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Sales Presentations, with Terri Sjodin [Episode 796]

Terri Sjodin is the founder of Sjodin Communications and author of a new research report titled, The State of Sales Presentations 2020. She joins me today for a conversation about the common sales presentation mistakes professionals make in today’s market. As Terri and I get into, the world changed, just a little bit, even after she had finished this research. However, the net effect is that the relevance and importance of many of the recommendations that Terri makes for sellers have been amplified by the pandemic.

We’ll talk about the 9 common mistakes that sales presenters have made forever and the 3 new common mistakes (Hint: they’re largely driven by over-reliance on technology and a failure to connect with the audience on a human level). Finally, we’ll dive into a really interesting finding in her research. That the amount of product training a seller receives is direct proportion to the number of presentation mistakes they make. There’s a very good reason for that. Be sure to check that part out.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Terri, welcome to the show.

Terri Sjodin: Thank you, Andy, for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Andy Paul: Pleasure to have you here. So where are you sheltering in place?

Terri Sjodin: Sheltering in place from beautiful Newport Beach, California. I’m a SoCal girl.

Andy Paul: Yeah, Newport beach. Very nice. Very nice. Yeah, you, you spent some time in San Diego.

Terri Sjodin: I did. I ‘m a San Diego State University speech communication grad, go Aztecs for all the alum out there! So very fortunate to grow up in Southern California. I went there because they had one of the top speech and debate teams in the country. So it was a great program, great school and loved, loved being part curriculum.

Andy Paul: that.

Yeah, I’m in Manhattan, so it’s sort of dense pack, but the streets are eerily empty. What are things like an orange County?

Terri Sjodin: Yeah. So my office is located on Balbo Island, which is, you know, in kind of like a little sub area of Newport Beach and they literally shut down the Island. So it was barricaded unless you were a resident or had an opportunity letter they gave you as an essential business to show up. And so, you know, you kind of park and it was just so quiet.

So with spring break and this beautiful weather that we’ve been having, normally it would be jam packed with people and it’s like a ghost town. So it’s a little eerie.

Andy Paul: Yeah, it is. So, yeah, I know we’re, we’re taking steps. I know here in New York and in California to step by step. So yeah, hopefully before too long, we, we can be back to somewhat, whatever normal is going to be next. Not sure what that is, but I’m, we’ll back to something like that.

Terri Sjodin: I know we’re all doing exactly what you and I are doing. Right. Which is just trying to stay connected and keep things moving forward in spite of this kind of shelter in place experience. And it’s crazy. It’s like the Twilight Zone.

Andy Paul: well, I mean, and be safe when we go out. I think that’s, that’s, you know, my wife has a lot of colleagues who are physicians on the front line here in New York, and she asked one who works in the ICU with COVID patients or what’s the, what could she could do for her. And she said, you know, just make sure no one else comes to the hospital.

So wear the masks be careful. That’s what doctors, nurses wants. They want no more patients coming in if we can help them with that. Perfect. So-

Terri Sjodin: Absolutely.

Andy Paul: Yeah. So you’ve, you’ve written the reports actually it’s called the State of Sales Presentation 2020, sort of an update. It seems like a little bit of something that you had done a number of years ago.

It’s interesting because sales presentation is now taking on a different meaning to some degree here in the environment. We’re working more remotely. I mean, suddenly if you’re accustomed to being in front of the customer, you could see the body language, you could see their faces in a way, you know, making that presentation. You had that immediate feedback, you know, we’re entering an era where you start to have less of that, for sure. But a two point report and so on, is that still some of the mistakes and common mistakes people make and making presentations still still exist regardless of the medium.

Terri Sjodin: Absolutely, I think all things are evolving. So ultimately exploring what makes a winning presentation is a passionate yeah and a mandate for all of us that Sjodin Communications as we kind of consult sales organizations on how to expand to their reach while adapting to an ever changing marketplace.

And so, well, one of our evolutionary steps was to kind of revisit a research study that I did. Oh my gosh. Believe it or not almost 20 years ago. So. I launched a national study to ask this question, “Are the original nine mistakes that we identified in back in the early 2000s, are those nine biggest sales presentation mistakes still happening? And if so, why? And if not, why not? Were there mistakes that had fallen off the list? Were there new things that were added and what could we learn? What could we gain from that reflection?”

And so it started out as a small pilot study and then it grew to a formal research project I did in combination with a PhD and the Head of the Communications Department at San Diego State University.

