Yogi Berra and the Sales Presentation

What did Yogi know about preparing for the sales presentation?

Yankee Great Yogi Berra

I was coaching a small group on sales presentation and reviewing the agenda for the session with them when one young lady, referring to public speaking, announced “I can’t do this.” Soon after, as I walked them through the process of designing a sales presentation she reminded us all once again “I can’t do this.”

She was consistently reinforcing in her own mind the belief that she was unable to get up in front of a group and speak.  Regarding baseball, Yogi Berra once said “half of this game is 90% mental.” If by that Yogi meant that the vast majority of your success is determined by your frame of mind (and my guess is that’s what he meant) then the same can be said for public speaking.

Countless philosophers and motivational speakers have taught that the things you continually repeat to yourself will have an impact on your ability to perform. Everyone from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Tony Robbins has written about the importance of controlling our thoughts because our thoughts can, in and of themselves, determine our success or failure.

The young lady stood up to deliver her sales presention and started off well. She opened with a story that was very engaging and that had the attention of the audience. After a minute or so she lost her train of thought, paused for just a moment and then said – “I can’t do this” – and sat down.

In a moment of struggle when she could have simply paused a bit longer and collected her thoughts or referred to her notes she instead decided to quit. Her effort collapsed because her brain reminded her of the phrase she had repeated to herself so many times – “I can’t do this.”

There are many elements to a good sales presentation but as Yogi would say at least half of it is 90% mental.

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