Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
September 18, 2017

#568 The Science of Effective Presentations. With Nadjya Ghausi.

Nadjya Ghausi, VP of Marketing at Prezi, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[4:41] Nadjya says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is noise. Attention spans are decreasing while competition for attention is increasing. Reps need to learn to engage prospects by zeroing in on their wants and needs.

[7:06] Prezi started in 2009 in Hungary and moved to San Francisco. There is a user base of 85 million. It is a unique presentation platform built on an open canvas that allows free collaboration and conversation.

[8:33] Prezi’s non-linear navigation is unique. With pans and zooms, the experience is more like a movie than a slideshow.

[10:12] Prezi was the inspiration of an architect/visual designer and partners. They wanted a presentation that made good relational use of space and freeform movement. It became a unique new approach to communication.

[11:55] Nadjya explains how a user creates a Prezi. Start with the end you want to reach. Think of visual metaphors to use along the way. Consider story structure, and nonlinear paths to establish the story. The canvas presents topics at a glance.

[13:50] Prezi allows reps to zoom into what the prospect wants to know, whether introduction or detail. This can focus and help accelerate the sales cycle. Nadjya contrasts Prezi with a sales deck. Prezi is usable as an interactive conversation.

[17:03] Presenters using Powerpoint are telling a sequential story. Prezi requires mastery of your subject matter, leading to better conversations. Graphic presentations are more persuasive than text presentations.

[18:29] Nadjya discusses graphics, and expectations, as audiences will evolve through generations. Storytelling is a natural aspect of Prezi.

[19:51] Storytelling is an underdeveloped skill in sales. Prezi makes it easier to present your story.

[20:46] Prezi tracks how the presentation goes and what is shown, with analytics integrated into Slack or Salesforce.

[23:11] Prezi can share editing through Slack with permissions. Analytics note the time each user spends with a Prezi. In the course of a meeting, a Prezi can be zoomed in as the prospect comments. Watch for Augmented Reality to come!

[29:12] Preparing a Prezi, Nadjya asks herself what’s the best visual way to explain what she’s saying, and how all the parts fit together or stand alone. Higher user engagement adds memorability.

July 1, 2017

#499. Sales Behaviors That Make It Easier To Engage with Buyers. With Nancy Bleeke.

Nancy Bleeke, President and Chief Sales Officer of Sales Pro Insider, and author of a great book called, Conversations That Sell, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!


[:58] Sales Pro Insider now has a completely virtual group facilitated offering, that is doing fantastically. 12 people and a facilitator meet by webcam, with breakout groups, for two days, with no travel cost.

[3:38] Nancy explains how to ‘ditch the pitch.’ Get over wanting to tell people everything that you can do without it being important to the prospect. Have conversations where the prospect speaks the most.

[4:38] The default sales behavior is to pitch. Have one or two sentences ready to give context to what you do. “We help companies to grow their sales. To find out if that’s something we can help you with, I have some questions for you.”

[7:19] Tim Wackel suggests asking, “Do you think we’re ready for a proposal?” This helps you when you know what their need is and they are willing to meet. Nancy had a client double their conversion by selecting the right time to give a proposal.

[11:36] An important commitment is to meet for the proposal and go over it. Don’t send it. Take them through it. Every conversation throughout the sales process needs to connect to what’s important to them, or it’s a pitch.

[13:54] A good story to tell is about a previous customer. The story answers four questions, within 30 seconds. The prospect gets involved in the story, and self-persuades. John Steinbeck said people only want to hear stories about them. Help them relate.

[16:17] Behaviors have a trigger, a process, and a reward. Even bad habits have a ‘reward.’ The reward for telling a story isn’t how good you feel about what you said, but the value the customer received from it, to continue the conversation.

[17:53] People you are selling with, don’t want to be handled or overcome. They want a solution, so they talk to you. You want a sale, so you talk to them. Collaborate with them, don’t handle them. Help them work through the decision process.

[20:03] An objection is just a question. It means, I don’t understand. It’s important to understand the question they are asking, which means that will take some questions in return. Both parties may need more information. It is not an adversarial situation.

[22:36] Michael Bungay Stanier says, listen without judgment. Don’t raise your defenses. Stop and listen to what they are saying. Don’t cut them off. Don’t interrupt.

