Sandler Training: You Should Hate Doing Sales Presentations

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You Should Hate Doing Sales Presentations

When I first entered into sales, untrained and hungry, I loved doing presentations. They were fun to put together and I gave killer performances. I actually believed that when I gave presentations, I was doing my job and the time was well spent. Of course I was completely fooling myself because I was 100% commission and only three out ten presentations actually paid for my performance. I have since learned to hate doing presentations and only do them if I am almost completely certain I will get the order when the presentation is done. My current close rate is over 80%. Therefore, I want you to hate doing presentations because I believe your close rate will increase dramatically as a result. Warning, this is not for wimpy salespeople…

First, let’s do a little exercise. On a sheet of paper, build an inventory of activities, materials needed, and resources required to pull off a presentation to a prospect. Now, sum up the number of hours used, multiply that by your hourly rate, and add the hard costs of printing, marketing materials, plane tickets and other expenses. The sum total represents how much each presentation costs you and your business. This is good information to know so you can better appreciate that presentations are not free. When I was in commercial HVAC sales, simple presentations took about two to four hours to prepare and the more complex presentations took multiple days and lots of resources. My cost would vary between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. This expense drags on the margin of a business if you are only closing three out of ten. Are you starting to hate presentations yet?

Now, I would like you to think about how much time, effort, and money you have invested into yourself to become the industry expert that you are. Your prospects know that you are the expert in your field and that you contain knowledge that will help the prospect’s business. They very much want your knowledge, your proposal, your pricing because if the prospect can get it, the prospect has power. For some reason, in sales, this valuable knowledge is given away to prospects for free almost all the time. In fact, from the previous paragraph it actually costs the salesperson money to give away their intellectual property for free. Next time you go to a movie, tell the person in the ticket booth that you will pay for the movie on the way out but only if you like it. What do you think your response will be? And they make a lot less money than you. Are you starting to hate presentations yet?

Yes, I do presentations. But when I agree to present a solution to a prospect, I am certain that what I am really doing is going in to pick up the purchase order. Before I agree to a presentation, the prospect has revealed to me his/her genuine, emotional need for the service I provide. The prospect has demonstrated that he/she has the ability to pay for the service. The prospect has proven to me that he/she can make a decision, yes or no, in regards to my service. If the prospect fails to reveal, demonstrate, prove their qualification to me, the sale is over, I close the file, and I leave without giving a presentation. When these three elements of qualification are effectively vetted, you will be amazed at how much the prospect will be leaning in to your solution. So much so that you will know that when they see it, they will buy it! In fact, I have had prospects close themselves during the qualification process, without even seeing a presentation! So, I have a rule. The best presentation you will ever give is the one the prospect never sees.

Presentations take time. Presentations cost money. If you give a presentation that does not result in an order, then all you have done is give away valuable knowledge to your prospect for free. To me, this makes no sense. If you do present, then at least agree that if the prospect likes what you present, they will agree to buy it. So, are you starting to hate presentations yet?

by Karl Schaphorst, President

402-403-4334 |

Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies.  For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at  You can also follow his blog at

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