Tag: Sales

6 Key Components to Building a Winning Sales Team

About the Author As Director of Sales Operations at SmartDraw, Steve Peterson helps our customers use SmartDraw to communicate more effectively with visuals. At home, he spends most of his free time entertaining his 4 year old daughter. A Minnesota native, he is an avid sports fan, rooting for his Alma mater, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Building the foundation of a winning sales team isn’t something that can be broken down into a few simple steps. It’s a collection of many different ideas and components that when put together, creates a culture of teamwork and success. While this list isn’t exhaustive, here are a few tips that have served me well in building a winning sales teams.



It’s called a hiring process because it is one. It’s a process and it needs to be well defined and followed. Hiring the wrong person costs time, money and it’s emotionally exhausting. Get others involved and invite people outside of the sales department to participate in the interview process. Ramping up in sales is mission critical for new hires. Develop a detailed on-boarding program and make sure your new hire is ready to sell the day training is complete. Train new hires on both sales processes and product knowledge.  Role-play is something that has helped not only prepare new hires for the job, but it has also exposed new hires that needed additional training or were likely to fail. Despite how well you do in your hiring process, you will still find some that don’t make it out of training.


A key component to a positive sales culture is understanding how the sales team and the individual align with the company’s strategic objectives. Spend time discussing company strategy with every sales person, then break it down so each one can see how they contribute to the overall company vision. Sometimes a company changes course, so make sure to communicate that so everyone is on board with the changes.


Top performers usually follow a very strict sales process. Understand what that is, then document it so everyone can be trained on it. This serves as the road map to guide your sales force on every deal. The objective is to focus on moving the prospect through your process one step at a time. Having a detailed sales process is essential to achieving team quota. Just like all processes, a sales process can always be improved. Review and improve your process with the help of your team.


Get the team involved in every aspect of the sales department. Understand why you are winning deals and why you are losing them. Share that information internally so others understand how to position your product in similar situations. Work on sales process improvement as a team. Set up quarterly meetings to review sales processes and brainstorm ideas to improve them. Develop compensation plans together. They are the sellers, find out what motivates them, then develop a compensation plan that will incentivize them to sell the products needed to achieve quota.


Sales can be a grind. Every month or every year your past accomplishments are forgotten and you have to start over again. To keep spirits up, get the team together outside of the office to socialize. Whether that’s a monthly happy hour, bowling, or even volunteering together, I think you will find the team is happier and more productive when you can let off steam outside of the office.


Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. Go beyond annual awards ceremonies and start recognizing top contributors every week or month. Say thank you every time someone exceeds expectations. That doesn’t always have to be a big sale. It could be a nice comment from a customer, or when someone on the team helps another close a deal. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in making your team feel appreciated and part of the overall success of the company.

Drive User Adoption: 10 Tactics to Get Your Team to Use CRM

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Organizations investment in technology to provide their employees with resources that will increase productivity, optimize business efficiencies and manage risk. Having a clearly defined approach to user adoption will impact how quickly your end users accept and utilize the change, maximizing returns on the investment. This post will dive into the key tactics and considerations in driving user adoption.   Keeping in mind that these tactics can easily be implemented with proper communication and planning.

It is important to note that CRM user adoption is built upon three key elements: People, Process, and Technology.



Participation in the design of a company’s CRM provides your end users with opportunities for growth, leadership, ownership, and buy-in.  There are a number of roles with varying time commitments and levels of expertise.


By establishing a CRM Governing Board, you are setting up your organization for success.  Membership of the governing board can be based on a combination of nominations and volunteers.  The types of decisions often made my a CRM Governing Board include but are not limited to: the release and timing of new features and functionality, establishing measurements of success, defining required and dependent fields, as well as determining reports and dashboards across teams and territories.

