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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

sales presentation communication skills

Five tips to set yourself apart.

Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, you can set yourself apart out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over. Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired together are more memorable); don’t underestimate the power of your voice (raise and lower it for emphasis); give your audience something extra (unexpected moments will grab their attention); rehearse (the best speakers are the best because they practice — a lot).

I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.

“You’re very successful. You’re considered a good speaker. Why do you feel as though you need to improve?” I asked.

“I can always get better,” he responded. “Every point up or down in our share price means billions of dollars in our company’s valuation. How well I communicate makes a big difference.”

This is just one example of the many CEOs and entrepreneurs I have coached on their communication skills over the past two decades, but he serves as a valuable case in point. Often, the people who most want my help are already established and admired for their skills. Psychologists say this can be explained by a phenomenon called the Dunning-Kruger effect. Simply put, people who are mediocre at certain things often think they are better than they actually are, and therefore, fail to grow and improve. Great leaders, on the other hand, are great for a reason — they recognize their weaknesses and seek to get better.

The following tips are for business professionals who are already comfortable with giving presentations — and may even be admired for their skills — but who, nonetheless, want to excel.

1) Great presenters use fewer slides — and fewer words.

McKinsey is one of the most selective consulting companies in the world, and one I have worked with many times in this area. Senior McKinsey partners have told me that recent MBA hires often try to dazzle clients with their knowledge — and they initially do so by creating massive PowerPoint decks. New consultants quickly learn, however, that less is much more. One partner instructs his new hires to reduce PowerPoint decks considerably by replacing every 20 slides with only two slides.

This is because great writers and speakers are also great editors. It’s no coincidence that some of the most memorable speeches and documents in history are among the shortest. The Gettysburg Address is 272 words, John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech was under 15 minutes, and the Declaration of Independence guarantees three unalienable rights — not 22.

Key takeaway: Reduce clutter where you can.

2) Great presenters don’t use bullet points.

Bullet points are the least effective way to get your point across. Take Steve Jobs , considered to be one of the most extraordinary presenters of his time. He rarely showed slides with just text and bullets. He used photos and text instead.

Experiments in memory and communication find that information delivered in pictures and images is more likely to be remembered than words alone. Scientists call it “ pictorial superiority .” According to molecular biologist John Medina, our ability to remember images is one of our greatest strengths. “We are incredible at remembering pictures,” he writes . “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.”

Key takeaway: Complement text on slides with photos, videos, and images.

3) Great presenters enhance their vocal delivery.

Speakers who vary the pace, pitch, and volume of their voices are more effective, according to a new research study by Wharton marketing professor, Jonah Berger.

In summary, the research states that effective persuaders modulate their voice, and by doing so, appear to be more confident in their argument. For example, they raise their voice when emphasizing a key message, or they pause after delivering an important point.

Simply put, if you raise and lower the volume of your voice, and alternate between a high pitch and low pitch while delivering key messages, your presentation will be more influential, persuasive, and commanding.

Key takeaway: Don’t underestimate the power of  your voice to make a positive impression on your audience.

4) Great presenters create “wow” moments.

People don’t remember every slide and every word of a presentation. They remember moments, as Bill Gates exemplified back in 2009 in his now famous TED talk .

While giving a presentation on the efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce the spread of malaria, Gates stated: “Now, malaria is, of course, transmitted by mosquitos. I brought some here just so you could experience this.” And with that, he walked out to the center of the stage, and opened the lid from a small jar containing non-infected mosquitoes.

“We’ll let those roam around the auditorium a little bit.”

This moment was so successful in capturing his audience because it was a surprise. His audience had been expecting a standard PowerPoint presentation — complete with graphs and data. But what they got instead was a visceral introduction to the subject, an immersive experience that played on their emotions.

Unexpected moments grab an audience’s attention because the human brain gets bored easily. According to neuroscientist, A.K Pradeep, whom I’ve  interviewed : “Novelty recognition is a hardwired survival tool all humans share. Our brains are trained to look for something brilliant and new, something that stands out, something that looks delicious.”

Key takeaway: Give your audience something extra.

5) Great presenters rehearse.

Most speakers don’t practice nearly as much as they should. Oh, sure, they review their slides ahead of time, but they neglect to put in the hours of deliberate practice that will make them shine.

Malcolm Gladwell made the “ 10,000-hour rule ” famous as a benchmark for excellence — stating, in so many words, that 20 hours of practice a week for a decade can make anyone a master in their field. While you don’t have nearly that long to practice your next presentation, there’s no question that the world’s greatest speakers have put in the time to go from good to great.

Consider Martin Luther King, Jr. His most famous speeches came after years of practice — and it was exactly this level of mastery that gave King the awareness and flexibility to pull off an advanced speaking technique: improvisation. King improvised the memorable section of what is now known as the “Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. When he launched into the “I have a dream” refrain, the press in attendance were confused. Those words were not included in the official draft of the speech they had been handed. King read the mood of his audience and, in the moment, combined words and ideas he had made in previous speeches.

It’s believed that King gave 2,500 speeches in his lifetime. If we assume two hours of writing and rehearsals for each one (and in many cases he spent much more time than that ), we arrive at the conservative estimate of 5,000 hours of practice. But those are speeches. They don’t take into account high school debates and hundreds of sermons. King had easily reached 10,000 hours of practice by August of 1963.

Key takeaway: Put in the time to make yourself great.  

Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, using the above tips to sharpen your skills is the first step to setting yourself apart. Stand out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over again.

sales presentation communication skills

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15 Sales Presentation Techniques That Will Help You Close More Deals Today

Chris Orlob

Updated: June 01, 2022

Published: May 31, 2022

Hate the thought of doing sales presentations ? You’re not alone. But the best reps have sales presentations down pat, even if it’s not their favorite activity.

sales presentation methods

The best sales reps know that, when done right , sales presentations are a high-earning skill.

So, let’s hone that skill with simple sales presentation techniques that communicate an irresistible narrative and get buyers to close.

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Sales Presentation

An effective sales presentation tells a compelling story, highlights your value proposition, and aligns with your audience's needs and desires. It ends with a strong call-to-action and leads prospects to your differentiators instead of leading with them.

As it can sometimes mean the difference between closing a deal or losing a customer, you definitely want to get your sales presentation right. There are strategies and tips you can follow to ensure your sales presentations are effective, memorable, and engaging. Let’s go over them below.

Sales Presentation Methods

1. structure your presentation. .

Guiding your prospects down a clear path is key to a successful sales presentation. You’ll follow a logical structure, and listeners will understand how each element of your presentation relates to one another, rather than them having to piece together disjointed information on their own. 

There are times when flipping the structure can add unique elements to your presentation, though, and we’ll discuss this further below. 

2. Use data visualizations. 

Using visuals, like charts and graphics, to supplement your message is a valuable way to showcase your content in an easy-to-understand format as they make your words more impactful. 

For example, if you’re selling SaaS that helps users organize their sales process for a shorter cycle, you can create a visual that displays the average length of your clients’ sales cycle vs. those using other tools. 

By doing this, you’re adding extra emphasis to your words with a visual picture, and a bonus is that visuals are more likely to stick with your audience and get them thinking versus just hearing you talk. 

3. Rely on spoken words — not text.

If your presentation slides are text-heavy, prospects may get caught up reading the words you’ve written instead of listening, causing them to miss out on the value you’re sharing. Aim to include less text by calling attention to the most significant elements with short bursts of text that you supplement with your words. 

In addition, when you have less text on your slides, you may be less inclined to just read from them, which can be a bad part of presentations. You’ll have to speak instead of relying on written content. 

Let’s go over some sales presentation techniques that, when paired with the three methods above, will help you nail it every time.

Sales Presentation Techniques

1. send your buyer the presentation deck before your call..

You might assume that sending a buyer a deck before a call is like revealing whodunnit on the cover of a murder mystery. No one will pay attention to the rest of the book, right? 

When the team started sharing our deck before opening sales calls, we learned it was a winning move. 

If your deck is compelling, prospects will want to get into it with you, even if they know the main point. Together, you can dive in, dissect the good bits, and talk through questions. It’s going to be a juicy conversation, and they know it.

Then, you can begin the conversation during your presentation with a statement like, “Based on the information in the deck I sent, where should we start?”

2. Invoke self-discovery.

It’s tempting to stick to a positive linear story during your sales presentation. That usually invokes talking about benefits, outcomes, and desired results. But, that approach isn’t always the best. 

Before discussing solutions and results, you must understand your prospect's problem. More importantly, you have to be sure your prospects understand the problem. 

Self-discovery is the ticket that gets you there. Instead of telling the buyer what the problem is and how you’ll address it, get your buyer to connect with the problem on their own. 

3. Talk about Point A. Don’t skip to point B.

This is 100% linked to the tip above. There’s a problem (point A) and desired outcome (point B). Point A is the status quo. It’s a problem your buyer will continue to face if they don’t make a change. 

You can stand out by focusing on point A, as talking about a pain point is shockingly more effective than talking about positive outcomes. 

Make your buyer feel the pain that results from the status quo. Convince them the pain will only worsen without your solution — because you know that to be true.

You should only talk about benefits once they’re on board with that line of thinking. Urgency is what allows benefits to land. Without urgency, benefits are just happy points that hold no real meaning.

4. Insight is your #1 lead story.

Buyers are experts on their circumstances, but they want insights into their situation from you. 

