(Reprinted with permission from Your Virtual Insurance Nov 2 2001 –
Every day it’s getting more difficult to see prospects. Once you’re in the office, you want to
make every second count. These nine presentation tips can help you plan and execute presentations that capture
the prospect’s attention and keep it on you – at least until you can make your points and ask for the order.
Plan your contact carefully. Getting appointments with top decision makers isn’t easy,
so make every moment count. Know exactly what you want to say, how you’ll say it and what the meeting
should accomplish. Set a goal and draw up a brief plan or outline for written, phone and face-to-face
Get to the point and stay there. Stick with a single theme, and don’t force the listener
or reader to muddle through your ideas or guess at their meaning. Ask yourself what part of your letter
or presentation is going to make or break the sale, and concentrate your efforts on it.
Make sure your thoughts are crystal clear. Ask yourself questions about the message you
want to convey. Try to rephrase your main idea in various ways to clarify it and confirm that you
understand it. If necessary, reword your statements for impact. Having friends critique your performance
helps ensure that your ideas and delivery are clear.
Prepare for the next step. Include in your plan what you’d like to happen as a result of
the meeting. If you have a destination in mind, have a map to show you the way. Use a carefully constructed
plan to show your prospects the direction you’d like to take. A good plan presents you as a person of
vision – an asset to any customer.
Tailor your presentation to the prospect’s needs. Well-presented, quality products and
services won’t get the order unless they fill a need. Gather important company information that reveals
your customer’s needs and how to fill them. The more you present from the contact’s perspective, the
better your chances of leaving with a sale.
Stick to concepts. Rather than focusing on your product or service, try to get the
prospects to agree with a concept or idea. If the contact agrees that income taxes, for example, are on
the rise for high-income people, then that contact is also more likely to take an interest in ways to
reduce a potential tax obligation. Concepts that make sense make the sale.
Back off. If you act desperate for the sale, your prospects may wonder why. Pushiness,
too, can irritate a prospect and blow a sale. Look for the person’s interest and try to figure out what the
contact wants to do. Offer “action options” to gauge what selling route the prospect is most eager
to take, then adjust your plan accordingly.
Lighten up. A pompous attitude isn’t the way to win over a prospect. Don’t handicap yourself
with the fear of making a mistake or not knowing all the answers. An important sales meeting is no place
to test your acting skills, so be yourself, but be your best self. You might have a good time – and make
an important friend as well.
When you’re in the driver’s seat, follow the map. Show your prospects and customers that
you’re a competent and knowledgeable professional. Good salespeople can offer good advice, but they must
always be willing to conform to the customer’s wishes. Direct your efforts toward meeting their goals and
exceeding their ideas of good service. Help them get where they want to go instead of dragging them behind
These tips demonstrate that the best way to earn your prospects’ attention is to give them
all of yours first, before you ask for theirs.