CRM Governing Board1


Avoid putting your end users through point & click “how to” training. End users’ knowledge of the CRM system will be limited to knowing how to do something opposed to when to do something.  The best approach is to train your end users based upon true “Day in the Life” scenarios.  Leverage the results and experience of Rep Rides, User Acceptance Testing, and established business processes to design a curriculum based on their individual roles and responsibilities.  The scenarios should take them from through the entire sales cycle as well as their day-to-day activities.  To learn more about CRM best practices, read Maintain Data Integrity: 6 Tips Every CRM User Should Know.



Action speak louder and words.  There are a number of ways in which management teams can lead by example.

  • Managers should actively participate and attend the training classes with their respective teams
  • Volunteer to conduct the opening remarks of your team’s CRM training to set the stage and expectations
  • Conduct performance reviews utilizing data gathered from CRM reports and dashboards
  • Run your daily & weekly reports in CRM, stop asking for updates from your team
  • Maintain and delegate tasks to members of your team using CRM


Don’t pay people if the sales opportunity or customer isn’t in CRM, or if it’s not filled out to pre-defined standards. You’ll be amazed at how quickly opportunities move into CRM.


Just like in the business world, you’ll never get anywhere without a few worthwhile achievable goals.  Don’t set the goals for your team, but present goal ideas and work collaboratively with them to decide what’s reasonable and what will help motivate them to use CRM on a consistent basis.  By establishing 30, 60, 90 milestone dates, you are providing targets for which your team can work towards.



What’s easy for IT, may not necessarily be easy for the end users. Utilize the results of the User Acceptance Testing to design CRM to meet the end users’ business processes and workflow.

Stop trying to track everything. The easier CRM is to use, the more people will use it. Get rid of the clutter, by hiding things people don’t use:

  • Hide or remove unused data fields
  • Use easy to understand names for custom fields
  • Hide unused Tabs and irrelevant Reports & Dashboards
  • Create drop-down menus or pick lists to save time in data entry
  • Only make fields required if they are tied to a key Report or Dashboard
  • Announce & train end users before turning on any new features & functionality


Customize the Views, Reports, and Dashboards based on the needs of the individual’s role.  By configuring CRM to a specific user interface you’ll exclude anything irrelevant and distracting.  Thus, clearing the way for your end user to see the value of CRM.


Once end users have been CRM trained, they should no longer have access to the legacy system.  If not, they can easily regress back into using the legacy system never realizing the potential of your new CRM system.  All relevant information stored in the legacy system should either already be migrated over to CRM or be configured to display the information in CRM.

Depending on the size of your CRM end user community and training resources, you will most likely use either a (a) Big Bang Approach (small to mid-market companies) or a (b) Phased Approach (global organizations).

phased launch2


CRM user adoption is a continuous cycle.  As your end users and your business evolve, so will your CRM system. Keep in mind that it’s best to have your team learn to walk before they can run.  As your end users become more proficient and CRM savvy you can begin to turn on more advances features and functionality.

Maintain Data Integrity: 6 Tips Every CRM User Should Know


From my days as a member of the End User Education Division at Siebel Systems to providing Change Management and User Adoption Strategy as a Platinum Partner of Salesforce.com, I have discovered a number of proven best practices. Here are some of the basics that every CRM user should know.


Whether you’re creating a New Lead or Contact, you’ll want to search before creating the record to avoid duplicates.  Although this may sound simple like a simply task, it is one that is often overlooked.

  • If you search by First Name, you may not find who you’re looking for.  For example: If someone’s name is William they could have been entered by you or a colleague into your CRM as William, Will, Willie, Willy, Bill, or Billy.
  • If you search by Last Name, you may find that the individual shares a last name with several of your other Leads or Contacts.
CRM Tip: Search using the individual’s email address.  Email addresses are a unique identifier.


We may not always have the luxury of meeting our Leads or Contacts in person and receiving a business card.  With that in mind, you may need to resort to their email signature. Regardless, it’s always best to go with the individual’s official information.  If you create a Lead or Contact, enter their official name.  Refrain from using nicknames.  Remember that the data in CRM is shared throughout your organization.  For example, your CRM may be set up to automatically generate shipping labels.