And how we gathered the data, what made it so much more significant, is that I really made a commitment to this theory of no research about us without us. So I only garnered the data from business and sales professionals whose livelihood is dependent on their ability to build and deliver a persuasive presentation that generates results.

And we carved out this data from people who either sell a product or a service or a cause. And it was also cross-generational. So the data that we pulled over this 18 month period was not only, I think, incredibly relevant, but just super fascinating because we had so many different dynamics that we were able to look at.

Andy Paul: Yeah. And, and of that though, and it seemed like, as I looked at the numbers, this is roughly two thirds to three quarters of the people that responded were frequently making in person presentations.

Terri Sjodin: So we asked to, the questions. Do you make your presentations over the telephone? In person one-on-one, in small groups or large groups? So we kind of did a wider swath. The essence or the through line was always based on is your intention to be persuasive, to ask somebody, to make a decision as a result of your message versus somebody who is maybe just doing like an informational call or an informational presentation. So it was really focused on what is their intention.

Andy Paul: Yeah. So the, the, the presentations, to your point, were more about later in the sales cycle, as opposed to Hey today on a Saas company, can we get you signed up for a demo and use that as sort of a qualification tool. Here we’re talking more about perhaps a bake-off presentation, final  meeting, where decisions will be made as a

Terri Sjodin: result of it.

Great question, by the way. So some of the people that we work with, do not have long sales cycles, some had shorter sales cycles. So we did take that into consideration. I know. Is it a one or two call opportunity? Is it a consistent, where you’re just kind of touching back on an existing client base? And then some of the people came from, you know, my responsibility is to generate new business; and then of course I have to maintain business and then I’m also doing a deeper dive. So it really was quite varied. We have over 2,500 participants representing kind of a larger swath, but always just in this specific vein, which is how it relates to the art form, if you will, or your presentation portion, of the presentation.

Andy Paul: Right. And so these, these responses you gathered, these were all self-reported by the respondents themselves.

Terri Sjodin: Right. So wouldn’t I know the question was like, look, if I asked you in the course of your incredible career, Andy, you know, if you ever lost a big deal or a win or an opportunity, and you had to self reflect, what do you think the things were that you feel like costs you that opportunity? And so ultimately what people surface were the things that we can all learn from each other. And so I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I just drafted this report, so that we could learn with each other and from each other what’s some of the best practices are, and, you know, ultimately through that tesearch sharing process, then we as an industry, all benefit and we can be humble enough when we say, yeah, I’ve done that, right. Like, Oh my gosh, I’ve done that. So I think there’s, that’s fun.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I thought, speaking of humility, one of the, you know, through lines perhaps of this was when you look at the summary of responses and so on, was that, yeah, I may be bad, but I’m not as bad as you are.

Terri Sjodin: No, that was one of the things like, okay. So on average of the overall list, people typically self-reported making three mistakes. Of this kind of overall list. and I think that when we shared the results back, whether it was internally within a company or when we gave the complete overall report, you know, people said, yeah, you know, that was one of that when we’ve talked about the top three are the biggest three, people say, yeah, I do that, or, Oh my gosh, I only did three, a lot of people out there check the boxes of like nine. And then I think the bigger responses were when our VPs of sales or that the people who are in leadership, said that I just can’t believe our salespeople confess these things to you. I said, well, they confessed it because it was anonymous, but more importantly, because I think they knew that if they were being honest and other people were being honest and that we’d get real data. And then that’s how we fix things. I mean, that’s-

Andy Paul: Yeah, well, but my point was, this is, cause this was reported in your report. Is that. The response has always felt that someone was doing worse than they were, no matter how bad they were, the other people were doing worse. And I thought that’s sort of an interesting reflection of sales psychology.

Terri Sjodin: I think as we kind of get into some of those things, you’re going to go, Oh my gosh, that’s funny. I mean, there’s just some really funny things. So for example, one of the issues that we asked was not only to have people self report, but just from an observation perspective, if salespeople were asked, what mistakes do you see other salespeople making?

And the number one mistake that most sales professionals said that they saw in other sales professionals was that their presentations were boring, boring, boring. Which we cannot go. Oh yeah. We’ve all sat through a hideously, boring sales presentation, and yet boring, boring, boring, didn’t even come up on the top three of the self reported mistakes.

So I think it’s hilarious that people go, other people are boring, but I’m incredibly informative. Like, it’s just like, there’s just all these funny moments.

