Lessons From the Tank
by Joe Altieri
January 31st, 2020

Flawless Presentation

Let’s face it, we’re always selling something. Ourselves, our ideas, our products—always something. So what are the factors that determine if people are buying those things we’re selling? Without a doubt, one of them is presentation. And in this department a flawless performance always helps.
Think of a bad presentation that you experienced recently—someone with really great intentions who just tanked (pun intended).

Don’t be that person.

Here’s how.

Passion: It all starts here. If you don’t love it, live it, eat it, breathe it and obsess over it, why should anyone else? Sure, sometimes we just have to do what we have to do, but don’t live your whole life that way. When you find your passion, you won’t need to “sell” it. It will naturally present itself to everyone you meet in all of the ways that you think: the way you act and talk, and even when you’re talking about something else. Passion is the single most powerful sales tool.

Edit: Long before I walked down that ominous corridor to make a pitch on Shark Tank, I had to submit a demo to the producers. I was sure that my first three minute and 15 second long pitch was perfect and that they would love it. Half a dozen producer-required edits later and I was down to a one-minute presentation that looked nothing like my original. “Quality over quantity” is rarely ever a wrong sentiment, and the producers were clearly correct to insist on those edits. A good rule of thumb is that everyone else is less than half as interested as you are in what you’re selling. So, keep it moving. Editing is not a natural skill for most of us and it, too, takes practice. Got 500 words? See if you can say it just as well with 400. Challenge yourself. People are busy, and they will decide almost instantly if they want to keep reading or listening. Engagement leads to interest, and interest leads to sales.

Practice: You wouldn’t think of entering a golf tournament, running a marathon, or performing a piano recital without preparation and practice. But, for some reason, we believe it’s okay to “wing it” when it comes to our sales pitches. It’s not. You are better than that, and the people who are giving you their valuable time deserve better than that, too. Devote significant time and effort to your presentation, including its style, content and flow. Ask yourself: Would you want to sit through this presentation? Would you find value in the content, engagement in the performance and excellence in the visuals? Keep working until your answers are all a resounding “Yes.”

Pitch: It’s called a “pitch” because you are—quite literally—throwing your product or idea out into the universe. Be confident and take command (which will come naturally when you’re passionate and prepared). You’re here and they’re here. You’ve got something to say that you believe can add value, so don’t throw it in the dirt.

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  1. Very nicely summarized Joe. I remember in Sally Hogshead’s book “Fascinate” your audience has the attention of a gold fish 7 to 9 seconds. BTW backed by scientific experiments. Keep it moving and keep the attention.. don’t become spam to your potential customers.

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