The Little-Known Secret to the Best Sales Presentations

Anne Miller is the author of four books and a leading sales presentation coach, seminar leader, and strategist who works with clients in technology, finance, media, and professional services. We recently spoke with Anne to hear her thoughts on how to make sales presentations more effective and relatable.

Tell us a little bit about your background. Why are you so passionate about sales presentations?

An ex-English teacher, I wandered through jobs on Wall Street and in advertising until I found my dream career in sales and presentation training, speaking, and consulting. I see so many good people give bad presentations, and I get great pleasure in helping them to succeed in this most visible and business critical skill set.

Since you wrote a book called Metaphorically Speaking, could you tell us why metaphors are so vital in sales presentations?

Metaphors solve three current sales challenges: they keep attention; help distinguish services, firms, and ideas in a world of similar offerings; and are the easiest and fastest way to change thinking.

Name one way that a salesperson can tweak his or her presentation to make it more persuasive.

Create a memorable, instantly understood, compelling metaphor.

If a salesperson feels that he or she has lost the attention of the person or audience during a sales presentation, what strategies might he or she employ to regain that attention?

  1. Change the energy from passive to active. Get them involved. Ask a question or for feedback.
  2. Do a reality check that this is what is of primary interest to them, and then respond accordingly.

When doing a sales presentation on video that will be posted permanently on a website, what should the salesperson do differently than he or she would during a live person-to-person presentation?

One difference is that the presentation needs to be sufficiently generic for the video for people from many firms to identify with it versus being very specific in person.

To what extent do the concepts involved in delivering an effective sales presentation also apply to a salesperson who is searching for leads or prospects?

Both the presenter and the prospector need to be very clear on their objectives of what they are doing.

How do you see the sales process evolving in the near future? What will companies have to do to succeed in their sales efforts?

In high dollar sales, companies have to ensure that their reliance on technology does not eclipse their focus on the human factor. Selling, persuading, and influencing are human activities which need that human touch. The best companies will hire brilliantly but train relentlessly, not just on the latest software, but also on communication, listening, reading people, and creative thinking.

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