Andy Paul: Yeah. As, as, since these are self-reported responses, it’s like, that’s that, it’s just a really unique window into perspective of salespeople’s perspective on things because yeah, I’m maybe not good, but everybody else has worse or yeah, my, my stuff’s not boring. They’re boring. I’m not boring. and it’s, I bring it up because you know, this is one of the things that’s this intellectual humility that salespeople really need to have. And too often is lacking in order to say, look, I can get better, but if they think that everybody else is boring, but they’re not it’s chances are, yeah, we probably all have that tendency perhaps to be less informative than we think.

Terri Sjodin: Sure and if you look at it from a scientific standpoint, like, like let’s just look at the data and not to pick on anyone, beause that was really never my intention, but I was very curious, like, why is there this disconnect? And what we ultimately found was that with all of the sales training and development that is out there with all of the different processes, over 60% of the study participants reported receiving little to no presentation skills training over the course of their careers. Not Just in that company that they’re with over the course of their careers.

So when we dug a little deeper, we found, yes there’s a great deal of, of training that’s provided either in product knowledge or industry knowledge, but very little in terms of focusing on the art form to deliver that content in a way that does create connection and helps you to get it, get the message across efficiently and effectively. And then also of course, to create those winning opportunities for both the presenter and the listener. So there was a lot of really, I think, just meaty, helpful data that crosses over a generation, product service or cost in, in lots of different ways. So yeah. Let me know what you want to dig into and I’ll be happy to share some of the nuggets.

Andy Paul: Well, we will. So, so it’s a sort of overlaps with. You know, very renewed emphasis over the last handful of years about storytelling and, and, you know, you can sort of see storytelling sort of woven into some of the, some of the mistakes, but not explicitly called out. So what’s missing there? Why, why isn’t this ability to tell a story, one of the mistakes.

Terri Sjodin: So when you look at how to craft a logical persuasive presentation, there are three benchmarks that we always consider. The first benchmark is what is your case. Now you have to remember, my background is in speech and debate. So I’m always looking at an overall presentation through this lens of case, creativity and delivery.

So when you’re looking at someone’s case points, they’re talking points, you’re saying, what is it you’re trying to prove or say, what is the evidence to support that? Like, what is the evidence, what are the numbers? Where’s the logical analytics to support what it is that you’re driving. The second component is your craft, your creativity. That that is where the storytelling would live. Storytelling lives under the house of creativity. It’s how you then take some of that, those case points, those arguments, that data, the evidence that lives in case, and you bring it to life under that house of creativity. It’s in creativity. We’re not just trying to tell a story.

The story has to have meaning how many of us have been to a cocktail party or somebody is telling the story and you’re like, where are they going with this? So how do we make that story have direct meaning that’s tied to the science or evidence of our keys points. And then the third piece of that, which does kind of tie in, but it’s also separated out, is that element of delivery? No. Are you speaking in your own authentic voice and are you a great storyteller? That has a lot to do with, everything from your visual aides to where you drop in your anecdotes, your humor, your drama, your colloquialisms, your personality. That all lives in the house of delivery.

So, totally agree that storytelling is a piece of it, but if we’re looking at the overall structure of what makes a dynamic and persuasive presentation, it’s really a very small piece of a bigger puzzle, which is tied to that case. Again, creativity and delivery.

Andy Paul: Well, the number one mistake that you have on your list is winging it. So getting back to this point about storytelling and so on is lack of preparation is going to kill your chances of having a successful presentation.

Terri Sjodin: Right. So, and with, for sales professionals, for those of us who make our living in sales, you know, you have to do the best that you can with the amount of time that you’ve been, you know, you’ve been given. So sometimes we have a lot of prep time. And sometimes we’re just presenting on the fly. So what I love about my kind of my background in training speech and debate is debate is really about soundbites, soundbite, soundbite, soundbites, like how do you craft the logical persuasive message in the shortest, pure shortest period of time?