  • If you entered their nickname, the name may not be recognize by the Customer’s receiving department and an order may be lost or delayed.
  • If you’re aware of a nickname and there is no Nickname field, enter it into the Notes or Description fields as a way to continue building rapport.
  • If you have a Role field, you may want to also document the Contact’s Role in relations to closing the Opportunity.  Roles may include a combination of any of the following: Executive Sponsor, Champion, Decision-Maker, Buyer, Influencer, or Gatekeeper.
CRM Tip: If you’re consistent in using their official name, it will be easier when you or any member of your team is searching for the Contact.


If your CRM instance doesn’t already allow you to document salutation, I would recommend requesting that your CRM System Administrator add it.  Greetings are one of the basic functions of communication and triggers positive conversations and relationships.  This is especially true when working with other countries.  Using the proper salutation, is often seen as a sign of respect.  Respect goes a long way.

CRM Tip:  Salutations can also help in properly addressing an individual.  With a nickname like “RJ,” I on occasion have been mistakenly addressed as a Mr. opposed to a Mrs.


In life, a child is unable to exist without a parent.  The same is true within CRM.  In order to create a New Contact or Child Record, an Account or Parent Record must first exist.  By building these relationships, you as the CRM User can begin to visualize a true picture of your Customers.  Know that any information gathered at a Child level, rolls up to the Parent level giving you a true sense of the Account and all its touch-points.

Hierarchy View1This hierarchical relationship introduces the opportunity to define rules for data integrity.  For example, an Opportunity has no meaning if it is not associated with a Contact.  CRM systems require that an Opportunity record be related to a Contact.  Yet, creating an Activity such as a task can be meaningful whether it is associated to another record or not.  It is optional and can always be retroactively associated to an existing Account, Contact, or Opportunity record.

Account Hierarchy  In CRM, you can link multiple offices of a company together by using the Parent Account field on an Account Record. If you sell into different locations or divisions of a company and you’re currently challenged by how to keep this information organized, use Account hierarchies to solve your problem.

CRM Tip: When you create a New Account, use their official company name.  If this best practice is shared throughout your team or your organization you help maintain data integrity.  For example if a User were to create a New Account for SmartDraw there are number of ways it may be entered into CRM: Smartdraw, SmartDraw, SmartDraw Software, and SmartDraw Software, LLC.  There are a number of ways to confirm the name: SmartDraw website, LinkedIn, Hoovers, or ZoomInfo to name a few. 

Account Heirarchy

Contact Hierarchy  Depending on the various roles within your Customer’s organization, you may choose to document the levels of influence among your Contacts.  For example, if  your Primary Contact has an Administrative Assistant with whom you will interacting with you can document their reporting structure.  Overtime, as more and more Contact relationships are built within CRM you will be able to view an organization chart of your Customer thus enabling you to leverage existing relationships.

CRM Tip:  CRM is all about building relationships and rapport with your Customers.  It’s a best practice to document not only business but personal information about your Contact such as hobbies, interests, education, nuances, communication preferences, etc. This type of information will assist you and your organization as you continue to grow your business.
Contact Heirarchy1


Whether you’re importing a CSV file or entering a New Lead or Contact record, it is important to ensure that proper punctuation is used.  It’s important to note that how the information is entered will be inherited by any other records that are automatically created.  For example, when a Qualified Lead is Converted the system may convert that Lead into a New Account, New Contact, and a New Opportunity.

  • If you enter a record in ALL CAPS, it’s Child Records will inherit the ALL CAPS.  This will prove unprofessional if any marketing efforts such an campaigns or mass mailings are sent from your CRM since improper punctuation will be used when addressing your Lead or Contact.
  • The same is true if you enter a record in all lower case, its Child Records will inherit the all lower case.
CRM Tip: Take a moment to check your punctuation before you Save.


