Is presentation a sales person’s #1 fear?

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld

How often do you deliver a formal sales presentation?

I interacted recently with a sales team that included six sales representatives. Of the six, only one gave formal presentations on a regular basis. The other five sales people said they really didn’t need to deliver formal presentations. They always found themselves in “conversational” sales situations. 

What makes this odd, of course, is that all six of these sales representatives are selling the same service to similar clients. Yet only one finds himself in situations where it makes sense to deliver a formal sales presentation while the rest are always interacting in conversation.

Is presentation your #1 fear?

Is presentation your #1 fear?

Why the radically different experiences for sales people who work for the same company?

 Actually, I don’t think this is all that rare a situation. While the stereotype of the sales person as a slick talker who can’t wait to get up in front of a group is still prevalent, I don’t think it meshes with reality. In my experience most sales representatives dread public speaking just as much as the general population. And most likely if a sales person never finds themself in a situation where they are delivering a formal stand up presentation it is because they are, consciously or subconsciously, avoiding the situation. 

There are exceptions of course, if you’re selling cars you’ll likely never have to deliver a formal presentation (although we are always presenting, even in our conversations).  But for most sales professionals I do believe the formal sales presentation is something they work hard to avoid. Better instead to have your manager do it, or simply sit at the conference room table with the prospect and have a conversation. 

Overcoming the fear of public speaking is important for all professionals but this is especially true for sales professionals becasue for sales people a strong sales presentation is a competitive edge.

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