapport building questions or comments does not strengthen the trust and knowledge factors. Also in this sales behavior is using “cliches” or acronyms to suggest you are truly knowledgeable.

Rushing into the Sales Pitch

Possibly the one sales behavior that is the most obvious and still is the most committed is rushing through the marketing phrase to making the sales pitch or sales presentation.  Yesterday I saw this again when speaking to a realtor who wanted to list our home.

She did not take time to see the extra features or values our home had, but wanted to get down to her sales pitch of a competitive price.  Translation for us a much cheaper price so she could sell the home fast even though we told her we were willing to be patient and wait for the right buyer.

Her sales presentation and what she did differently was similar to all the other realtors we have had sales conversations with.  Actually earlier in the week, we did have a realtor who did not rush the sales conversation and his sales behaviors built far more trust than many of the other ones we have met.

“I’m So Busy Impression”

Another common sales behavior is to share how busy you are as a salesperson.  “I am in a hurry because I have to meet with this client or that appointment.”  Possibly you are quite busy.  Then it is imperative that when you schedule the appointment to let the person know the length of the meeting.  Rushing in and rushing out does not speak well for your sales behaviors. Buyers are more educated and I believe more cynical today.

After nearly 40 years in sales, I believe it is the small things we say and do that kill most deals rather than the big things.  The big things we notice right away and correct.  Those smaller sales behaviors slip through the cracks and go unnoticed and therein lies the barrier to increase sales.


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Goals Clarification Session Is a Great Increase Sales Strategy for Consultants

Getting a meeting with the C Suite is difficult at best. Then when you have that meeting and looking to differentiate yourself from all those other gray suits, what can you do?  Or, you are asked to make a sales presentation to the board about your proposal. In either instance, this simple increase sales strategy may help you.

sales-strategyThe premise of this goals clarification session as an increase sales strategy is to determine the real problem. In many cases when meeting with small business owners, they lack crystal clear clarity as to what the real problem is. What happens is the symptom is viewed as the problem and the real problem is never identified. Now if you as the consultant can identify the real problem, you have just dramatically increased your odds of being hired to solve the problem.

What you ask for is just 30 minutes of time where the entire executive team meets and you facilitate a goals clarification session at no charge. This provides you an incredible opportunity for simultaneously fact finding with all key departments.

Sales Strategy Explained

After everyone is seated, you distribute a sheet entitled “Goals Clarification Session” with three (3) lines. Then you ask all present to list the top three (3) goals of the organization as they perceive them to be. Also advise them with a big smile  “no sharing with your neighbors.” Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Make sure your contact information is on every handout and copyright the document where applicable.

Next on a flip chart you survey each participant and write his or her #1 goal down and proceed around the room.  Obviously the goal is to have only one (1) number one (#1) goal.  On a fresh flip chart sheet, repeat this sales strategy for the second most important goal and finally the third most important goal. Depending upon how many people are present each of the flip chart sheets may contain anywhere from 6 (six)  to 30 plus goals.

Now you can ask some simple questions:

  1. Any comments?
  2. What are these un-clarified goals costing this firm respective to day to day resources and results?
  3. If this activity was undertaken in each department, how many more goals would be added to these already listed?

Upon conclusion, the CEO just may be asking you for that next meeting to discuss what was uncovered.

This sales strategy does work and will increase sales as I have employed it on numerous occasions. The only caveat is care must be taken so that those present do not feel intimidated, insulted or just plain stupid. Your use of emotional intelligence must be very much present and can further your efforts in being the one paid to solve the problem or problems.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Is Your Sales Presentation Cram and Jam?

An effective sales presentation be it through a conversation or more formal PowerPoint can make or break  a sale. Yet so many of these sales opportunities are lost because of a cram and jam philosophy.

sales-presentationMany of us in small business have experienced the cram and jam sales presentation.  The PowerPoint slide deck is filled with “look at us” and very little about the customer. Glossy slide after glossy slide is presented.

With time being of the essence, the belief from the salesperson is “I have only one shot and I must make it a count”  so as much as possible must be crammed and jammed into every slide.  Slides with tiny fonts chocked full of words, anyone?