You’re most likely to impress a buyer by telling them something new about themselves, as your offering is a unique insight into their problems and opportunities.

Check out this TaylorMade video. It’s a bang-on example of how to lead a presentation with insight, and then move on to your product’s strengths:

You learned how to get more distance from your golf swing (an insight into what you’re doing). Then you learned how that’s supported by the product’s particular strength.

Insight comes first. It changes how your buyers think about the problem your product solves. Only then benefits can land effectively.

5. Don’t lead with differentiators, lead to them.

At, we’ve taught our sales reps to speak with buyers about a critical problem only we can solve. It’s the delta between top producers and the rest of the team.

don't lead with differentiators in your sales presentations

We only introduce our key differentiator once the backstory is clear and the buyer gets it. Then, our reps say something like this:

"Gong is the only platform that can tell you what your top reps do differently from the rest of your team. We can tell you which questions they ask, which topics they discuss, when they talk about each one, and more."

See why we lead to our differentiator, and not with it? It just wouldn’t land the same way if we started with the differentiator. In fact, it might not land at all.

6. Focus on value, not features. research found that focusing on features over value is not impactful. Prospects, especially decision-makers, want value propositions about how you’ll help them solve their problems rather than an overview of the features they’ll get. 

sales presentation communication skills

7. Flip your presentation.

he next, eventually achieving a shiny, final outcome. This isn’t always the best strategy. 

Instead of building up to the most significant and impactful part of your demo for your prospect, begin with the most valuable part, which is how you’ll help them, and let the conversation flow from there. 

There’s one other tactic underlying it all: The best product demos start with topics the buyers highlighted on the discovery call . For example, if the buyer spends 4 minutes talking about X and 10 minutes talking about Y, you want to begin with Y, as the buyer has demonstrated that they’re heavily interested in Y. In the opening section of your presentation, address the biggest issue from discovery. Address the second biggest issue second, etc.

It’s called solution mapping, and it’s going to change your sales presentation process forever. Stop saving the big reveal for last. Stop building anticipation. Start with the good stuff. Let it rip right out of the gate.

8. Turn your presentation into a conversation.

If you sensed we were looking for a two-way dialogue during your pitch, you’re right. That’s a relief to most salespeople, especially the ones who hate delivering traditional presentations.

A two-way dialogue is going to make your pitch feel more natural. To do this, says to get buyers to ask questions by giving them just enough info to inspire them to ask more questions and keep the conversation going. In fact, top performers ask fewer questions because they don’t bombard prospects with too much information but instead give buyers just enough information to have them ask questions. 

sales presentation communication skills

Long monologues won’t help you have real conversations with your buyers. Instead, aim for a great two-way conversation. 

9. Mind the 9-minute period.

This tip is crisp and clear: Don’t present for more than nine minutes. data supports this. 

Best sales presentation length

Presentations for lost deals last an average of 11.4 minutes. Why do they go so poorly? Because it’s hard to retain attention. If you do go longer than nine minutes, switch it up. 

Vary something that re-captures attention and keeps people engaged. Change channels by doing something like switching up who’s speaking in real life or on video. This can rest your clock to zero, and you’ve got nine more minutes for the next portion of the show. 

10. Be strategic with social proof. 

Social proof. Best friend or worst nightmare? It can be either one, so use it carefully. For example, generic social proof (i.e., naming impressive clients for brand power alone) is a disaster. Buyers might not identify with them. Sure, they’re dazzled, but they may not see how they relate to your current client.

An effective strategy is to reference clients similar to your buyer, with the same pain points, challenges and needs that they can relate to. You can tell an accompanying story about the client and their pain points, helping the buyer see themselves in the story you’re telling.

11. Talk price after you establish value.

Would it surprise you to know it matters when you talk about certain topics? It can actually affect whether you win or lose a deal. Pricing is a great example of this principle.

The top salespeople wait to talk about pricing. They know it’s important to demonstrate their product’s value first.

pricing discussions should happen after you establish value

Set an agenda at the start of your call so your buyer knows when to expect a pricing discussion. They’ll be less likely to raise it early, and if they do, you can refer back to the agenda.

Open with something like, " I’d like to talk about A, B, and C on our call today. Then we can go over pricing at the end and -- if it makes sense for you -- talk about next steps. Does that work for you?"

You’re all set.

12. Reference your competitors.

Our data shows that you’re more likely to win a deal if you talk about the competition early in the sales process instead of ignoring them completely.

sales presentation communication skills

For best results, practice this during your first sales presentation. Waiting until the end of your sales process puts you into a dangerous red zone. Your buyers will already have formed opinions, and they’ll be harder to change.

In other words, at the end of the day, buyers will justify a decision they made early in the process, which is why it’s critical to set yourself up as the winner early on. Talk about the competition in your presentation. Put the conversation out there. Get your buyer to see you through that lens, and you’re golden.

Over To You

You now have 15 new tips and techniques to throw down this quarter. Many of these data-backed moves come from’s own findings and have proven to be effective for us. Implement them, and I know you’ll boost your numbers.

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Inside the mind of your prospect: change is hard, before-after-bridge: the only formula you need to create a persuasive sales presentation, facebook — how smiles and simplicity make you more memorable, contently — how to build a strong bridge, brick by brick, yesware — how to go above and beyond with your benefits, uber — how to cater your content for readers quick to scan, dealtap — how to use leading questions to your advantage, zuora — how to win over your prospects by feeding them dots, linkedin sales navigator — how to create excitement with color, how to make a sales pitch in 4 straightforward steps, 7 embarrassing pitfalls to avoid in your presentation, over to you.

A brilliant sales presentation has a number of things going for it.

Being product-centered isn’t one of them. Or simply focusing on your sales pitch won’t do the trick.

So what can you do to make your offer compelling?

From different types of slides to persuasive techniques and visuals, we’ve got you covered.

Below, we look at data-backed strategies, examples, and easy steps to build your own sales presentations in minutes.

Many sales presentations fall flat because they ignore this universal psychological bias: People overvalue the benefits of what they have over what they’re missing.

Harvard Business School professor John T. Gourville calls this the “ 9x Effect .” Left unchecked, it can be disastrous for your business.

the psychology behind a sales presentation

According to Gourville, “It’s not enough for a new product simply to be better. Unless the gains far outweigh the losses, customers will not adopt it.”

The good news: You can influence how prospects perceive these gains and losses. One of the best ways to prove value is to contrast life before and after your product.

Luckily, there’s a three-step formula for that.

Start with a vivid description of the pain, present an enviable world where that problem doesn’t exist, then explain how to get there using your tool.

It’s super simple, and it works for cold emails , drip campaigns , and sales discovery decks. Basically anywhere you need to get people excited about what you have to say.

In fact, a lot of companies are already using this formula to great success. The methods used in the sales presentation examples below will help you do the same.

We’re all drawn to happiness. A study at Harvard tells us that emotion is contagious .

You’ll notice that the “Before” (pre-Digital Age) pictures in Facebook’s slides all display neutral faces. But the cover slide that introduces Facebook and the “After” slides have smiling faces on them.

This is important. The placement of those graphics is an intentional persuasion technique.

Studies by psychologists show that we register smiles faster than any other expression. All it takes is 500 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). And when participants in a study were asked to recall expressions, they consistently remembered happy faces over neutral ones.

What to do about it : Add a happy stock photo to your intro and “After” slides, and keep people in “Before” slides to neutral expressions.

Here are some further techniques used during the sales presentation:

Tactic #1: Use Simple Graphics

Use simple graphics to convey meaning without text.

Example: Slide 2 is a picture of a consumer’s hand holding an iPhone — something we can all relate to.

Why It Works: Pictures are more effective than words — it’s called  Picture Superiority . In presentations, pictures help you create connections with your audience. Instead of spoon-feeding them everything word for word, you let them interpret. This builds trust.

Tactic #2: Use Icons

Use icons to show statistics you’re comparing instead of listing them out.

Example: Slide 18 uses people icons to emphasize how small 38 out of 100 people is compared to 89 out of 100.

Why It Works:  We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Tactic #3: Include Statistics

Include statistics that tie real success to the benefits you mention.

Example: “71% lift driving visits to retailer title pages” (Slide 26).

Why It Works:  Precise details prove that you are telling the truth.

Just like how you can’t drive from Marin County to San Francisco without the Golden Gate, you can’t connect a “Before” to an “After” without a bridge.

Add the mission statement of your company — something Contently does from Slide 1 of their deck. Having a logo-filled Customers slide isn’t unusual for sales presentations, but Contently goes one step further by showing you exactly what they do for these companies.

sales presentation

They then drive home the Before-After-Bridge Formula further with case studies:

sales presentation

Before : Customer’s needs when they came on

After: What your company accomplished for them

Bridge : How they got there (specific actions and outcomes)

Here are some other tactics we pulled from the sales presentation:

Tactic #1: Use Graphics/Diagrams

Use graphics, Venn diagrams, and/or equations to drive home your “Before” picture.

Why It Works:  According to a Cornell study , graphs and equations have persuasive power. They “signal a scientific basis for claims, which grants them greater credibility.”

Tactic #2: Keep Slides That Have Bullets to a Minimum

Keep slides that have bullets to a minimum. No more than one in every five slides.

Why It Works:  According to an experiment by the International Journal of Business Communication , “Subjects exposed to a graphic representation paid significantly more attention to , agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list.”

Tactic #3: Use Visual Examples

Follow up your descriptions with visual examples.