So we use a framework that if you imagine. It can be expanded or contracted based on how much time you have to share that message. So think of it like an accordion, right? So if I’m, how many of us have got into a meeting and we thought we had 30 minutes to deliver a presentation or have a meeting. And then the decision maker says, Oh my gosh, I’ve got a lot on my plate. Can we do this in about 15 minutes? And so using a more flexible structure. Gives you that capability to still hit all those salient and important talking points, but to contract the message and still hit those talking points, still storytellers, still pivots, still convert in a shorter period of time. And I, I think that’s when it gets fun. But again, you have to know, you have to know. So all of the basics before we get into this place of pivoting your messaging to adapt to time and circumstances and let alone. Now, when we’re trying to pivot to video platforms and video technology,

Andy Paul: We’ll go back to the role of the presentation itself, because there’s some difference of opinion about how important the sort of final sales presentations are, or even how relevant they are. I mean, I know my experience was as you know, fewer and fewer companies are finding themselves in that situation where they have to do sort of this final bake-off. In my experience in when I was selling, yeah, we had to do it all the time, but is it still as relevant? And really what’s the objective at that point? I mean, you talk about a logical persuasive, but as it, how persuasive do you really need to be? I mean, if I sometimes find, and this is a mistake, I see people make us, they’re giving these presentations and they’re introducing new information, which should have been covered earlier in the selling process, which then creates a whole nother set of issues that need to be dealt with. But it’s in your opinion, what’s, what’s really the purpose of that.

Terri Sjodin: Such a great question. And the answer is. That depends. It depends on where you are. Right. So if I’m, if I’m a CEO and I’m launching an IPO on Wall Street, I might get a total of seven minutes all-in to make a presentation. Right. So you’re doing the best you can to know as much as you can before you walk in the door, but then you’re doing this like seven minutes, you’re doing a Q and a, and you’re out because the next person’s on your tail. Right. So, yeah. That would be a presentation scenario where you better have a pretty tight presentation. You are not sitting down doing an exploratory Q and a at that point, it’s not a conversation. The conversation comes after, but on the flip side-

Andy Paul: the sales environment, though. You know, product service, whatever. I find that increasingly see sort of these early stage demos slash presentations people make, which I said earlier sort of are qualifying tools.

Terri Sjodin: Yeah. That’s and again, that’s a demo scenario, but for example, I’ll give you, I can give you like five, five or six different examples. Just depends on where you are, but, let’s pretend, let’s go, we’ll do one of each we’ve got case. I’m sorry, we’ve got a product or a service or a cause. Depending where you are and what your company does. For example, if I’m selling a product and I am a, I am a vendor for a large, designing, tool system or a product like everything from, drapery to wall coverings to floor coverings. And I’m going to have an opportunity to present to multiple interior designers. There’s 20 humans in the room. I might get 20 minutes to make an overall general presentation. And my conversion at the end of that talk is to then go have the opportunity to meet with each of those individuals, one on one to do a deeper dive. So that’s more of an introduction of who you are, how you can be of service. Why do they need to meet with you and creating a sense of urgency for that next appointment time?

And the objective, of course, is that you’re not going to, you’re not going to score a touchdown on every play, but your goal is to advance the ball. So that would be presentation opportunity, number one. Another opportunity would be, for example, if I’m a lending professional, I’m in title, I sell termite services, whatever it is that facilitates, let’s say, a real estate transaction.

I might be invited to speak for seven minutes at the weekly sales meeting of a group of realtors. So again, what are you going to do in that five to seven minutes in a room full of realtors to have them then follow up with you, to meet with you to do a deeper dive on your mortgage banking needs, on your title needs, on your termite needs.

And then on philanthropy, let’s say I am a trustee for Olive Crest and we are trying to garner fundraising opportunities or partnerships from corporations and associations locally. I might get. 15 minutes. Might get 15 minutes with a decision maker to tell them who Olie Crest is, what we do, how we can be of service and why I need from them  some time, talent or treasure to help, to be of service to the people in our philanthropic organization.

So I look at the persuasive presentation as a, a very small, very tight part of that introductory process that inspires people to want to have a deeper conversation so that then you can go into those other pieces of the process as one option and then of course, there’s multiple presentations along the way. But all of those are just so highly dependent on verbal communication skills and, and we’re not spending a ton of time in this art form to really, do an elegant, beautiful, conversation, starting dialogue that intrigues people and helps them to want to hear more.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I think one of the, the key points from the report for me at least, was to the point you just made, is that what you call a presentation, or you’re saying the mistakes made within presentations are really mistakes that get made just in conversations in sales, in our basic sales interactions, it could be on a one on one presentation or conversation, or it could be, Hey, a one to many, but, you know, winging it being too informative versus persuasive Go down the list of nine, they all apply equally as well in just this one on one thing that we were having with a buyer.