An opportunity naming convention is essentially a formula to be used to name your opportunities. By establishing a naming convention, you will be able to search and sort your opportunities with ease and manage your pipeline more efficiently.

Sample Naming Convention Formula:  <<Company Name – Main Product>>  Example: Acme Factory – ACE 4400 Global Selector

  • There are times when you may be away from the office and a colleague may need to assist your Customer.   If you enter Opportunity name using a Contact’s name, your manager or sales associate may not be aware of the name and may not be able to find the Opportunity in a timely fashion. This may cause undo stress for your Customer which may lead to the loss of the sale.
  • If you enter opportunity names inconsistently, you limit your ability to search, sort, created custom views and run Reports.  For example, if you wanted to created create a Custom View or List for all of your Opportunities that include ACE 4400 Global Selector with a 70% probability to close  – you can.  The Probability to Close field is often a required or dependent field so as a User you can depend on using it as part of your search criteria.  As the User, its your prerogative as to how to name your Opportunities.
CRM Tip:   Views are dynamic, whereas Reports are static.  Think of a Report as a snapshot or photo of the information.  In regards to working in CRM on a daily basis, it is best to create your own Custom Views.  In turn, it allows you to view the information that you want to see when you want to see it.  For example, you may choose to create a View that displays all of your Opportunities based on each of your Sales Stages or Probability to Close.

5 Steps to Make Your Next Presentation or Sales Pitch Perfect

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For more than 15 years, I have become a trusted adviser and educator working with mid-market to global organizations providing sales training, change management, as well as user adoption strategy services. In that time, I have successfully conducted countless presentations and sales pitches to audiences as small as a single decision maker to conducting in-person classroom training to as many as 450 sales associates in a single day.  If I were to simplify the basis of my work, I would contribute much of it to the ADDIE Model.

How did you start your last presentation or sales pitch?  Did you jump straight into creating a slide deck?  How long did it take?  This approach is quite common and often results in a death by PowerPoint experience for your audience.

In this week’s post, I’ll share with you how I used the ADDIE model in the design of a recent class I taught as a guest lecturer at the University of California San Diego.  This 5 step approach is the key to perfecting your next presentation or sales pitch.

The ADDIE Model

Initially developed for the U.S. Army by Florida State University in 1975, the ADDIE Model is a well-known instructional system design (ISD) model that is traditionally used by educators and instructional designers.  The five phase method – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation- represent a set of dynamic guidelines that can be applied in a number of ways.  ADDIE can be used for developing a single presentation, designing an entire training course, to effectively tracking the progress of a project such as the deployment of training program.


SmartDraw Tip: To create this diagram, I leveraged an existing template.  In the Left Panel, navigate to the Marketing Charts Category.  Select the Interrelationship Diagrams Sub-Category.  Click the Interrelationship Diagram-1. Modify the diagram as you see fit.

ANALYZE the Audience

During the analysis or discovery phase, the goal is to gather information to make your presentation or pitch relevant to your audience.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the measurements of success?
  • What are the goals and objectives of the presentation or pitch?
  • What are the desired outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behavior?

The amount of information gathered during this phase may vary.  When the professor from UC San Diego and I were coordinating the lecture, our schedules posed a challenge.  As result, we resorted to a series of phone calls and emails.  In an effort to gather as much information as possible, I shared the mind map below with the professor.

Guest Lecture Planning Mtg1

SmartDraw Tip:  To modify the color scheme or theme, you have the option to manually apply different fill colors or apply a theme to the entire diagram.  To apply a pre-existing theme, navigate to the Home Ribbon.  Select the appropriate option in the Theme drop-down menu.  The theme will automatically apply to the diagram.