Example: After stating “15000+ vetted, ready to work journalists searchable by location, topical experience, and social media influence” on Slide 8, Contently shows what this looks like firsthand on slides 9 and 10.

Why It Works:  The same reason why prospects clamor for demos and car buyers ask for test drives. You’re never truly convinced until you see something for yourself.

Which is more effective for you?

This statement — “On average, Yesware customers save ten hours per week” — or this image:

sales presentation

The graphic shows you what that 10 hours looks like for prospects vs. customers. It also calls out a pain that the product removes: data entry.

Visuals are more effective every time. They fuel retention of a presentation from 10% to 65% .

But it’s not as easy as just including a graphic. You need to keep the design clean.

sales presentation

Can you feel it?

Clutter provokes anxiety and stress because it bombards our minds with excessive visual stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t important.

Here’s a tip from Yesware’s Graphic Designer, Ginelle DeAntonis:

“Customer logos won’t all necessarily have the same dimensions, but keep them the same size visually so that they all have the same importance. You should also disperse colors throughout, so that you don’t for example end up with a bunch of blue logos next to each other. Organize them in a way that’s easy for the eye, because in the end it’s a lot of information at once.”

Here are more tactics to inspire sales presentation ideas:

Tactic #1: Personalize Your Final Slide

Personalize your final slide with your contact information and a headline that drives emotion.

Example: Our Mid-Market Team Lead Kyle includes his phone number and email address with “We’re Here For You”

Why It Works: These small details show your audience that:

Tactic #2: Pair Outcome Statements With Icons in Circles

Example: Slide 4 does this with seven different “After” outcomes.

Why It Works:  We already know why pictures work, but circles have power , too. They imply completeness, infiniteness, and harmony.

Tactic #3: Include Specific Success Metrics

Don’t just list who you work with; include specific success metrics that hit home what you’ve done for them.

Example: 35% New Business Growth for Boomtrain; 30% Higher Reply Rates for Dyn.

Why It Works:  Social proof drives action. It’s why we wait in lines at restaurants and put ourselves on waitlists for sold-out items.

People can only focus for eight seconds at a time. (Sadly, goldfish have one second on us.)

This means you need to cut to the chase fast.

Uber’s headlines in Slides 2-9 tailor the “After” picture to specific pain points. As a result, there’s no need to explicitly state a “Before.”

sales presentation

Slides 11-13 then continue touching on “Before” problems tangentially with customer quotes:

sales presentation

So instead of self-touting benefits, the brand steps aside to let consumers hear from their peers — something that sways 92% of consumers .

Leading questions may be banned from the courtroom, but they aren’t in the boardroom.

DealTap’s slides ask viewers to choose between two scenarios over and over. Each has an obvious winner:

sales presentation example

Ever heard of the Focusing Effect?

It’s part of what makes us tick as humans and what makes this design move effective. We focus on one thing and then ignore the rest. Here, DealTap puts the magnifying glass on paperwork vs. automated transactions.

Easy choice.

Sure, DealTap’s platform might have complexities that rival paperwork, but we don’t think about that. We’re looking at the pile of work one the left and the simpler, single interface on the right.

Here are some other tactics to use in your own sales presentation:

Tactic #1: Tell a Story

Tell a story that flows from one slide to the next.

Example: Here’s the story DealTap tells from slides 4 to 8: “Transactions are complicated” → “Expectations on all sides” → “Too many disconnected tools” → “Slow and error prone process” → “However, there’s an opportunity.

Why It Works:   Storytelling in sales with a clear beginning and end (or in this case, a “Before” and “After”) trigger a trust hormone called Oxytocin.

Tactic #2: This vs. That

If it’s hard to separate out one “Before” and “After” vision with your product or service because you offer many dissimilar benefits, consider a “This vs. That” theme for each.

Why It Works:  It breaks up your points into simple decisions and sets you up to win emotional reactions from your audience with stock photos.

Remember how satisfying it was to play connect the dots? Forming a bigger picture out of disconnected circles.

That’s what you need to make your audience do.


Zuora tells a story by:

You can achieve this by founding your sales presentation on your audience’s intuitions. Set them up with the closely-set “dots,” then let them make the connection.

Here are more tactical sales presentation ideas to steal for your own use:

Tactic #1: Use Logos and Testimonials

Use logos and  testimonial pull-quotes for your highest-profile customers to strengthen your sales presentation.

Example: Slides 21 to 23 include customer quotes from Schneider Electric, Financial Times, and Box.

Why It Works: It’s called  social proof . Prospects value other people’s opinions and trust reputable sources more than you.

Tactic #2: Include White Space

Pad your images with white space.

Example: Slide 17 includes two simple graphics on a white background to drive home an important concept.

Why It Works:  White space creates separation, balance, and attracts the audience’s eyes to the main focus: your image.

Tactic #3: Incorporate Hard Data

Incorporate hard data with a memorable background to make your data stand out.

Example: Slide 5 includes statistics with a backdrop that stands out. The number and exciting title (‘A Global Phenomenon’) are the main focuses of the slide.

Why It Works:  Vivid backdrops are proven to be memorable and help your audience take away important numbers or data.

Psychology tells us that seeing colors can set our mood .

The color red is proven to increase the pulse and heart rate. Beyond that, it’s associated with being active, aggressive, and outspoken. LinkedIn Sales Navigator uses red on slides to draw attention to main points:


You can use hues in your own slides to guide your audience’s emotions. Green gives peace; grey adds a sense of calm; blue breeds trust. See more here .

Tip: You can grab free photos from Creative Commons and then set them to black & white and add a colored filter on top using a (also free) tool like Canva . Here’s the sizing for your image:


Caveat: Check with your marketing team first to see if you have a specific color palette or brand guidelines to follow.

Here are some other takeaways from LinkedIn’s sales presentation:

Tactic #1: Include a CTA on Final Slide

Include one clear call-to-action on your final slide.

Example: Slide 9 has a “Learn More” CTA button.

Why It Works:  According to the Paradox of Choice , the more options you give, the less likely they are to act.

Step One : Ask marketing for your company’s style guide (color, logo, and font style).

Step Two: Answer these questions to outline the “Before → After → Bridge” formula for your sales pitch :

Step Three: Ask account management/marketing which customers you can mention in your slides (plus where to access any case studies for pull quotes).

Step Four:  Download photos from Creative Commons . Remember: Graphics > Text. Use Canva to edit on your own — free and fast.

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11 Effective Sales Presentation Techniques That Close The Deal Faster

Effective Sales Presentation Techniques That Close The Deal Faster

The truth is, to sell a large quantity of  any  product, there are a set of steps everyone needs to follow. It is a process so common that even sidewalk sellers know how to leverage it, yet so many of us salespeople neglect to employ it! To help you put your best foot forward and secure more, more significant deals for your organisation, keep reading to learn the more effective sales presentation techniques alongside identifying the effective sales presentation skills you need to close deals faster. 

What is a Sales Presentation?

To first understand what makes a good sales presentation, it’s only logical to start with the sales presentation definition ;

‘a talk giving information about a product or service that you are trying to sell, intended to persuade people to buy it:’. 

A sales presentation refers to the meeting between an individual salesperson or sales team and a company. They attempt to persuade key stakeholders to close the deal by displaying the offerings’ capabilities, benefits, and features . Sales presentations must align with your prospective clients’ needs to achieve the desired outcome, which usually requires extensive planning and preparation.

Sales Presentations Vs Sales Pitches: What’s the difference?

A  sales presentation  is a more complex version of a  sales pitch  and is usually used for bigger deals that require multiple stakeholders to weigh in on decision making. While still technically a sales pitch, sales presentations are held when the sales process isn’t straightforward, generally for longer sales cycles with lucrative deals that require a product or sales demo. For this reason, sales presentations require a larger budget, not just for the presentation (often around an hour in length) but for preparation, timing and testing. Moreover, salespeople are more likely to present sales presentations as a team rather than as individuals, so understanding the plan requires a group effort. 

Other uses for the sales pitch include the  elevator sales pitch , which many believe is identical to a sales pitch; however, it is not. A sales pitch is a formal type of sales presentation, usually used in long buying cycles. It can take multiple times until a deal has closed. Whereas an  elevator sales pitch  often occurs organically in casual conversation and tells potential prospects what you do, with a statement that positions you as the ideal solution provider in the hopes of leading to a sale.

The importance of effective Sales Presentations

A sales presentation helps salespeople build connections with prospective customers to differentiate their offering from competitors – with the end goal of closing a deal. Sales presentations help set the tone for future interactions as the sales process progresses and is, therefore, a key tool for persuading your prospects that your offering is best suited to their needs.

Also read: 9 Virtual Selling Best Practices To Host Effective Virtual Sales Meetings

What makes an effective Sales Presentation?

An effective sales presentation speaks directly to your audience’s needs, challenges and desires. It captivates their imagination with a compelling story, complete with a solid value proposition and strong call to action that tells the prospect exactly why you’re the best solution provider. Below is an in-depth view of each of the 5 core elements that make an effective sales presentation alongside the ideal sales presentation structure that many companies follow:

Five Core Elements of every Sales Presentation

1. research.

You’re giving a sales presentation because you can provide a solution to a prospect’s problem. However, you mustn’t start the sales presentation with the solution. Rather the problem itself and the subsequent challenges and pain points your prospect experiences because of it.

