Sales Training Article: How to Avoid Slide Decks Executives Despise

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It seems incredible to me, but when invited to make a presentation to a group of people, most salespeople get very excited, download the latest standard slide deck and think their presentations will go well. They fail to realize that an introductory presentation is actually a sales call that should have a brief company introduction, some potential issues the prospect is facing and a high level view of capabilities that may enable the issues to be addressed.

Quid pro quo (give and get) is a core concept within CustomerCentric Selling® (CCS®). When asked to do an introductory presentation to an organization, why not ask some questions:

  • What are the names and titles of people that will be in attendance? This can go a long way toward understanding what type of presentation will be made and you may be able to request titles that you feel should be at the session.
  • How much time will there be?
  • Can you interview one or more attendees in advance to better understand their desired outcomes and potential barriers?

When asked to do a presentation, it’s pretty difficult for prospects to push back a seller request to interview people within the organization and it is a pink (if not a red) flag if they are unwilling to allow you either phone calls or meetings with a few people. Assuming the interviews are given, the seller then has the ability to customize the slide deck to include:

  • A brief (a couple of slides) introduction of their company
  • A summary of the calls that were made that include:
    • Business goals or problems that were uncovered
    • A Success Story of a client that had a similar situation
  • A high level discussion that the seller believes could be relevant with capabilities to allow desired business outcomes to be achieved
  • Time for Q&A discussions
  • Wrap-up and agreement on next steps if appropriate

Executives don’t like one-on-one product pitches from sellers. Unless the seller knows something about a prospect standard, a generic slide deck is a shot in the dark. Most organizations would appreciate the time and effort to tailor presentations to their specific needs.


Take a look at the sales training workshops available to you.

Our Live Workshops are  filling up!

If you want to take the guesswork out of how to improve your sales game, we can help. Come to our next Live Workshop in Boston or Denver. You’ll get three days of in-person sales training, great food, expert hands-on coaching, and — most importantly! — a clear process for any sales situation so you can earn more money for your company and for yourself.