During the sales presentation, the potential customer may actually feel he or she is in the middle of a traffic jam with no place to go.

Consider the words of Seth Godin who stated “if you cannot share your position in eight (8) words, you don’t have a position.”

Then Dan Pink in to Sell Is Human talks about the Pixar presentation approach where in six (6) sequential sentences you tell your story (think your solution).

My recommendation is your sales presentation should be reduced to eight (8) slides:

Slide #1 -Title and including the potential customer’s name and possibly a picture of the business

Slides #2-7 – Fact finding, solution and results

Slide #8 – Call to action with contact information

Maybe now is the time to reconsider your small business sales presentation and ask yourself “if you are engaged in the cram and jam” one way ineffective conversation?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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60,000 Unique Visitors Means Nothing – Part 1

Yesterday I received a cold call from a local newspaper attempting to sell me some Internet marketing advertising. The salesperson claimed their site received 60,000 unique visitors. My sense was this statement was supposed to impress me.


The salesperson then went out to share she had conducted some research on me including viewing my website.  After I patiently listened to part of her scripted sales presentation, I asked this question:

The only way I would consider your solution is to receive three names of those individuals who are currently clients so that I could learn of their results.  Would you be wiling to share their names?”

Her response was “that’s not possible since this is a new solution we are advancing. And we get 60,000 unique visitors.” She then engaged in more scripted sales conversation. You know when that starts to happen.

Finally, I asked the following question:  “Since you indicated you did your research on me, I am sure that you noticed my name secured tens of thousands of hits from a plethora of different websites.  So why would I pay for advertising space on your site, when I am receiving considerable traffic  for free?”

Had this salesperson actually done her homework beyond looking up this website, she would not have started the conversation with 60,000 unique visitors.  She made the mistake that the value of 60,000 unique visitors meant something to me and for me it had very little value. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The third sales buying rule is  “Value is unique to each buyer.”

In the next two parts to this three part story, I will share two significant knowledge gaps that probably can be attributed to the sales script and this firm’s overall cold calling process.


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Travel Light to Your Next Sales Presentation

One of the biggest best sales practices gleamed from the minority of businesses (those with more than 500 employees) is to come prepared to each sales presentation with glossy brochures,  PowerPoint presentations and even maybe case studies.  Yet for many of those same large firms and especially for the majority of firms with under 100 employees, this best sales practice may be your greatest obstacle to achieving your goal to increase sales.


The travel heavy sales and marketing practice originates from the product or sales based marketing approach. Today’s buyers are far more receptive to education based marketing. Your potential clients (prospects) have probably already done their research through social media sites such as LinkedIn or Slideshare to visiting your website. In fact they may have already downloaded your PDF online brochure. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Most often than not you will be asked to send your marketing material via electronic format so your potential buyer may disperse to others within the company,

Depending upon where you are in the sales process will determine how light you may travel. If this is a first time, initial meeting, this may be your only time to truly differentiate yourself from all those other sales people (gray suits) who travel heavy with all that product based marketing stuff.

Also when you are not burdened with this best marketing practice, it frees you up to authentically engage with your potential customer because you cannot fallback on the presentation. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Having a commanding presence begins with thoroughly understanding your client, the industry and your solutions.

Possibly the most dangerous aspect of traveling heavy with all the marketing stuff to your next sales presentation is this one word Ego.  Those brochures and PowerPoint presentations may be broadcasting more about you and your ego than you realize. All engagements with potential customers, prospects or buyers must be about them not you or your stuff (products and services).

By traveling light allows you to focus on the buyer, actively listen to what he or she is sharing and not worry about when “I should pull out the sales presentation.” 

And shouldn’t this be the ultimate goal in any sales presentation,

focusing on the buyer and not on you?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Are Your Sales Presentations About You or About Your Customer?

Today in a mastermind group, I listened to one of the members discuss her particular frustration regarding sales presentations and delivering her solution.  Given in her industry, usually there is only one decision maker and hence she is not actually engaged in a complex sales process, she then must work with other employees to deliver the solution. And therein lies her problem.