Prospects don’t care about solutions or features; they care about the value that comes with a suitable solution. That’s why you need to thoroughly research prospects to understand what motivates them. Identifying pain points as you delve deeper into how they operate so that you can and ultimately tailor their journey to provide them insightful and value-based solutions.

2. Storytelling

Stories help prospects to visualise the value of your offering. That’s why it’s helpful to select several stories you can pull from during sales presentations that appeal to the prospect based on individual needs (hence why you need to research their wants and needs thoroughly first!)

3. A Value-Proposition

“What’s really in it for me?” – that’s what every prospect wants to know. Why should they, or anyone for that fact – buy your product or service? Suppose you can’t convince someone else that your product or service offers better value than your competitors. In that case, there is no point in wasting any more time trying to sell your solution because you’ll only ever hear “we’ll be in touch.” Always ensure you arrive prepared with a value proposition that explicitly states how your company’s product or service benefits prospects. For example, you can always follow the “value proposition formula” to get started: [Company name] helps [target audience] with [services] so you can [benefits].

Prospects are more likely to agree to the next steps in a deal if they’ve seen proof that other people benefit from your solution. To achieve this, ensure you have plenty of social proof available from the get-go when meeting with your prospect. Overall, any proof of your solution being effective helps answer the “how can I believe you” question from prospects. To do so successfully, consider sharing evidence such as:

5. A call-to-action

Last but not least, an effective sales presentation requires a strong call to action at the end to compel prospects to take action. Whether that’s to buy now, take the following steps internally, or even start a free trial – prospects need to be told what to do next.

11 Effective Sales Presentation Techniques

With the correct sales presentation techniques to guide you through your sales meetings, you’ll start closing more sales than ever before – check them out below:

1. Use the “Five-Second Rule”

Prospects have less and less time in this competitive and busy digital world. Getting their attention is hard, but keeping it is even harder! That’s why you need to remember and use the 5-second rule – where you have at least fifteen to twenty words to capture your prospect’s attention. Ensure your overall opening statement is strong and directly relates to your audience.

2. Talk like an executive

Ideally, prospects will understand what your sales presentation is about after the first minute. That’s why you need to use the appropriate language to address your audience-not only does it help decision-makers to connect with your solution quicker, but it also shows you’ve prepared to respect their time.

3. Involve key stakeholders

Use your showmanship abilities and have the prospective decision-makers interact with the product you are selling. Ask them to try it out to see how easy it is, how soft it feels, or how fun it is – whatever the defining benefit and feature is. When the customer gets involved, they can imagine themselves using the product, making it easier for them to buy.

4. Present solutions to painful challenges

Place the prospect’s most painful problem at the forefront of your sales presentation and describe precisely how your product or service can solve the challenge they’re currently facing. By doing so, you’re showing them a way out of their current situation and the opportunities they could gain from closing the deal.

5. Make it memorable

When you give a  presentation , people are not going to retain everything that you say. And what most of us do is leave to chance what the prospect actually retains, but by incorporating a few specific elements, you can start to influence what people remember.

So remember to influence what people remember from your presentation, use visuals, text, story and repetition.

6. Prepare valuable insights

Another effective sales presentation technique is to prepare insights ahead of time for your prospects. Insights are accurate understandings of your prospect, your prospect’s business or industry. These understandings are found through research, experience, data and metrics. They aim to develop a stronger relationship with the prospect by providing them with valuable opportunities to optimise and grow their operation in ways they may not have considered beforehand.

Insight Vs Solution Sellers Comparison Chart, What's their sales approach? How are they different? Which is better?

7. Don’t lead with your differentiators, lead to them!

Suppose you lead by explaining your solution’s differentiating factors. In that case, you risk not hitting the mark and resonating with prospects about why this is so important. That’s why you need only to introduce your key differentiators once your overall backstory is clear and the prospect gets it. Think about your key differentiators as a series of breadcrumbs you’re leaving for prospects to connect to understand the overall benefit.

8. Master the art of trial closes

Rather than expecting only one effective sales presentation and saying “Sign here,” you need to get your prospect to make small incremental commitments . A commitment is an obligation or a promise; an incremental commitment would be small, bite-sized pieces, or portions. For example, you could ask your prospects to commit to:

Overall, whatever it is, all you want is to gain a small commitment – something that they can agree to do now that’s relatively easy. The idea is, by getting your customers to commit to small things and to follow through on those small things, you’re one step closer to closing those long, complex deals.

9. Ask for feedback

The easiest way to lose the engagement of any audience is to drone on for long periods. While what you’re saying might be compelling, how you deliver it is crucial. That’s why, rather than talking through your sales deck or bullet points on a slide, you should always begin by notifying decision-makers that questions are welcome throughout the presentation. By asking for and receiving feedback this way, your sales reps will know they’re hitting the mark – or when they need to adapt their approach.

10. Ask for the sale

After the prospect understands the product, how it can benefit them, and how easy it will be to implement , ask for the sale . In the sidewalk seller’s case, he asked by saying, “We have it in red, blue, green and yellow. What colour would you like?” Find out what closes work best for you.

Also read: 15 Top Sales Closing Techniques To Increase Close Rates

11. Ask Again

If the customer poses an objection, overcome their objection and ask again. Don’t give up after 1 “No”. Again, in the case of the sidewalk seller, he asks “What else can you get in Singapore for $10”. The majority of sales are closed after the second or third attempt.

You don’t have to sit on a sidewalk with a loudspeaker blasting your every word to employ these techniques; you need to be able to show people how your product can benefit them. So find a way to get in front of your prospects, and make sure to follow these steps to maximise results.

7 Effective Sales Presentation Skills every sales rep must have

Now that we’ve explored some of the most effective sales presentation techniques let’s also recap the sales presentation skills every sales rep needs to possess to close more deals. Discover each sales presentation skill in detail below:

Research & Solution-Based Questioning

The first stage of preparing for a sales presentation is to research your prospect thoroughly; skipping this preparation will likely result in rejection of your ideas. That’s why all salespeople need to be keen researchers of their ideal customers, gathering answers and insights about elements of prospect’s challenges with  typical solution selling questions  such as:

The importance of Solution Selling Vs Product Selling for effective sales presentations

What does  solution selling vs product selling  have to do with sales presentations? Well, product selling involves merely trying to persuade a customer that the product you sell is a better version than the similar products each of your competitors is selling. This is why salespeople using the product selling method in sales presentations spend much of their time going over feature lists and pricing options with disinterested prospects. 

On the other hand, solution selling requires an alternative way of making a sale. By pinpointing the real-world problem your customer is currently facing- you can explain how the product can solve their problem in the best way possible.

Active Listening

If you want your potential customer to pay attention to what you say, you have to be willing to listen to him first. That doesn’t mean just giving your prospect time to speak, but  actively listening  to what they have to say. 

Sales professionals should be  listening 80% of the time and only talking 20% of the time . Of that 20%, half of that should be asking questions, which leaves only 10% for selling and telling. By focusing intently on what information your prospect is giving you about their problem, you can better formulate a personalised offering that they’re more likely to buy. Rather than spending time preparing an unappealing one size fits all type of deal. 

Overall, sales presentations are most likely to be effective when you display body language that shows you’re listening to your prospect, from subtly head nods to small comments that show you agree and understand.

Also read: 6 Personality Traits of a Good Salesperson Vs. a Bad Salesperson


Study after study shows that  people are more receptive to stories  than almost any other type of communication. Our brains are designed not only to crave stories but to remember them and pass on meaningful ones to others. That’s why incorporating storytelling into asking for the sale is so effective.

You can easily do this by creating a hero with a name, a personality, and a practical problem to overcome. However, you must take great care when deciding how to reflect your intended message. Ensure your storytelling speaks directly to your customers by including the same hopes, ambitions, fears, regrets, and disappointments they too possess.

Ultimately, prospects need to perceive you as self-assured to want to work with you. That’s why all sales reps should be confident not only in themselves but in the solution they are selling. To achieve this, all skilled salespeople will practice and refine their sales presentations well ahead of time to ensure that the delivery is articulate and compelling. Alongside employing body language techniques such as:

Objection Handling

All sales reps should be well versed in  listing common objections  people have given in the past and understand the rationale for each objection. By doing this, reps can frame each response to each objection positively and practice it for the sales presentation. Continue reading to  learn common sales objections  and how to overcome them. 

Interpersonal & Rapport Building

Interpersonal skills are small, nuanced behaviours that help build rapport with prospects that hopefully turn effective sales presentations into a long-term trusted relationship. As the saying goes, ‘People do business with people they know, like and trust’. So, of course, you need to build rapport – and quickly. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use your customer’s name and, probably more critically, know how to pronounce it! It helps you connect with them because they feel heard, and well, people love the sound of their names. However, make sure to use their name naturally in the conversation – otherwise, you’ll come off as indigenous. Other types of interpersonal skills include:

Master the art of engaging virtual sales presentations

Online, prospects are easily distracted, and bonds can be harder to build. Technology can complicate the sales process and add a layer of unwanted complexity.

This can all be overcome with adequate preparation, skills and a proven process that engages prospects during virtual presentations, not put them to sleep.

Here at SOCO®, we help teams master selling through video conferencing tools so sales reps can be as effective online as in-person.

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Effective Oral Communication for Sales Presentations 1


Effective oral communication can benefit people in various fields and positions, but it cannot be taught as easily as most personal skills. This article provides strategies and steps for achieving effective oral communication. It is important to keep in mind that practice is essential to acquiring these skills (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999).

