Sales Motivation Stories
The late comedian Red Skelton used to do a comedy piece in which he was supposed to report crucial data at a staff meeting. Instead of grabbing his own papers, though, he somehow grabbed his young son’s homework. The rest of the bit is Skelton trying to bluff his way through his report by giving the homework the most dramatic reading imaginable.
Maybe you’ve never had a screw-up of that enormity. Chances are good, though, that the unexpected curve ball has come sailing right at you during a sales presentation. It happens to all of us at one time or another, and we need to work swiftly to do damage control.
1. Do Your Homework
The better you know your subject matter, the less vulnerable you will be to issues like lost or forgotten speech notes, problems with the audiovisual system at the presentation site, or a boss who suddenly decides you should emphasize Point B when most of your presentation is about Point A.
2. Whenever Possible, Have a Backup Plan
It’s true that you won’t be able to prepare for every possible disaster like the end of the Mayan calendar or a meteor striking the earth. What you can do is bring extra copies of your presentation in case your client wants to share your work with his or her board of directors. It’s also a great idea to keep a few extra pens and notepads on hand. If you’re relying on an overhead projector or slides to illustrate your presentation, make hard copies for each attendee, just in case the equipment goes down.
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3. Be Flexible
Have you ever had a client that definitely wanted to meet at ten o’clock on Friday? No, make that 4:00 on Tuesday. No, scratch that plan, now it’s noon on Wednesday. These scenarios can go on forever, but I won’t bore you with any more details. Suffice it to say that if you tend to have a rigid personality, these clients can drive you insane when they really should be no more than minor annoyances. Simply get your presentation ready to go so you can deliver it at a moment’s notice and go on about the rest of your day, knowing that you’re prepared and can squeeze in Business X if they ever do make up their minds.
4. Keep a Sense of Humor
If you’re giving a sales presentation, people look to you, the leader in the room, for cues about how to react. If you turn red in the face and ball out the maintenance crew in front of the entire room, your potential customers may feel like they should be angry, too. If you laugh the matter off as if it were no big deal, your prospects will feel content and amused as well.
No matter how good you are at sales, you can expect life to drop a few surprises on your head. Being prepared and flexible and keeping your sense of humor can help keep your presentation on track and win you customers.