The most successful sales presentations always do this one thing

What is it that the prospect most wants to hear during a sales presentation?

I once watched a sales person deliver a presentation extolling his company’s state of the art production facility. He talked about their cutting edge equipment, technology and resources. Unfortunately, none of this was what the prospect wanted to hear. And yet, so often this is exactly the kind of presentation a prospect will receive. A presentation focused on capabilities and what the sales person’s company can do.

But research tells us (Snyder 2007) that the most effective presentations will always do this one thing instead – solve problems. This is the key to a successful sales presentation.

Presentation coach and author Dr. Andrew Abela has written “if you are trying to persuade your audience to take action – if you are trying to sell your ideas” then “focus on solving your audience’s problem.”

What makes this presentation strategy so effective? First, if your content is all about solving the prospect’s problems then your content will always be completely relevant to them. Next, if your content is all about solving their problems you are proving the value of your solution to the prospect (and you’re proving it in a way that separates you from all the sales people who are talking about their capabilities).

If the sales person in the example I gave above had a better grasp of the prospect’s issues and had made a connection between how his capabilities could improve the prospect’s situation, with lower cost and higher margin or shorter time to market or a competitive advantage over the rest of the industry he would then have had a winning presentation. But the connection between his capabilities and solving the prospect’s problems was never made.

If you’re telling the prospect how you will solve their problems then you will always be telling them exactly what they want to hear.


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