Speaking effectively is extremely crucial for success in most positions in a formal working environment. It has been proven that employees (associates) spend more time speaking than writing, whether talking on the phone, conversing informally with colleagues, conducting meetings, or making sales presentations. Research also reveals that the higher an employee moves within an organization, the more important speaking skills become (Tebeaux and Wade 1997).

Clearly, effective oral communication is important in all aspects of one's career. This article focuses only on achieving communication skills relating to sales presentations, including preparing for the presentation, making the presentation, delivery "do's and don'ts" of the presentation, and incorporating visual aids into the presentation.

Figure 1. 


Preparation for the presentation is almost as important as the delivery of the presentation. In sales you must analyze the selling situation and the audience, determine the goal and objective of your presentation, choose and shape the content and the appropriate communication style, and organize the presentation. Each of these presentation preparation steps will be discussed in detail.

Analyzing the Selling Situation

When analyzing the selling situation you must determine why your presentation is essential (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). Knowing the situation will help determine the way you shape your content and choose your style. In this analysis you need to ask yourself the following questions (Tebeaux and Wade 1997):

What is the need for the presentation?

What will happen to the organization after the presentation?

How does the presentation fit into the organization's situation?

In what surroundings will you make your presentation?

How does your presentation relate to your audience's actions?

How can you help the organization?

An example of analyzing the situation would be to conduct background research on the presentation audience to find out what they do, how you can benefit them, and why they asked for your presentation. Analyzing the selling situation can also facilitate answers to other steps in the communication process.

Analyzing the Audience

Analyzing the audience can be difficult. The audience will determine the success of your presentation (your presentation is successful if your audience responds the way you intended). Effective speaking is always dependent on the audience (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). Identifying how your audience will respond to your presentation depends on knowing the following information about your audience: their educational and cultural background, knowledge of the subject matter, position in the organization, and technical expertise. Knowing your audience's personal and professional profiles will help determine what you should say, what you should not say, and the "tone" you should use (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). For example, you need to investigate the personalities of your audience; this will help you determine whether your style should be relaxed and informal or professional and to the point. Questions that can be used in audience analysis include the following:

How much does my audience know about me and my presentation?

What does the audience expect from me?

What is the audience's attitude toward me and my product or service?

What are the ages and genders of the audience?

What position does the audience occupy in the organization?

What is the educational background of the audience?

What are the political and religious views of the audience?

What is the audience's personal information (outside-of-work interests)?

Determining the Goal and Objective

Determining the goal and objective of your presentation will help you design your presentation around a specific purpose. Whether you are trying to sell a product, a service, or an idea, you must keep in mind you are also selling your competence and your value to the organization (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). You must make your purpose evident and relate it to your audience's perspective. Make sure you state the main point in the beginning of the presentation so that your audience knows what the rest of the presentation will cover. State your objective in one simple sentence. For example, once you have determined your objectives, use the "T3" approach: tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and finally tell them what you told them. If you use this approach you will not digress and your main points will be emphasized.

Choosing and Shaping the Content

Choosing and shaping the content can be very complicated. You want to keep your sales presentation short, interesting, and relevant. Choosing meaningful information that will appeal to your audience and situation is very important. For example, including statistics, testimonials, cases, illustrations, history, and narratives in your presentation can help convey your message (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). Overall, make the content interesting, but make sure it pertains to the goal of your presentation.

Choosing the Appropriate Style

Choosing the appropriate presentation style will determine the effectiveness of your content (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). How you speak can make or break a sales presentation. Questions you need to ask yourself as the presenter include the following:

What kind of tone do I want to use?

What kind of image do I want to create?

What level of language (based on audience analysis) do I use?

How formal should I be?

What approach does the audience expect from me?

The most effective style of oral communication is a conversational style because it suggests you are really talking to your audience. This type of communication includes concrete language, short sentences, and a warm and friendly tone (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). Do not read your presentation to the audience. Reading sounds impersonal and unnatural. Instead, rehearse what you are going to say because this is crucial for the success of your presentation (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999).

Organizing Your Presentation

Organizing your presentation involves ordering how you present your ideas. You must organize your presentation to comply with your audience's needs and perspective (Tebeaux and Wade 1997). Usually a presentation starts with an introduction that embodies your main point and a preview of what is ahead, the main body of information that supports the main point stated in the introduction, and a conclusion that reiterates and reinforces your main point. Grab the audience's attention in your introduction and leave the audience with a positive feeling about you and your product, idea, or service with your conclusion. MAKE AN IMPACT! The opening and closing of the presentation are extremely important, so make sure you spend extra time preparing these sections. Include an interesting story or quote that relates to your presentation; it will grab the audience's attention and make your presentation memorable.

Making the Presentation

When you begin your presentation, greet your audience and create a comfortable atmosphere by starting with small talk that is unrelated to your presentation topic. After you feel prepared and comfortable, start your presentation. Stick to the plan for the presentation; tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and at the end tell them what you have told them. Do not digress, keep to the time allowed, and when concluding ask if there are any questions (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999). Do not leave your audience with questions; clarify all uncertainties to the best of your ability. If you can't answer a question immediately then let them know you will follow up.

Delivery "Do's and Don'ts"

Delivery entails a variety of "do's and don'ts" (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999).

Do keep appearance clean and professional

Do speak clearly (judge the acoustics of the room)

Do maintain eye contact (do not look at only one individual)

Do be enthusiastic and confident (it will reflect in your presentation)

Do keep an eye on your audience's body language (watch audience reactions)

Don't tell jokes

Don't talk to your visual aids

Don't rush or deliberately talk slowly

Don't speak in monotones (vary speed, pitch, and tone)

Don't move around too much (i.e., pacing or nervous twitches)

Some important points to emphasize are your voice (how you say it is as important as what you say), your body language (your body movements express your true attitude and thoughts), and your appearance (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999).

The success of a sales presentation relies heavily on your delivery style. All the preparation work can go smoothly, but if you do not deliver your presentation with confidence, enjoyment, assertiveness, and enthusiasm, then all the preparation is worthless.

Visual Aids

Visual aids, if used correctly, can enhance interest in a presentation (University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1999). Effective communication is both visual and verbal. According to Tebeaux and Wade (1997), visual aids can be used to show relationships among ideas so that the audience can understand and remember what you said.

Tebeaux and Wade (1997) also state that a presentation with effective visual aids is more persuasive, more professional, and more interesting than one that does not utilize visual aids. Effective visual aids should be kept simple, relate to your topic, fit the needs of the audience, and be clear and easy to understand. For example, a good visual aid would be an overhead transparency that shows a simple breakdown of numbers in pie chart form. Be careful; do not rely on overheads to communicate your messages, only to enhance your message.


In Conversation as Communication , Blair remarked that "communication is best achieved through simple planning and control." By following the outlined steps and lots of practice, you can acquire effective oral communication skills for making sales presentations. Effective communication is important for a successful career in business (Covey 1989; Doswell 1998).

Blair, G.M. 1992. Conversation as Communication . NY: United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Covey, S. 1989. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People . NY: Simon and Schuster.

Doswell, C. 1998. Communication skills .

Tebeaux, E., and S. Wade. 1997. Designing Effective Oral Presentations . Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

University of Newcastle upon Tyne. 1999. Communication skills: Making oral presentations . Department of Chemical and Process Engineering.

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6 Essential Sales Communication Skills

Last week, I wrote about  what successful sales conversations have in common . For any customer conversation to be productive, your customers must understand what you’re saying, see the value in what you have to offer, and trust you.

How do you convey value, build trust, and persuade customers to buy? In my experience working with sales organizations, the first 80% of the sales process—marketing, product training and sales enablement efforts—is critical.

But, it’s the last 20%—how you communicate in front of the customer—that more often makes or breaks your success.

How confident are you in your sales team’s ability to perform when their moments arrive—when they get in front of the customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it takes real skill. And, building the necessary skills demands preparation and practice.

Master six Moment of Truth Readiness ™ communication skills needed to sell effectively. By helping your salespeople master the following six Moment of Truth Readiness skills, you can ensure that they’re game-time ready and prepared for any interaction—virtual or face-to-face—with today’s buyers.

Messages You need be able to quickly create a customer-centric message that demonstrates you understand a customer’s situation and challenges.

Stories You should be able to articulate a concise, memorable story that demonstrates your product’s or service’s value, and which the customer finds intriguing, relevant, and entertaining.

Interactions It’s critical that you’re able to create and sustain a dialogue, where the customer walks away from the interaction feeling valued, listened to, and cared about.

Executive Presence In order to be perceived as credible and worthy of a buyer’s time, you should possess the ability to remain poised, convey passion, and demonstrate expertise in challenging or high-stakes situations.

Presentations When presenting, your goal is to deliver a presentation that ultimately leaves the customer in a frame of mind to want to do something different. To want to take the next step with you.

Conversations You need to be able to engage customers in a dialogue that makes them want to continue discussing their business challenges with you, because they believe you’ll add value and help them to be successful.

Do you really know what happens when your salespeople get in front of the customer?  If you’re a sales leader, challenge yourself and examine how you’re investing your time and money to ready your sales force.

If the investments you’re making in your organization aren’t bearing the ripe, juicy fruit you expect, it’s possible that members of your sales team may not be as prepared for their moments of truth as they could be.

To discuss your sales challenges and how Mandel can help, call us at 1.831.475.8202 or browse our  Sales Readiness Training Programs . I also welcome your questions, so feel free to drop me a line at  [email protected] .