Terri Sjodin: Absolutely agreed. Couldn’t agree with you more. To your point exactly, the misnomer about or public speaking or presentation skills is that people think it means you’re speaking to a large group. The size of the audience is irrelevant. The most significant presentations typically take place one-on-one or small group, but does that mean that your verbal communication skills are any less significant? No.

And we think, Oh, I’ve been speaking since I was two. It’s not a big deal, but just like anything you have to practice to find the right words to, to finesse your languaging, to, to beautifully tell a story in the context of your message, you know, that it’s all dependent on verbal communication skills presenting and that communication aspect that we think, Oh gosh, I’ve been doing this since I was two. I don’t have to practice. But this is how the study results just identify what the pain points look like when you don’t really practice. I guess it’s really, to your point.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Or you don’t learn from your experience. I mean, this is you talk about somebody being boring, boring, boring. How many times, many times do you need to be boring before you begin to understand that, “Hey, I’m not converting any of these. We’re not closing any deals off these opportunities that are making these presentations or having these interactions. Hmm. Why is that?”

Terri Sjodin: Yeah. And one of those painful aha moments can come from a simple practice session. You know, it doesn’t even take that much technology anymore, you can bust out your iPhone, your cell phone, whatever, and just do a role play with your spouse while you’re sitting at home at secure at home status and just have your spouse or significant other, even your kids listen to you, do a role play and then just listen to the playback.

And, you know, sometimes I think people just go, “Oh my gosh, I just didn’t really think about what that sounds like to someone else.”

Andy Paul: Well, in some cases, yeah, I find useful is write it down, right? I mean, it’s go ahead and script it initially. Right? You don’t say you’re not going to read from a script, but when you write down, you force yourself to say, okay, do I have a story? Do I have a through line, a logic line that flows here, that even make sense?

And this is why, because things always come out differently when you’re trying to explain it, versus when you say, okay, to write it down, I have to have my logic lined up and in place. And this falls under, obviously on winging it as is, if you don’t go to that level of preparation, think about how many opportunities do you have to actually have this type of interaction with a buyer or a group of buyers. And if he’s invested all this time and effort to get that lined up and then you go in without preparation.

Terri Sjodin: It happens all the time or, or misusing. When we talk about misusing the a lot of time, it makes me think of that Winston Churchill quote. So he says, look, if you want me to speak for two minutes, It’s going to take me three weeks of preparation. If you want me to speak for 30 minutes, it’ll take me a week, me a week to prepare.

But if you want me to speak for an hour, I’m ready right now. Because it’s really easy to speak for an hour. Well, what’s really hard is to craft a clear, concise and compelling message that you’re communicating in a shorter period of time. And that goes back to what you’re saying. You’ve got to practice.

You have to think about your word selection and think about how that lands in the mind of a listener. It’s all about, making the best use of the time that you’ve been allotted. And that’s, that’s a little bit more about art and finesse than it is about that kind of like strategic science piece. Let alone in trying to add in technology. I mean, it’s like a total monster.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. You can obviously get distracted timewise with, with the technology and you and I talked about this before as is, yeah, when I first started selling sort of at the Dawn of the computer age to some degree, we never got a demonstration done hardly without a technical failure. I mean, it became great training, right?

As you brought a customer in that traveled half an hour, an hour to get to your office, and you got the computer set up and you’ve got your sales engineer there with you to help operate the demonstration. And then yeah, you know, reliability just, wasn’t very good in those days. And you had to learn how to sell around that. Even though you practice it ad infinitum the night before invariably something, something would go wrong. Less so these days, which is great, but, it still happens. So that’s why another reason why you want to practice, if there is a technical aspect and you’re practicing your application or demonstrate your application or whatever it is. Yeah. You got to make sure it works. You gotta try it out.

Terri Sjodin: I make this reference when I’m working with clients, especially as they’re converting, more and more now, from, you know, kind of like that in-person opportunity to those virtual remote opportunities. And, you know, it’s all over the board, for those of us who are in the selling professionals, some people are like the Flintstones and then other people are like the Jetsons, right.

So we have, and then there’s everybody in between. And you might be super savvy. Like you might have the George Jetson killer presentation where you’re incorporating video and slides and polls and all kinds of integrated activities. But on the other end, that person’s fighting for bandwidth because their kids are doing homework and their husband is working in the other room and they can’t support the signal for all of your fancy stuff. And so now you’re losing them because they can’t get your message. So it’s, there’s so many new facets where all of this stuff applies and it’s, and sometimes it’s just not your fault, but you have to still guard against it. And you know, what are some of the best practices that we can execute from?