As the Director of Learning & Organizational Development, I oversee our Professional Services division.  In my role, I will conduct what is referred to as a Discovery Meeting as part of our End User Education and Adoption program.  Essentially, this meeting is intended to complete the Analysis phase.  I will send the below mind map in advance to allow the client time to prepare as well as level set expectations for the meeting.  In addition, I will also brand the mind map to the client’s corporate colors as demonstrated the branding of the mind map above.


DESIGN Your Selling Points

The design phase encourages you to specify your selling points or learning objectives – depending on the type of presentation you’re designing.  The focus of my lecture was to demonstrate how technology can enhance patient care on an individual level.  Patients can have a positive impact on their health through the use of everyday tools such as my smart phone.  To learn more, go to Diabetes Control: Lower Your A1C in 90 Days.

Here is one of the planning diagrams I used not only the design my lecture but as a deliverable for the students immediately following the class.

TechnologyandPatient Care

SmarDraw Tip: To create this diagram, I leveraged an existing template.  In the Left Panel, navigate to the Marketing Charts Category.  In the Circle Spoke Diagrams Sub-Category, select Spoke Diagram (7-piece).  To insert a photo opposed to text, select one of the circles.  In the Insert Ribbon, select Picture. In the Add Picture dialogue box, click Replace Text.  Browse to select the appropriate picture, click Open.  To position the picture, simply double click on the picture and a menu will enable you to make changes as needed.

DEVELOP Your Diagrams & Content

Once you’ve completed the first two phases of Analysis and Design, the development of your presentation comes naturally.  Here is a traditional formula that can be used to create any presentation or pitch.

Presentation Formula

Since the university’s classroom computer did not have SmartDraw installed, my plans of conducting my presentation directly from SmartDraw were modified.  Instead, I simply exported my diagrams into a PowerPoint presentation.  Here is the outline of my lecture that I also printed out and used as my lecture notes.

Lecture Outline_Speaking Points1

SmartDraw Tip: Since I was unable to present my diagrams directly from SmartDraw, I simply exported them to PowerPoint following the mind map above.  Select the appropriate diagram.  In the Presentation Ribbon, you have the option to customize the diagram’s sequencing or animation by using the Sequence drop-down menu.  Prior to exporting the diagram you have the option to include the animation in the PowerPoint.  If you would rather not, simply de-select the Include Animation check box.  Click the To PowerPoint control and the diagram will appear at the end of the deck.  


During the implementation phase, the plan is put into action.  Throughout your presentation or pitch, it’s inevitable that you will gather further insight into the needs of your audience.  No matter how much you prepare, you will not be able to anticipate every one of your audience’s needs.  Yet, as a best practice its good idea to provide some type of deliverable or take-away.

When you’re conducting a PRESENTATION, provide items such as:

  • Reference materials such as a user guide
  • Job aides such as tip sheets for quick reference
  • Access to the actual presentation deck and other visual aides
  • Your contact information

When you’re conducting a SALES PITCH, provide items such as:

  • Information matrix outlining the various types of products or levels of service
  • Synopsis of the selling points outlined in the presentation
  • Details for next steps and action items for both parties
  • Your contact information

EVALUATE and Learn From the Experience

The evaluation phase consists of two parts: formative and summative.  The formative evaluation takes places at each stage of the ADDIE process.  It is noted in the model diagram as “revise.”  The summative evaluation can be formalized by issuing an evaluation form. Yet, a more informal and common approach is through the reaction or verbal feedback provided by the attendees.

When I taught the class at UC San Diego, it was evident that the students were new to SmartDraw and were anxious to learn more about its features and functionality.  As a follow up to my lecture, I provided my deck as well as a number of resources (see below) to the attendees.

Recommended Sequence of Viewing the Resources Provided

How to Get Started1

Website Highlights: Online Resources of Medical Related Diagram Templates Click to download Website Highlights.  Note: The pdf includes live links to the actual resources for your convenience.

SmartDraw Website Highlights_UCSD

SmartDraw Quick Reference Guide Click to download Two-Page Quick Reference Guide.