Greg Madsen

Greg Madsen

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Learn to make great sales presentations to communicate value in a compelling way.

Professional sales presentation training is a must for every organization. Sales representatives and their presentations, if done poorly, can cost tons in terms of lost sales, market share and company reputation. Your sales presentation leaves a big impression – and you don’t get another chance. Unfortunately, many sales professionals do not recognize how they can make better sales presentations. We can help even your most experienced sales people improve their sales presentation skills. 

This Sales Presentation Training focuses on skills professional speakers rely on to create and present powerful, memorable business presentations that move people to action.

When your people practice their sales presentation, are they practicing the right things? Do they know how to use the power of “pause and punch?” Are they getting their timing right?  Are they mastering the art of persuasion? Or, are they just practicing to remember what to say? This sales presentation skill training can instantly improve the sales success by improving your sales people's presentations to prospects and customers.

Great sales presentations do more than just deliver information—they move people to action. They educate, motivate and persuade buyers.

In short, great sales presentations make a connection with decision makers so that they can better hear, absorb and act on your message.Professional sales presentation training can make the difference.This powerful, interactive Presentations Skills Training for Sales Professionals workshop helps sales people become more confident and effective in making sales presentations to individuals and groups of any size. Participants will recognize their strengths and understand their challenges. Through interactive learning, practice, video review and individual coaching, we help them develop their own presentation style. Participants become more comfortable and effective in delivering stronger, more influential sales presentations.

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This training can be presented in one, two, or three-day formats and can include video feedback with individual professional coaching sessions. 

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Top 30+ Sales Skills You Need to Become a Great Sales Rep (and Add to Your Resume)

sales skills

Do you want to get better at sales? And beef up your sales resume so you could land a higher-paying sales job with generous compensation? There are certain hard and soft sales skills you need to master, and of course, back it up with increased revenue numbers credited to your performance.

We’ve done our research and compiled the top 30 sales representative skills you need to master if you want to achieve complete sales enlightenment.

But first, before we dive into this, we should note that while we have some generalized notion of “selling” modern sales organizations have grown in complexity and have evolved into a roster of functions — such as marketing, business development, closing, account management, and customer success — that require different specialized skill sets for their respective teams.

Table of Contents

What Are Hard Skills In Sales? What Are Qualities of a Good Salesperson? What Actually Makes a Great Sales Rep? What Sales Skills Should I Put On My Resume?

Soft Skills For Sales Professionals

Hard Skills For Sales Professionals

Role-Critical Skills For Sales Professionals

Top Traits of Successful Salespeople

Technology Will Never Replace Sales Talent Master These Sales Skills & Get Ahead of The Competition How to List Sales Skills On Your Resume

What Are Hard Skills In Sales?

Hard skills  for sales are formal and technical abilities learned from academic institutions, workplaces, seminars, mentorships, and training courses, including role-critical skills that are specialized for a specific function.  Soft skills , on the other hand, are informal abilities that are learned over a person’s lifetime and usually relate to the person’s aptitude in performing common tasks and connecting with other people.

What Are Qualities of a Good Salesperson?

These broadly refer to a person’s mindset, attitude, and behavioral tendencies. While the boundaries between skills and traits sometimes become hazy, we try to avoid these cases to maintain clarity. We list the top sales skills and  essential traits  we believe sales professionals need to excel in their fields and outperform their competition.

What Actually Makes a Great Sales Rep?

Many books, articles and studies have attempted to identify the  characteristics of a high-performing salesperson , but consensus has yet to be achieved. Many agree on a few indispensable skills but otherwise recommend disparate skill sets and desirable qualities. We found at least 30 common denominators and listed the sales skills you need to master — and to put in your resume to level up in your sales career.

What Sales Skills Should I Put On My Resume?

We compiled a full list of 30+ sales skills you need to master to become a top performer who generates consistent revenue and vault yourself to the top of the totem pole in the sales field.

soft skills for sales

1) Relationship-building

The ability to positively engage other people, build long-term relationships, and form mutually beneficial networks will find frequent use in any salesperson’s workflow. From meeting clients and gathering referrals to soliciting advice and achieving team objectives, relationship-building skills enable a salesperson to accomplish tasks easier and make better-informed decisions. Relationship-building involves trust, rapport, and a genuine desire to help other people. Relationship-building leads to  relationship selling , so don’t think it’s just a bunch of fluff. This creates opportunities if you play your cards right!

2) Knowing When To Shut Up

That’s right.  Shut up and listen ! Listening is the best method to understand where clients are coming from, what their pain points are, and how you can effectively provide solutions for their challenges. Without listening skills, a sales professional risks compromising other stages in the sales process such as lead qualification and customer-solution matching.

3) Time Management

While selling involves money, something a lot more precious gets exchanged and utilized along the way — time. Your client’s time is important. So is yours. A salesperson’s ability to optimize time improves productivity and cost efficiency, creating the environment needed for high performance. This soft skill coupled with software automation, analytics and other technologies delivers significant ROI for any business.

Pro Tip: Become a Google Chrome powerhouse by learning how to use these  Chrome Extensions  to maximize sales productivity and efficiency!

4) Storytelling

Selling not only requires showing the features of your product but also convincing customers that these features will solve their problems or will benefit them in some significant way. In most cases, you need to articulate your message by  telling a story that deeply resonates with your target audience . A lack of baseline communication skills is a glaring red flag for anyone planning to enter the world of sales.

5) Research/Information Gathering

Accurate information about clients, market trends, rival solutions and other business intelligence enables a salesperson to make better decisions, engage the right customers better, and  close high value deals while shortening the sales cycle . Your CRM, competitive analysis tools, rival websites, and social media are great places where you can start your research.

6) Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

Having an ocean of data is hardly enough to get you anywhere, however. You still need  critical thinking skills  to process information, analyze disparate data, and sift through the heap for relevant bits of information that will help you formulate solutions for problems your prospects or your team are experiencing.

7) Affinity with Technology

Tomorrow’s sales professionals must at least be comfortable around digital devices. This makes it easier to adapt to emerging technological advances in AI, big data, and other fields that will transform the way organizations run businesses and the way brands engage audiences.

8) Collaboration

Sales teams rarely operate as a one-person army . Hence, the ability to align one’s personal goals, workflows, and schedule with those of others is an important skill for sales professionals. Sales teams follow a game plan that assigns different roles and requires different outcomes from members. Most of these roles and outcomes are dependent on each other for collective success. That means the lack of teamwork and flat leadership will likely lead to unwanted outcomes and missed objectives.

sales representative skills

9) Product Knowledge

Inadequate product knowledge is unacceptable in the world of selling. Any sales professional who goes to the field without having an intimate knowledge of the features, benefits, and weaknesses of their product will have a hard time creating effective pitches and connecting customer needs to the best solutions available. Deep and extensive product knowledge is a prerequisite to high sales performance. In addition,  demonstrating that you are a subject matter expert generates trust  among your customers.

10) Strong Knowledge of Common Business Software & Sales Enablement Solutions

Sales ops and  sales enablement  technology — through products such as CRMs, document management software, and  workplace productivity apps  — makes selling easier and more profitable. Sales professionals should learn how to use the software, platforms and other tools their organizations use to run operations and engage customers.

11) Business Communication

Your talent at  engaging prospects during the sales conversation  or articulating a concept can still be honed for the business landscape. It is imperative that sales professionals learn the best practices in both oral (e.g., phone calls, presentations, pitches, etc.) and written (e.g., proposals, memos, referral requests, etc) communications. This will help you become more effective at connecting with clients and making a positive impact in how they perceive your brand.

12) Client Engagement

Getting along with people and having good communication skills are baseline traits. For high-performing sales professionals, there is a science and a method for establishing and maintaining excellent client engagement. For example, there are  sales call techniques  that can help you build rapport with a prospect, research methods that will help you glean valuable information about a customer, and communication techniques that will allow you to nurture long term relationships with clients.

13) Active Listening

There are different levels of listening but you need to operate at full throttle when it comes to your customers.  Active listening in sales  requires focus as well as occasional/follow-up queries. These allow you not only to glean complete and clear information from your clients but also to build rapport and demonstrate that you genuinely care about their concerns.

14) Conflict Management and Resolution

In sales, expect to encounter regular episodes of complaints, conflicts, and rejections. These incidents may involve just about anyone, including clients, peers, management and other parties. Because these can occur at any time, sales professionals need to learn and practice  how to proactively handle objections  and manage conflicts. High-performing salespeople have been known to use these incidents as a platform for converting new leads or an avenue for demonstrating a workplace solution to management.

15) Sales Presentations & Sales Demos

In the beginning, there was PowerPoint. Now you have Prezi, Keynote, and other presentation software. Whatever tool you use, being good at presenting and public speaking is a great skill to have in the world of selling.  Excellent sales demos & presentations  convey subject mastery and build trust around your brand. For B2B sellers, conducting a lively and compelling demo is also a requisite skill.

16) Social Media & Social Selling

Because social has become a major part of our digital lives, many companies now employ social media managers to oversee their brand’s online presence. You need not be as technically adept as these specialists but  you need to know your way around social media . For B2B sellers, knowing the best practices and tricks for engaging prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks will help bolster your lead generation and conversion efforts.

skills required for sales and marketing

17) Prospecting

Prospecting  helps you fill your customer pipeline with entities that may be interested in your product. The selling process practically starts at this stage. This skill is a staple across all roles but is critically important for sales reps. 18) Lead Qualification

This skill allows sellers to gather and analyze information about a prospect that will show them which available solutions or product features directly  addresses a prospect’s pain points . It may also indicate whether there’s a mismatch between your product and the prospect, allowing sellers to save time by referring the prospect to other solutions providers and focusing on the next lead.

