Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards

Practice Management > Building Your Business

Sales 101: Don’t tick ‘em off

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Last week, a colleague told me how she had gone on a drive-along with a sales rep who was meeting a new prospect. The rep asked some good questions at the outset of the meeting and gained some valuable insight about what was important to the prospect (namely, profit margins).

However, after this initial good start, the rep fired up his PowerPoint program and walked through a canned presentation focused on his company. The presentation even included a slide showing their plant in Sweden! (The prospect is a locally owned business with one location.) Not once did the rep address profit margins in his presentation.

Walking into an initial discovery meeting with a prepared slide deck is killing your sales, and here’s why: It prevents you from discussing what is really important to your prospect, his unique situation. Yet, so many salespeople feel compelled to deliver a 25-slide presentation about their companies.

I worked with a client recently, who adamantly stated, “The most important slide in our deck is the one that shows our global client list.” Regardless of how much I tried to convince him otherwise, he refused to see that this information was essentially irrelevant to his prospects.

Want to improve your sales results? Leave the fancy PowerPoint show in your car. Instead, have a conversation. Ask your prospect questions about her business, her goals and her challenges. Then talk about potential solutions. When you have that worked out, schedule a follow-up meeting. Present your best solution and save your slide deck for that meeting. (But even then, make sure those slides refer directly to the solution, not the marketing hype about your company.)

Droning on and on about your company will only make your prospect impatient for your solution—not a great start to a relationship. So get to the meat during your meetings, and show how you can help improve his unique situation.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.