[25:36] Pattern recognition leads us to jump to conclusions. Fight your bias. Ask questions before assuming. Train yourself to bypass the amygdala hijack. Prepare and practice asking for more information. Respect what they need to say.

[29:39] Don’t think about shutting the customer up. Collaborate. Find out what they’re asking, before discounting or changing scope. Take a breath and ask deliberate questions.

June 27, 2017

#495. Learn How to Create a Killer Presentation by Asking the Right Questions. With Tim Wackel.

Tim Wackel, top sales trainer and leading expert on making better sales presentations, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:17] Tim sees too much activity without accomplishment, as the single biggest challenge facing sales reps. This is driven from the top. Tim stresses working on the fundamentals first.

[4:13] Your sales process needs to be set up to make the human interactions within the buying process as value-laden and impactful as possible. Tim cites the art of conversation.

[4:55] Metrics are set by management. Reps need coaching on basics more than on metrics. Tim says executives often don’t know what’s going on in sales, but they want more of it. The real metric is, how much business are you producing?

[6:02] They must put their own stamp on the process. Don’t work robotically. Top performers have unique ways of doing things. Have the confidence to shine.

[7:40] Sometimes the manager doesn’t have the right process for you. Tim tells an anecdote about following up, and a rep who lost a prospect, and why he lost them.

[9:15] Every interaction needs to provide value. Tim’s first manager asked him if his clients valued him so much, would they be willing to pay for a sales call?

[13:06] Tim talks about the two opportunities you may have to make a presentation. At either time, a poor presentation will prevent a sale. Don’t deliver everyone else’s presentation.

[16:44] A presentation is not always necessary. You engage in relevant conversation, tell your story, and the laptop stays closed (even though you had a presentation ready). Tim says, design it in analog, deliver it in digital.

[18:00] Presentation clumsiness is a failure. People leave their practice until they have a presentation. Practice all the time. Don’t rely on the deck. Rehearse it in an environment similar to the client’s boardroom. Make it about the client, not you.

[23:52] Delete the corporate capabilities of your company. The client has already researched you. Focus on three things, what, how, and why. What is the concern? How can we fix it? Why are you the right vendor? This is the last, and easy part.

[28:30] Tim says, remember, it is Powerpoint, not Powerparagraph. It is a visual aid to support your story. Make the story more important than the slides, and use the slides with images to keep people engaged in your story.

[34:15] Presentation, like sales, requires methodical deliberation. How will this presentation engage the customer and move the sale forward? Sell on purpose. There is a pattern of success.

March 7, 2017

Cut “No-Decisions” in Half with Great Software Demonstrations. With Peter Cohan. #399

Peter Cohan is Founder of The Second Derivative, author of Great Demo! How To Create And Execute Stunning Software Demonstrations, and expert in giving online software presentations and software demonstrations.


[3:22] Peter wanted to structure demos to be compelling, convincing, and intriguing. He invented a methodology to do that.

[5:38] The online demo is a critical milestone on the buying journey. It’s the moment when things start to go wrong. Peter shares a story how this can happen.

[8:51] Some use demos as discovery to find out things they should have learned already. Peter says it’s best to do discovery fully before a technical proof demo. The next-best case is a 3-minute vision generation demo before discovery.

[11:03] The overview is one demonstration Peter recommends never to do. These go by various names: ‘show up and throw up,’ ‘spray and pray,’ and ‘the harbor tour.’ Your prospect will jump ship!

[13:00] Focus on what (customer’s pain), and how (specific capabilities relevant to solving the pain). Specific capabilities include only what fixes the pain point. Next, comes the value of change, and critical dates. It’s all about customer situations.

[15:52] Andy views the demo as a story, beginning to end. Peter suggests using customer success stories to introduce a vision generation demo. Journalism’s inverted pyramid is a good demo model: Headline, graphic, summary, explanation.

[21:50] Don’t use a standard non personalized demo. Summarize often, and ask: “Is my understanding correct?” “Is there any new information?” “Is this the kind of thing you had in mind?” “Would you like to see what it takes in software?”

[23:45] When you summarize frequently, you give the audience cues to comment, ask questions, and participate. You reinforce your message, and allow the audience to reflect back what they hear. Ask them to give feedback as they listen.