QRG tipsheetsSoftware Highlights: Medical Related Diagram Categories & Sub-Categories  This mind map outlines all of the templates related to the medical field.  In addition, I included a “SmartDraw Element Hierarchy” to explain the parent-child relationship among the categories to further their understanding as to how the system is organized.

Software Highlights_UCSD

The New Manager Toolkit

Okay, it’s your first day as a new manager or executive and you are ready to prove yourself to your team, your office and to the world. Are you ready? Are you equipped for the job? What’s the plan?

[Click the Harsh Vinyl Record Needle Scratch Button Below]

If you thought that divine revelation was somehow going to intercede on the first day on the job, then I apologize for the abrupt awakening from your dreamy state and recommend you begin to take steps to determine how you as a new manager will function, operate and lead.

Such an elevation in role and responsibility, from employee to leader, can be exciting yet overwhelming. Perhaps managing a team is new to you, along with many other things, such as handling larger-scale projects, increased travel and delivering presentations. Making a smooth transition into your management role is easier when you equip yourself with the right tools. The resources below will help any rookie plan and manage like a skilled veteran.

The New Manager Toolkithttps://www.pexels.com/photo/conference-meeting-room-chairs-table-28756/

Like so many things in business, there are countless resources and tools that exist. These are simply the ones that are popular among our customers and associates. By no means is this list exhaustive and we encourage you to identify the tools that work best for you and your particular situation. And, we would welcome to hear from you regarding our tools and resources we have listed or about the ones that you have found helpful that ARE NOT listed.

As a side note, neither SmartDraw nor any of us who work here are compensated by any of these companies.

Leadership, Management & Team Training

logo-ftrDale Carnegie Training – One of the longest running and most successful personal development training centers. Managers, new and old, need learn and refine their skills. Dale Carnegie Training courses, webinars and resources span various areas from Leadership Development, Sales Effectiveness and Customer Service among others.

vistage logoVistage – A CEO and executive networking group, but also an information hub of valuable leadership and management thought leadership via their events, resources and blog. Network with leaders across an array of industries and learn from business professionals like you and the challenges they face every day.

Forums and Communities

slideshare-logo (1)SlideShare – An online community providing professionals to discover, share and present various corporate materials including PowerPoint presentations, videos, white papers, case studies, reports, collateral, infographics, documents and more.

manager-tools-iphoneManagerTools.com – An online community full of management tools, podcasts as well as live conferences, workshops and events for educational and networking purposes. There is also a plethora of workbooks and resources for managers looking to hire team members as well as for those managers looking to augment their interview skills and tips to expand the breadth of their resume should they be looking for a different management opportunity.

harvard-business-reviewHarvard Business Review – Business content from a world renowned brand name University like Harvard simply screams “valuable.” And the best part, one does not have to be affiliated to the University to be a subscriber.

amex_open_forumAmex Open Forum – Need a community that has a wealth of financial content? Well, this is the one for you. In this interactive forum, explore strategies ranging from pricing, financial growth to accounting and bookkeeping essentials.

 Mobile Apps

Expensify logoExpensify – This simple and easy-to-use app allows you the ability to track purchases in real-time, pool your electronic receipts, scan your paper receipts and create a comprehensive expense report in PDF while on the go. After all, who wants to take the time to do this manually once you are back from the trip?

camcard-logoCamCard – The data entry after an event or trade show use to always seem to take more time than the actual attendance of it. Now, just snap a picture of a newly acquired business card and sync it to your address book in seconds. A few dollars spent on this app will keep you focused on increasing your business network rather than spending hours in data entry.


ScannerPro – For professionals that are still working in a paper environment but wish to still keep it to a minimum – this app is perfect for you. You can scan documents from your phone, create PDFs, adjust image settings among more so you can keep filing space free, and accessibility nearby.


EvernoteLargeEvernote – Whether you are on the road or not, this free app is great for ensuring you quickly capture your latest random business idea either by voice, picture or text.