Another mastermind group member suggested providing only two alternatives with her sales presentations instead of three.  Her rebuttal was “I like odd numbers, 3 or 5, but I prefer 3.”

When I challenged her on her statement, she told me a variation of the all too common “My industry is different.” She failed to recognize she was focusing her sales presentations on what she wanted and not necessarily what the customer wanted or needed.

Additionally, what she was describing is “scope creep” not a complex sales process.  This happens within many solutions and is the fault of the salesperson or small business owner for not writing a sound proposal or statement of work. For scope creep drains not only time, but profits as time is money.

How many sales presentations are truly about

the seller and not the buyer?

The seller uses his or her past experience, company experience and then infuses some of his or her fact finding into the new sales presentation.  This behavior may save time and provide a safety net for the salesperson as this is his or her comfort zone.  Unless one is selling mattresses, I am not sure comfort is the desired reaction I want about my solution?


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A Sales Fundamental – Bowled Over By Enthusiasm by Robert Terson

“You never can be too enthusiastic” is a sales fundamental. Conversely, not being enthusiastic enough will cost you more sales than anything else. You can have all those other  fundamentals covered—strong mental attitude, excellent work habits, salesmanship second to none—but if you can’t crank up some genuine enthusiasm for what you’re asking your prospect to spend his hard-earned money on, you’re the equivalent of a baseball pitcher without a fastball. You’re going to get smashed to smithereens. Harry F. Banks said, “A salesman minus enthusiasm is just a clerk.”

A sales presentation is a form of theater; a salesperson is like an actor putting on a performance for his audience. If he can’t get excited about his product or service, the performance is a flop—the prospect will walk out before the second act is over. A prospect buys on emotion far more than logic or reason, and if a salesperson isn’t excited, the prospect won’t be either; and if the prospect isn’t excited—ho hum—he isn’t going to buy.

I’ve seen sales made on enthusiasm alone, the prospect so bowled over by the salesperson’s pure raw energy that he was lifted into outer space before he knew what was happening. I’m not talking about a phony televangelist staging a gyrating revival à la Elmer Gantry; I’m talking about a dignified master salesperson who’s so enthusiastic he practically lifts you off the ground—you feel like you’re participating in a magic show, but just can’t comprehend how he’s doing it.

You want to be a master salesperson?

Get excited!

And don’t worry about being too excited; there is no such thing.

About Guest Blogger
Robert Terson has been a sales professional and entrepreneur his entire adult life. He retired from his advertising company, after 38 years of being in business, in January 2010 to begin a second career as a writer and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of He invites you to contact him at that site or email him at Robert at  His book–Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson–is coming out in October, 2012.
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Sales Presentation Is For Confirmation Not Fact Finding

In the sales process, sales presentations are part of earning the commitment to sign on the dotted line. Yet I believe a lot of salespersons confuse the purpose of a sales presentation with fact finding and thus fail to increase sales. This may happen because the potential customer or prospect was not truly qualified (shared within the marketing and selling phases of the sales process) or because there was poor fact finding (selling phase only of the sales process).

The reason I make this observation is I received one of those quick sales quizzes from a noted sales guru who essentially asked about the purpose of the sales presentation.  I personally did not like any of the responses because all of them should have been uncovered during the fact finding step. However, I choose one just to see if I was correct or incorrect.  The correct answer was about motivation.

Motivation is part of the qualifying criteria – urgency.  How quick will they be to take action specific to your solution?  Also when you have built a relationship with the potential customer, you should be having a better idea as to what motivates her or him to make this decision.  Not everyone relates to saving dollars even though price may be brought up as an obstacle.


Granted during a sales presentation, reading body language is important and helps for you to understand what trips the buying triggers (think mousetraps) especially if there are others at that sales presentation meeting beyond your direct contacts.

The sales presentation is the icing on the cake. If you have not presented your case well, have failed to uncover all known and unknown needs, do not have a solid relationship with the decision maker, lack understanding as to how the sales decision is made, then no presentation will save you from losing the commitment.  What happens is you become one of the many in the sales presentation or proposal writing business instead one of the few who actually increase sales.

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