3 ways your sales presentation will grab attention

“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.” ― Chip Heath, Made to Stick  


In his book “Made to Stick,” Chip Heath tells us the best way to grab the attention of your audience is to do something different or “break a pattern.” What this means for sales professionals is that if we don’t want the prospect texting during our talk we have to have a powerful opening to our sales presentation.

Here’s how most sales presentations begin – “Good morning, thanks so much for your time, we really appreciate it. As you know I’m with ABC company and we’ve been in business for 22 years…” and the prospect reaches for their smart phone to check emails or get the latest headlines.

3 ways your sales presentation will grab attention

To grab attention at the beginning of your sales presentation “break the pattern”

So how do we “break a pattern” and open the sales presentation in a way that will grab the attention of the audience? There are a number of techniques, and I’ll mention three, but before we talk about those let’s first cover an important point regarding presentation structure, which is don’t introduce yourself until after you have grabbed their attention.

Before you tell the prospect who you are, or better yet what your company’s value proposition is, you had better grab their attention.

Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that:

 A story (or real life example) is probably the most powerful tool a speaker can utilize. I like to open my sales presentations by telling my prospects, who are corporate print buyers, about a survey that was conducted with, of course, corporate print buyers and how that survey revealed a strong desire for process improvement and solutions. This, as you would expect, ties into my value proposition. Or, you could tell a story about a client who was once in the same situation as this prospect and how you significantly improved their process or reduced cost, etc. 

Another effective method is a statistic, deliver to the audience a surprising number or fact and explain how this statistic relates to their business. Maybe it’s a cost within their current process that they are not aware of or maybe it’s an inefficiency that your product or service will address.   

A final suggestion would be a quote. A quotation from a well known or credible person can make a tremendous impact on the prospect. You might be able to use a quote from the COO of your largest customer praising the work that you’ve done in your prospect’s very area of concern. Or, create a slide with an image of Jack Welch with his words “Change, before you have to” if you are attempting to drive the prospect toward your system upgrade.

Any of these techniques is superior to opening your sales presentation with banal pleasantries. Instead do something different, “break a pattern” and grab their attention at the top of your sales presentation.


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