Turbocharge Your Sales Presentation – Open With a Grabber and Close With a Win

According to scientific research, an audience gives a presenter between 15 seconds to 2 minutes before deciding whether or not it is worth paying attention. If that’s true–and we have no reason to believe it is not–we must wonder why so many presenters waste their most important minutes looking and sounding like everyone else.

We’ve all heard the standard lacklustre opening that goes something like, “Thank you for inviting me. My name is fill-in-the-blank and I am here to represent fill-in-the-blank.” Then follows a lot of boring and inconsequential background trivia. Indeed, it is a shocking reality that most presenters willingly and foolishly fritter away their golden moments. Perhaps they fear looking different. Maybe attracting attention raises an alarm. Then too, it could simply be a lack of imagination and smarts.

Whatever the reason, if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition–and rise above them–don’t you dare do it. First grab your audience. Then, when they are paying rapt attention, you can tell them who you are.

Imagine you sell privacy software. You could open with a story about a deep sea photographer who survived his last dive because he was saved by a shark cage. Then you might say something like: and that’s what we do for you. Our software is like a safety cage that protects you from predators. Or imagine you are an investment firm hoping to convince an audience to invest with you. Your opening could be a newspaper report about a farmer who won the biggest pumpkin contest at the state fair because he knew precisely what it takes to make pumpkins grow big. “And that’s what we do for you,” you would say. “We know exactly what it takes to protect your investment and grow it bigger than anyone else.”

Of course, you don’t have to open with a story. You could open by teaching your audience a simple musical round–and conducting them. Then you could say, “That’s what we do when we consult with you. We make things work in harmony.”

Clearly, the number of ways to begin is limited only by your imagination. The key to a high-impact opening is to conclude it with a big point that leads smoothly to your Big Message. Your Big Message, of course, is the most important thing you want your audience to remember about you. It is that strong statement that conveys your brand promise to the world.

No matter how you choose to open, do not give your opener any preamble. Do not start by saying, “Before I begin I want to tell you a story,” or anything remotely similar. Be bold. Be confident. Simply stand up and plunge in. Once you have completed your opening and stated your message, then you may do the “Hello. My name is…” routine. And not before.

A great opening should take no more than three or four minutes. And please be fearless. Any and every audience is delighted by a well conceived, charming or entertaining opening–no matter how stuffy or conservative you may think they are.

So, here are 21 ways to grab your audience right at the opening.

  1. tell a story
  2. show an interesting quote from an interesting person
  3. read a news report
  4. post a startling statistic
  5. play a game
  6. do a magic trick
  7. show a video clip
  8. conduct a group musical introduction
  9. do card trick
  10. display a stunning visual
  11. use a toy
  12. announce a little known fact
  13. demonstrate a mind-reading trick
  14. sing a song
  15. use a puzzle
  16. take photos and display them
  17. build something
  18. recite a poem
  19. assemble a pie
  20. play an instrument
  21. talk about the weather

You’ll notice I do not suggest opening with a joke. Very few people tell jokes well and they are usually called comedians. Besides, most jokes are sure to offend someone–so it’s best not to tell jokes.

When you open with a grabber, your audience pays attention. Keep them interested with good organization, engaging slides and appropriate stories. (See my article: How to Organize a PowerPoint Sales Presentation – 7 Easy Steps For a Perfect Pitch.) Then close by circling back to your opening point and restating your Big Message.

Chances are good you’ll get a standing ovation. Chances are even better you’ll win the sale.

Avoiding Bad Debt Negotiations

Debt negotiations are becoming more popular among consumers today looking for a way out of their debt. While negotiations can be valuable tool for finding financial relief, there are many risks involved that can lead to more problems. Unfortunately, the bulk of problems involved with debt negotiations is dealing with scams or non-reputable companies.

The Federal Trade Commission has provided information for consumers to learn about debt negotiations and other relief solutions. This information is very important when seeking help with debts and can keep consumers out of the hands of scammers.

The Worst

The risks associated with third party debt relief companies is knowing whether or not you are getting a fair deal. There have been instances in which consumers paid money for debt negotiations that never even took place. As the consumer went on about their business thinking their debts had been resolved, their accounts were accumulating penalties and holding a delinquent account status. If even a deal had been negotiated, failing to get a copy of the deal in writing can lead to difficulty proving fraud down the road.

Most people never think twice or question the company they have hired to perform debt negotiations, which can be a big problem. It is always acceptable, and should be commonplace, to ask questions to the debt negotiator. Maintain an active role in the debt process and let the negotiator know you are paying attention.

The Best

The most important thing to remember in debt negotiations is that you have the right to negotiate directly with your lender. There is generally no need for a third party negotiator unless you need additional assistance. A debt negotiation lawyer can be highly beneficial in these situations as they are well versed in negotiations and are bound by an ethical code of conduct. However, if you choose to hire a third party company be sure they possess certain characteristics.

A reputable company will not attempt to sell one particular service or push for a commitment. While these companies are offering you a service, you should never feel pressured or rushed in your decision. The company will also staff licensed or credentialed employees such as financial advisers or accountants. Any company whose employees do not hold a degree or only boast “in house” training should be avoided, you want someone who knows what they are doing. A legitimate agency will not require upfront fees for services or will offer a money back guarantee if services are not rendered adequately.

The Presentation is Important to Making an Annuity Sale – But, it Must Be Simple

I am often asked how I present the information to set up the close. I have one rule that I have used for years, this rule has allowed me to stay focused and to keep my prospect focused.

KISS….Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Early in my career I was taught this concept and it has been the backbone of my selling approach. Simple sells and complicated doesn’t. My presentation is simple and it normally takes me less than 20 minutes to prepare.


Because all I do is in a one page presentation repeat back to my prospect in writing what they told me about how they feel during the Fact Finder. I then use any third party information as supporting documents which outsources reference material away from me personally. Sources could include Morningstar Principia Pro, MSN Money, Moody’s and many others. I allow these sources to assume responsibility for content.

Here is an example of a typical presentation piece. I marked in red where I used outsource information.

Summary of Estate Plan


Mr. and Mrs. Jim Jones

Thank you for the opportunity to work on your plan. I have looked at your personal situation, enclosed current reports and made suggestions I think may benefit your goals.

Your current retirement monthly income from social security and Boeing pensions is $3,400. You are currently removing $600 from your IRAs.

Your current income of $4,000 is the needed and desired goal.

You have a LTC policy with Bankers Unlimited Assurance Company with premiums of $230 a month. I have enclosed current ratings for you from AM Best and Company. (A. M.Best ratings from the internet)

Your IRAs are invested in the Delaware Family of Mutual Funds (now owned by Lincoln Financial Group). I have enclosed current reports for you. (Morningstar reports from Principia Pro)

Since your IRA accounts are important to you for retirement security, I suggest you transfer them to a guarantee Equity Linked Indexed Annuity.

I have enclosed the benefits you can enjoy with this change. It can be accomplished without any tax liability.