[30:44] To demonstrate a complex matter like a CRM, break it into chunks, introducing each one, developing it, and summarizing it, with questions. You might have a separate 10-minute demo for each function.

[31:58] Before going to a demo, understand the situation slide fully, and be able to discuss it in depth. Role play a discussion beforehand. Know what you will say, and what you will not say. Prepare. You can cut no-decisions by half, with good info.

[34:44] You want a relationship. After vision generation, follow up with a call: “Are you comfortable with setting a time for a real discovery call?” After the discovery, call to ask: “Are you ready for a demo?” Then ask: “What else is needed?”


October 19, 2016

How Sales Needs to Start Learning (and Not Wait to Be Trained.) With John Barrows. #283

Joining me on this entertaining episode of Accelerate! is John Barrows, a leading sales trainer for tech companies. Among the many topics John and I discuss are why sales reps have to take responsibility for their own development and why they shouldn’t wait for sales training to get better, John’s “Rule of 1%”, strategies for sales reps to improve their active listening skills, steps reps should take to elevate their demo and presentation skills and much, much more. This is a must listen episode!

June 30, 2016

How to Use Emotion to Capture Your Prospect’s Interest. With Michael Hauge. #189

Bestselling author of Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds, Michael Hauge, is a story and script consultant, author, lecturer, and coach who works with writers, producers, directors and prominent stars to sell their ideas in the cut-throat competitive world of Hollywood. In today’s episode, Michael shares how sales reps can use emotion as the best tool to create the compelling first impressions that capture a prospect’s attention. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • How to quickly establish rapport with potential buyers.
  • How to engage a potential buyer’s emotions using a story.
  • The key steps to structuring a compelling story that sells
  • How to use a story that motivates the prospect to take the next action.
June 27, 2016

Win More Deals by Writing Exquisite Proposals. With Jason Swenk. #186

Jason Swenk is a self-proclaimed defender of truth, justice, and effective business practices. Jason helps small business owners develop the right systems to create winning proposals that drive the growth of their businesses. In this episode, Jason shares his key steps to writing a winning proposal. Among the topic we discuss are:

  • Eight steps to writing an exceptional proposal.
  • The difference between a cover letter and an executive summary.
  • The common mistakes most people make when writing a proposal.
  • Why you need to stop emailing proposals and present them instead.
  • How to increase the closing percentage of your proposals.
June 23, 2016

Selling Your Idea, Vision, Dream, and Yourself, to Investors. With John Livesay. #184

John Livesay, is known as the ‘Pitch Whisperer,’ and he is the author of The 7 Most Powerful Selling Secrets. He shows startup companies the keys to becoming irresistible to potential investors. In today’s episode, John discusses his 5 C’s of investor presentations. Be sure to listen to learn the important differences between a sales presentation and an investor presentation. And, why passion and empathy are the keys to connecting with your audience and selling your vision.


May 4, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 148 with Julie Hansen. 5 Ways To Prevent Sales Presentation Fatigue (in Your Customers.)

Julie Hansen is the founder of Performance Sales and Training and a leading sales presentation coach. She is also the author of Sales Presentation for Dummies and ACT Like a Sales Pro. In this episode, Julie and I discuss why salespeople are still relying on outdated and obsolete presentation methods in today’s modern market. And what they need to do to meet their customers’ expectations. Be sure to listen in! Among the topics we discuss are:

  • Why sales reps are stuck using old presentation models. And how they can change.
  • How to create and deliver compelling sales presentations that sell.
  • 5 ways to prevent Presentation Fatigue in your customers.
  • The commonalities between acting and selling and how sales reps can harness these to transform their results.
April 12, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 132 with Anne Miller. Six Steps to Become a More Effective & Persuasive Seller

Anne Miller is an expert in the use of words that help you sell. She’s a speaker, coach, and author of Metaphorically Selling: How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade, & Explain Anything to Anyone as well as The Tall Lady with the Iceberg. In today’s episode, Anne provides strategies that any sales person can utilize to become a more effective and persuasive speaker. Among the many topics we explore in this conversation are:

  • How you can become a more effective and persuasive seller in an increasingly visual world.
  • The different vocabulary you should use when presenting online vs presenting in-person.
  • How you must change your presentation style when you can’t see the prospect’s reactions and body language.
  • The four questions you have to answer to create a persuasive story to tell a prospect.