To still look like the Jetsons, but have it function even if the other end is like the Flintstone.

Andy Paul: Right. And so I want to dig on a couple of things is, is, you know, an interesting thing in the report, which was that, basically, an increase in the amount of product training you received increased the number of presentation mistakes you made, which translate a saying is yeah the more you know about your product, the more boring you become.

Terri Sjodin: Unfortunately. I don’t know if it’s specifically that, but, no, I, I love where you’re going. Okay. So we’re not suggesting that you should have less product knowledge or less industry knowledge. We’re just saying where the challenges come in is when there isn’t any time spent working on the delivery skills of the person who’s executing those messages and what we kept hearing time and time again is people saying, Oh my gosh, Terri, we just, we have not spent a lot of time.

Like it’s part of our onboarding. They have a module on presentations and their onboarding, but. In terms of like ongoing or advanced presentation skills training. It’s not something that we have, I have offered or, or done much with. And so when we do bring people together and we start to help them to, not only look at their existing presentations, but help them to cocreate and level up a presentation. So they go, Oh, tthat sounded great. Oh, I love that languaging. That is a great anecdote. I’m going to pull from Mary and Bob and I’m going to convert that to create and even tighter message. And what it does is it gives the second wind of joy to what we do as business and sales professionals. When you start having a heck of a lot more fun during your presentations, and more fun for the listener, who’s on the other side of it. But that’s where I think, the analytics of being a killer presenter really come into play because you can, I might say, Oh, Andy, I love that word phrasing. That was tight and I’m gonna, I’m going to steal that sentence or I’m gonna use that story, or I’m gonna use that anecdote. And when we’re collaborating to say what’s a tight, effective sophisticated fun message. When you start putting it from that perspective, now you are again being a better service to your clients or to the listener or to the prospect, because it’s fun when you walk out the door and they go, Oh, that was fun. That was a really good presentation. Thank you so much for coming out. It feels different.

Andy Paul: Okay. Yeah. Well, so the thing with the product training, which I think it plays into it is that yeah, not the product training is bad or not. Industry knowledge is battery of that. It’s that people say, yeah, I know this thus I want to share it. And, and perhaps also in the absence of any sort of context about the real specifics of what the buyer needs in that moment. Right. So it gets back a little bit to the lack of preparation is, yeah, I’m going to, I’m going to fill this time cause I think this is important. Not knowing that yeah, the bits and bites, aren’t important to the buyer at this point, they need something more. They need, they need context for the decision that you make, the choices that you need to make the options they have. And yeah, the product presentation is going to fall down the list of being boring and it’s not going to help you convert.

Terri Sjodin: Yeah. And I think where it. Where there’s a little, this little crazy pivot that can make all the difference in the world is some people say, look, I met with them. I did the needs analysis. And I customized my next meeting with them based on what they told me that they needed. And then I ended up finding out that they bought something from my competitor because of, because they thought that they offered them something different.

We do that too. They just never told me that they needed that. And it kind of goes back to. There a part of our messaging that we have to say, look, based on what you shared with me, this is what we can do. And just as a, you know, as a higher level conversation, there’s a lot of other things that we can do too.

That I’d be happy to do a deeper dive with you on, but sometimes people end up saying, Oh my gosh, You ended up providing me with everything. I never knew. I always needed, you know, our job as a presenter is not to just regurgitate the content, but rather to help them to understand and explore what all the options are without being boring so that you are being consultative and you are being helpful.

And so, but how do you do that? There’s just so much content. And there are so many products and services and industry information and, and so that. He switched. I’m going to put under this beautiful umbrella of self editing, like self editing is one of the big pieces that you have to accomplish in that preparation process.

Andy Paul: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing too is, is. You bring it up later. It’s one of the three newer mistakes as part of the, not newer, but three additional mistakes. You’ve added to the list of nine, being failure to connect. And I think this is one for me that belongs at the top of the list, right?

Is at least in my perspective is yeah. Not paying enough attention, but this is a one on one meeting. You’re having a, someone or a one, one to many. Is it’s that connection, you know? I mean, that is the point you made before is Hey, they bought, they bought something else and it didn’t tell me, but I didn’t be given the chance to say what we did.