19) Contract Negotiation

Selling is easily  the art of negotiation . Because of its relevance to any field, negotiation skills may as well be classified in any of the categories we listed. However, contract negotiation is especially important for closers, account executives and managers. Contract negotiation involves establishing a climate where your company and your prospect can set mutual expectations and benefits.

RELATED:  PODCAST 20: Managing the Sales Negotiation Process Like a Pro

20) Policy Knowledge

Sales directors, managers and other leaders are required to be extensively aware of their organization’s governance and policy issues. Policies are tied with a company’s vision and its strategic goals, serving as standards within which sales teams operate.

21) Referral Marketing

Collecting qualified referrals  is one excellent way of keeping your pipeline humming with new leads. This skill is especially important for sales reps.

22) Closing Skills

This skill may well represent the essence of selling, encapsulating the moment when a prospect finally realizes, accepts and buys (literally) the rationale behind your product.  Closing sales deals  should be a staple across the sales organization but the task of closing is often assigned to more senior sales reps and account executives in larger companies.

23) Client Nurturing AKA Customer Success

Many businesses realize that making a sale doesn’t necessarily terminate the buyer journey. Depending on your product or service, you can still offer additional value and generate more business with existing customers. The trick is to provide VIP treatment and excellent customer service to your paying customers. While separate customer success departments handle much of the heavy lifting, some smart sales organizations assign  post-sale relationship management  tasks to account managers or customer success leaders.

qualities of a good salesperson

24) Self-Motivated/Ambitious

Call it grit or toughness, self-motivated and ambitious sellers can work under pressure,  take rejections gracefully , then bounce back and still beat expectations compared to less motivated peers.

25) Trainable, Coachable, Open to New Ideas

Sales is evolving and sellers who refuse to relinquish outmoded practices will fall by the wayside.  Salespeople must embrace change  and be willing to learn new ways of doing things in order to succeed in the business landscapes of tomorrow.

26) Adaptable

Adaptability  is a survival mechanism not only in nature but also in the world of sales. Tools have changed and so have customer demographics. There are new engagement channels to explore. Smart sales professionals know they need to sail the currents of change to get to their destinations.

27) Sociable

Gone are the days when lone wolves ruled. The workplaces and the sales deals of tomorrow will be driven by  teamwork and collaboration . Smart sellers need to be sociable at all levels.

28) Responsible

Top sellers own their mistakes and  hold themselves responsible  for their performance. They never make excuses nor point fingers when things don’t happen as expected.

29) Goal-Oriented

Excellent sales professionals are motivated by the notion that:

Given this mindset, these sellers will exert all effort to meet or surpass targets.

Top-notch  sales leadership  is the driving force behind building highly motivated, goal-oriented sales reps.

30) Empathetic

Successful sellers are almost always  buyer-centric . They might be proud of their products but they’re more concerned about helping customers solve problems. These sellers have well-developed empathy that enables them to understand where clients are coming from and determine their pain points.

31) Passionate About Selling

Even more potent than grit or ambition, a  passion for selling  may well be the top trait for sales professionals. Doing what you love will simply compel you to excel in your field and achieve success consistently.

If you are a visual learner, check out  the Complete List of Sales Skills and Traits Infographic .

Sales Skills to add to your sales resume

Technology Will Never Replace Sales Talent

Many companies are revving up their branding and marketing strategies and by adopting technology enablers such as CRMs, sales automations, and data analytics .

While technology delivers a positive impact, talent remains the primary and most valuable asset of any sales organization. From sales reps to sales coaches, talent ultimately keeps pipelines humming and revenues coming in.

Master These Sales Skills & Get Ahead of The Competition

selling skills for your sales resume

Sales is a highly competitive field where rival brands try to outshine each other in the eyes of their consumers. In sales organizations, professionals also compete as teams or as individuals. With gamification becoming more fun and performance metrics becoming more accurate, sellers can better assess their strengths and deficiencies and make remedial measures to bolster their credentials.

You can identify which sales skills you need to learn or train to get to the next level. The right selling skills listed on your sales resume will advance your career and get you to the next success milestone.

RELATED:  How to Get Better at Sales (Essential Guide and 4-Step Checklist)

There are many ways to learn new skills. You can check your organization’s knowledge base or inquire whether any of the upcoming training programs are good for you. There might even be a mentor willing to coach you into shape. You can also take an online course or enroll in a brick-and-mortar college.

Any which way you choose, the bottom line is this: never stop learning!

How to List Sales Skills On Your Resume

There are a few options on how to go about listing sales skills on your resume for your next sales job. Basically, you can either weave them into your professional experience section, especially when describing the sales results you’ve achieved in your previous jobs. Or you can create a separate “Skills” section and explicitly list your selling skills there.

To identify your best skills, or the skills you want to highlight the most, you’ll want to reflect on your past experience and ask your peers. There are a few ways of going about that:

Indeed  has a great and easy-to-read guide on how to use your sales skills to your advantage in your sales resume when looking for new opportunities. Check it out!

Also published on Medium .

Thank you Max for a quick compilation of all the sales skills required for a modern Sales person. I am new to selling , I sell SaaS product , I would request you to throw some light on how i can improve my skills on a daily basis to get good at selling modern technologies and products

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I just completed this article. Many thanks for sharing. Kindly direct me to links where I can develop my soft skills please.

Many thanks

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great, wonderful , very helpful thank you so much from How to understand people better

What is meant by coordination between mind and brain

What is actually needed for emotional bonding

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Enlightening even at my age.

sales presentation communication skills

Max Altschuler is the founder and former CEO of Sales Hacker. He's authored two books - 1) Hacking Sales and 2) Sales Engagement, both published by Wiley. His work has been published in Forbes, Time, Inc, HBR, and the MIT Sloane Review. Now founder and GP at GTMfund.

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Top 12 Sales Skills for Your Resume + Examples

Nick Herschel

Convince hiring managers you have the right skills to manage clients and close contracts by checking out our top 12 sales skills for your resume with examples below.

A car salesman uses her negotiation and customer service skills to sell a vehicle to a customer

Although there are many types of sales jobs, certain skills are universal and necessary to thrive in the highly-competitive sales industry.

These sales skills can range from hard to soft skills , and even include natural personality traits. To impress employers, you’ll need to include at least some of these on your resume.

Here are the top 12 sales skills with examples to show you how to include these top resume skills .

Hard sales skills

Hard sales skills are the technical skills needed to survive and thrive in the sales industry. These skills can’t be learned without work experience or classroom and on-the-job training.

Here’s a list of seven hard skills for sales professionals that hiring managers love to see on your resume:

Contract negotiation

Selling, especially in large quantities, often involves signing lengthy contracts with businesses or senior employees, such as C-level executives. Everything from quantity and volume to pricing and contract length within these agreements is up for discussion.

Your client will be prepared to discuss the terms and will be looking to get the best deal possible for their business. You’ll need great negotiation skills to navigate their demands and give in-depth explanations if you cannot meet their requirements.

Sales software

Having computer skills is essential to being a great salesperson because you’ll need to be proficient with the various software programs commonly used in your industry.

Nearly every sales department uses software to conduct business by managing their records and clients, tracking leads and conversions, and communicating with customers.

However, you don’t want to simply list “computer skills” or “software skills” on your sales resume  because it isn’t clear enough to the hiring manager.

Instead, list the specific software you’re proficient in, and show your willingness to learn new programs when writing your sales cover letter or while being interviewed.

Here’s an example of how to list your sales software skills on your resume:

Product knowledge

You can’t convince people to buy your company’s product if you don’t know its competitive advantage or how it differentiates itself from the rest of the market. To be a good salesperson, you need to know everything about your product to create a great sales pitch to the customer.

You technically shouldn’t list “product knowledge” as a skill in your resume skills section , but you can find ways to demonstrate it throughout your resume, and certainly in an interview.

Here’s an example of how to flex your product knowledge as a skill in your work experience section :

An example of how to display your product knowledge on your sales resume

Prospecting & discovery

Every customer you’ve ever signed a contract with at some point started as a new prospect for your company.

Closing deals and signing contracts are great, but having good quality leads and finding new clients are equally important if you want to stay competitive and have a steady influx of sales revenue for your company.

Employers looking for a salesperson will be looking for their ability to prospect and discover new sales leads and clients. If you’re proficient at it, ensure you include prospecting and discovery as skills on your resume.

Sales presentations

Sales presentations are one of your most important tools available when establishing a relationship with new clients. A well-executed sales presentation can not only help build a connection with your customer but also help distinguish your business from competitors.

To properly pitch a product using a sales presentation, you’ll need excellent presenting skills, including good communication, confidence, and public speaking.

You’ll also need to be proficient at using PowerPoint to make easy-to-digest graphs and numbers for your clients to read. While it’s not a game-breaker, if you’re struggling to find sales skills to list, listing you’re proficient with Microsoft PowerPoint is a worthwhile choice.

Customer service

When dealing with clients, especially in the prospecting and discovery stage, you’ll need to be available (sometimes 24/7) to address their needs, issues, and concerns regarding the contract and the product or service that you’re selling.