Laws & Regulations

legalzoom logoLegalZoom – Most of us have heard of LegalZoom by now, but if not, it’s the one stop-shop for those that are in need of basic legal forms that can be done for a considerably lower cost than hiring an attorney. It’s still good business practice to have a business attorney review any contract before you sign it, but LegalZoom can save you money in basic document preparation.


sba logoSmall Business Administration – Whether you work for a small business or not, the SBA has an array of helpful resources available and is a tremendous information hub regarding administration, regulation and governmental requirements, assistance and legislation.

Project Management, Presentations & Reports

SmartDraw-boxshotSmartDraw – For managers that need an agile system to handle process management, project management, team organization, Lean, PowerPoint presentations, meetings and reports, SmartDraw is the tool for you. Leverage the power of 70 different types of visuals, charts and diagrams like flowcharts, Gantt charts, mind maps, Kanban boards, org charts and more. SmartDraw’s automated easy-to-use diagrams will save you time and money on your all of your projects and presentations – big or small.

That’s our list. We know you will find all of these suggestions helpful to you as you embark in your newest management role.

Have some suggestions? What essentials would you add to this toolkit?

Why I’m Not Buying Your Sales Presentation, Bob

https://static.pexels.com/photos/288477/pexels-photo-288477.jpeg8 Simple Rules for a Sales Presentation That Won’t Suck

Bob has a thing to sell that I want (or need) to buy. Bob’s suit is clean and he smells good. Bob knows every sales trick in the book. But I’m not buying from Bob because his sales presentation… how do I put this mildly… well, it sucks.

Here are seven… no, make it eight simple rules Bob needs to follow in order to move me to action with his sales presentation.

  1. Don’t suck.

Seriously, Bob! Do. Not. Suck. I can’t over stress this, which is why it’s Rule No. 1. The most important part of this rule is to be real. Be yourself, not some slick sales dude you think you need to be. If, at any time during your sales presentation you feel you’re losing me, refer to this rule. Being yourself… being real… never sucks.

2.    Don’t bore me.

Come on, Bob. Don’t start your sales presentation with a history of your company, a who’s who of who bought your thing or how long you’ve been selling it. I don’t care. That’s boring and boring sucks. You need to focus on the thing that interests me… (hint: that would be me). Tell me how your thing will make me richer, thinner, healthier, happier, or whatever. If you can do that, I’m all yours.

3.    Be original.

I’m not sure why so many sales people do the same boring, slick sales dude shtick. Don’t do that, Bob. Tell me something I don’t know about how the thing you’re selling will make my life better once I have it.

4.    Don’t talk down to me.

I get it, Bob. You know everything there is to know about the thing you’re selling, which is great. But I don’t care if you’re Einstein selling me relativity. Don’t make me feel dumb. I do that well enough on my own. I want you to help solve my problem and make me feel good about my decision. Making me feel stupid sucks. (See Rule No. 1.)

5.    Be interesting.

Turn your pitch into a story about how you and I and the thing you’re selling are going to team up to defeat our common opponent. Tell the story in a personal way that I can relate to.

6.    Use visual aids to bring your story to life.

Seriously, Bob. A PowerPoint with bullet points that you read to me? C’mon, Man! Rule No. 1 violation! You can do better. Stir my emotions. Good visuals are easy to make. Give me some relevant, but simple stats that give your story credibility. Make some cool charts or graphs or infographics. Whatever you do, don’t show me that bullet-point slideshow again or I might have to kick you in the shins on my way out the door.

7.    Don’t forget the call to action.

After getting me to this point in your sales presentation, Bob, don’t forgot the most important thing: a clear call to action. Make it easy for me to say “yes” and painless to complete the buying process.  

Final rule: Have fun.

I’m more likely to buy from someone who truly enjoys what they do and who makes the buying process enjoyable for both of us. Do these things, Bob, and you’ll never have to worry about violating Rule No. 1.