Okay. Well, yeah, if it had that connection, you probably would been given that opportunity. Right? If you are in with the customer, you had that relationship built, they wouldn’t have made the move without time calling you and giving you the chance to, to present. and it also does that can dictate the flow of the presentation.

I, I. Tell a story of when I was, selling these complex communication systems that I was going to meet with the governing board of this huge company in Scandinavia. And it was for final presentation. And we go in to the meeting, me and a teammate that was with me, my sales engineer. We, we come out of the meeting, he looks at me, he says, you didn’t open your laptop the entire time we were there.

And I said, well, yeah, we just. We asked one question. And from the first question we asked to serve, just establish the connection. The hour went by just answering questions in which we covered all the information we would have in the presentation, but in a much more informal, informative fashion and persuasive fashion.

And that’s fine, but it only happened because we had that connection.

Terri Sjodin: Yeah. And I, you know, because of your experience, you have the ability to pivot and do that. And, you know, but some people have a tendency to do that and then they end up data dumping and then you’re like, Oh, good Lord. So there’s that, but

Andy Paul: right,

Terri Sjodin: right. And then, so back to your point on creating connection. So we wanted to do a deeper dive on what people meant by that, because that seems like a dumb, like, please, you know, of course you have to make a connection.

So what they were specifically referring to is there could be, let’s just say I’m a sales person, a salesperson, a city walks into a meeting and they sit down across from an individual, or let’s say they’re on a video call and they can notice that, That you, Andy are in your bookshelf behind you have books written by iron Rand.

And you’re like, Oh my gosh, you’re an iron Rand fan. And I love all of them, her work as well. So that kind of, you know, tidbit of conversation that you see because you’ve noticed things around them from the kid’s picture on the desk to a poster on the wall. Okay. That might be a, an icebreaker, a way to create conversation, but a diff there’s a big difference between creating conversation and, or incorporating nuggets like that into a conversation and truly creating connection.

So connection comes from, when you’re listening to someone talk, you think, you know what they get me or they’re in. There’ve have been in similar situations, I’m in, there was a magic kind of like a chemistry, for lack of better words where somebody just feels. So that, that issue on connection is about.

This kind of X factor element, where you go. I just like them. They just get me. I like their syntax, the way that they, you know, like some people speak really fast and they’ll say, Oh, I love that you speak really fast. Or, you know, you have a very mellow kind of style. I really like that. Like the things that create connection or are in the essence of this more about the X factor, then they are noticing the little random things.

When you walk in the door,

Andy Paul: Well, I agree, but, and to some of that is a result of, of being deliberate though. I mean, if you’re saying, look, I’m going into this, I want to be able to find some sort of common ground that we can use as a point of departure and discussion. That’s not just noticing a book that they have on the shelf.

That’s say I need to know more about this person. I may be inquiring about asking questions. I’m gonna try to establish through their experience may where, as I said, there is this. Middle ground that, that we’ve, we’ve shared that, you know, we can then start building on

Terri Sjodin: How we can learn from television people as well. Like right now, for those of us who are at home, if you’re watching Jimmy Fallon on the tonight show and you see that he’s in his basement, trying to host a television show from his home, but his kids are playing in the background and they were like, mate, and he’s like, I’m trying to run a show and they’re like, you relate to him.

And you say, Oh my gosh, I’m, he’s just like me. Like, that’s what, there’s an, there is this thing, even though it’s detached, that people felt connection. And, and so those little nuggets make a significant impact.

Andy Paul: They do, they do well, Terry, unfortunately we’ve run out of time, but, this has been fascinating. Oh. So tell folks how they can connect with you and learn more about what you do.

Terri Sjodin: Perfect. Well, if you would like to receive a copy of this report, we actually will be honored to share it with you at no cost at all. You can go to my website@hsudeancommunications.com. And my last name is Swedish. It’s pronounced. Show Dean and the spelling is S J as in John O D as in David. I am, this is Nancy.

So Terry show, dean.com or show Dean communications.com. We’ll get you there. And from the homepage, you can just click on a button that says, you know, give me, I’d love to see the state of sales, presentations, research study results. And that also does include all of the methodology. So you can see all the methodology behind the research project.

And if you have any questions or if I can be of service in any way, please don’t hesitate to call.

Andy Paul: Great. Well, Tara, thank you very much for joining us.

Terri Sjodin: Thank you for having me. Your show’s great. I appreciate it.

Andy Paul: Thank you. Okay. So.