Why You Should Never Start a Sales Meeting with a Presentation

presentation by motivational sales speaker

Many of us, including myself, were taught to give the most persuasive pitch possible to prospects. It would look something like, “Could I have four minutes of your time to show you the three reasons that you should do business with my company?”

Inevitably, those pitches would end with prospects giving some sort of, “Gee, this looks great. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Can we reconnect sometime next month?”

Yet, as a sales person, we walk away with no idea of whether this prospect is ever going to do business with us. There is a much better way.

Beginning a meeting with a presentation is the single worst way to start a sales meeting. As a sales trainer in Boston, I always explain the two reasons why we should avoid starting with a presentation:

Many prospects are not qualified. My research as a sales strategist for thousands of sales people shows that at least 50% of the prospects that a sales person comes into initial contact with are not a good fit for one reason or another. Maybe the prospect doesn’t have the right challenges, enough money or maybe they love the person they are currently with. Whatever the reason, some prospects simply will not do business with us today, so stop assuming that they all will by pitching from the start.

We establish value through the quality of our questions. Here is an idea straight from my sales training in Boston—think about a doctor’s visit for something that is hurting you. Does the doctor begin the meeting with the solution? Of course not. She will first ask you a bunch of questions trying to identify what is really going on and ultimately figure out a solution that will best suit your challenges. A great sales person will do the same thing—ask great questions to help identify what is really going on. This will ultimately establish far greater value than just telling all the features and benefits.

This is why my sales training in Boston wants sales people to hold off on that presentation at the beginning of meetings. Rather, start meetings with a series of open-ended questions trying to understand their biggest challenges that you can then solve.

What types of questions do you ask your prospects? Please share below.

Written by Marc Wayshak, motivational sales speaker and author of the book, Game Plan Selling.

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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