During your career as a salesperson, you’ll also have some customers and clients that will frustrate you at some point. But, as in many industries, in your company’s eyes, the customer is always right (even if they’re wrong).

For these reasons, to properly manage and handle your clients, you’ll need excellent customer service skills .

Here’s an example of how to include your customer service skills on your resume:

Personally added 20+ long-term clients within a 2 year period. Ensured swift and prompt communication, and conducted a formal survey after each delivery to measure success and customer satisfaction

Client management

Managing your company’s relationships with clients and customers is essential if you want to keep their business. As such, many employers will require sales candidates to show evidence of their client management skills on their resume.

Successfully managing clients means:

Soft sales skills

Now that we’ve gone over some of the hard skills needed to succeed in sales, reviewing the soft skills you’ll need to be a successful salesperson is equally important.

Soft skills include a variety of things, such as personality traits and interpersonal skills, and are sought-after by hiring managers because they often can’t be taught in a classroom setting. You’ll either have them, or you won’t.

Below we’ve included five great soft skills for sales that any hiring manager love to see displayed on your resume.


Communication skills are necessary for nearly everything a sales associate does. From the very beginning of prospecting and discovering clients, all the way to negotiating contracts, you’ll need good communication skills to be able to sell to customers.

You could be the most knowledgeable salesperson in the world. However, if customers feel they can’t comfortably or effectively communicate with you, they’ll be less likely to buy your products or services.

Here’s an example of six communication skills to list on your resume:

Additionally, non-verbal communication, such as body language and confidence, is important, but it’s not something you’ll typically list in your skills section. Here’s an example of how to display good non-verbal communication skills in your work experience:

An example of how to display your excellent non-verbal communication skills on your resume

Time management

Effective time management skills are vital for salespersons because you’ll have more flexibility with your work schedule, and your superiors won’t actively manage you.

Instead, you’ll be expected to produce results without consistent oversight. Usually, managers view sales outcomes as more important than the sales process itself. They’ll want to see high sales volumes from you but will often give you the freedom to decide how to approach and meet the company’s sales goals.

Hiring managers want to know their sales team can prioritize tasks, avoid distractions, and pursue leads rather than procrastinate or get drawn into less critical work.

Emphasize your time management skills to show that you can handle the job by meeting sales targets without needing daily oversight from a manager.

Interpersonal skills

Whether it’s meeting face-to-face, over the internet, or on the phone with clients, sales jobs require a lot of daily human interaction. You’ll need great interpersonal skills to handle all the interactions required to close deals with clients and customers.

Interpersonal skills are typically personality traits, such as being confident and having empathy. They can’t be taught and are instead developed naturally over time.

For this reason, a sales manager will see interpersonal skills as valuable tools when paired with professional experience.

Traits such as the persistence to keep going and not take rejections personally (which you’ll likely receive a lot of) are valued in the sales industry, as is having confidence when doing sales pitches.

Here’s a list of nine great interpersonal skills for a salesperson:


Deadlines, targets, and goals will always change in the sales industry, and you’ll need to adjust your sales tactics and processes to meet any (sometimes last-minute) alterations.

As a sales professional, you’ll need great adaptability to roll with the punches and take on new day-to-day challenges as they come your way.


Suddenly your supplier tells you they can’t deliver a product at a particular price point because of a supply chain problem or an increase in production costs after you’ve already agreed upon a price with your client.

The last thing you want is your client to refuse to sign a contract with your business, and your manager will expect you to fix this issue (even though it’s technically not a fault of your own). So, you’ve got to be able to solve the problem before it reaches upper management.

Last-minute issues can arise in any industry, especially sales, where there are a ton of parameters involved in signing a single deal or contract. You’ll need to be equipped with great problem solving skills to develop strategies to cope with issues that arise on the job.

Here’s an example of how to display your problem-solving skills on your resume:

Acquired 5 new 10-year contracts from existing clients by addressing long-term issues, such as delivery delayments, last-minute price fluctuations, and communication issues

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Nick Herschel

Written by Nick Herschel

Nick is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Resume Genius, where he assists people in writing outstanding resumes and CVs. Recently equipped with his MBA, you can find him... more

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Communication Skills Training for Sales Reps: How to Boost Team Performance with eLearning

sales presentation communication skills

Some people could sell a bicycle to a fish or talk a hound off a meat truck. Their secret? They’ve mastered the art of sales communication. Unfortunately, communication is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to take for granted. But if you look at any flourishing sales department, you’ll notice they have one thing in common – the gift of gab. But this is not necessarily a natural talent. This ability can be taught, practiced, and improved upon over time! Keep reading to find out how to create effective sales communication skills training and deliver it online with ease.

What Is Sales Communication?

Sales communication is the art of exchanging meaningful messages that demonstrate a product’s value. The interaction can occur both face-to-face or virtually. While the ultimate aim is to close sales, effective sales communication occurs when your team approaches the customer as a problem-solver (versus “product-pusher”).

Why Is Sales Communication Training Important? 

When it comes to communication in sales, there’s more than meets the eye. At its core, sales communication is all about asking the right questions and listening closely to customers. That way, your employees will be able to better strategize when fine-tuning their message, building rapport, and not only closing sales but fostering brand and customer loyalty. 

Evidently, sales and communication skills are essential! But, of course, practice makes perfect. And too many ill-informed errors during the sales process can really do a number on your business’ reputation and profits. Online sales communication training provides employees with a safe simulated environment in which to err without negative consequences. 

Since humans learn best from experience, the more your training environment mimics the pressure and problems of the sales process, the more beneficial it will be.

8 Crucial Sales Communication Skills

It’s one thing to recognize the importance of sales communication training, but yet another to execute it well. There are so many dimensions of communication, including nuances, body language, and reading between the lines. So before you create a plan for employee training , you’ll need to know which skills are the most important to hone. 

1. Know everything about your products 

To be taken seriously by your clients, you need to speak with authority. This involves gaining the knowledge to become a confident, convincing, and credible professional. So, provide your sales reps with comprehensive information on your products: their functionalities, advantages, values for customers, etc. 

2. Familiarize yourself with sales standards and best practices 

The core of this skill is aligning your customers’ needs with their pain points in order to deliver a sales experience that aligns with your brand. There are countless sales theories and models that demonstrate what influences a buyer’s decision, including the BANT framework, “right set of circumstances,” and “buying formula” theories of selling. Understanding buyer motivations is key to effective sales communication.

3. Practice active listening 

While most people listen, few of us have mastered active listening. According to Stephen R. Covey, “The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” That’s where the “active” in active listening comes in. Active listening involves making eye contact, nodding to let customers know you’re “with” them, and repeating things back with follow-up questions to ensure you’re on the same page.

4. Understand the nuances of body language

Knowing the nuances of nonverbal language is critical to effective sales communication. Not only does it help you send out the right signals, but it helps you get a good read on what a customer is feeling at that moment. That way, rather than missing out on key cues by trying to prepare your next response, you’ll be able to anticipate where the conversation is headed and adjust smoothly.  

5. Be authentic

Nothing is more grounding than an authentic person who makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. As such, authentic salespeople enable customers to drop their guard and communicate more freely. This, in turn, empowers salespeople to target a customer’s precise problem and solve it with a sale! But authenticity is tricky, since – by nature – it can’t be faked. You’ll need to forget you’re on the sales floor, to some degree, and approach customers without having an obvious angle. 

6. Handle objections with grace

Communication in sales contexts involves the delicate balancing act of moving toward the result you intend without overstepping boundaries. In other words, it involves “convincing without coercing.” Handling objections is difficult, but few things are more off-putting than a salesperson who invades your space, can’t pick up on a clue, or won’t take no for an answer. 

When you pester or coerce someone, you are hammering the same points over and over. The trick is understanding why the customer isn’t biting, in order to steer the conversation in a more fruitful direction.

7. Be comfortable with silence

For many, silence can be unsettling. As such, we have the inclination to “fill” silences with idle chatter or questions. But in sales communication, this actually works against you. Embracing silence gives your customer the chance to think their responses through, and it gives you time to think and/or anticipate what those responses might be to react appropriately. In essence, effective sales communication involves “being comfortable with being uncomfortable.” 

8. Practice your presentation skills

Effective sales communication also entails practicing your presentation skills. Simple public speaking devices like “pause and punch” come to mind here, in which salespeople leverage the timing of pauses to enhance suspense, curiosity, and thus interest. But presenting products isn’t all about you and your sales team – it’s about finding your unique style of being authentic and engaging, all while speaking confidently.

How to Create Online Sales Communication Training

Now that we’ve covered the most crucial sales and communication skills that your employees need to acquire, it’s time to put it all into practice. Traditional sales training takes place in face-to-face contexts or on-site workshops. But now, the way of the day is online training. Not only is it far more effective and engaging, but you minimize overhead costs and disruptions to regular business operations. 

If you’ve never created an online course before, you might imagine some insurmountable learning curve. But most of it can be eliminated with the right software. So keep reading. We’re going to break this process down for you in 4 simple steps.  

Step 1. Conduct a training needs analysis

While conducting your training needs analysis, it’s important to develop a strategy that clearly outlines your learning goals (what you want to teach) and learning objectives (what skills employees should achieve). 

SWOT is a key acronym that you’ll need to know here. It is indispensable when gauging which knowledge and skills gaps your sales team has. SWOT stands for:

SWOT analysis

SWOT training needs analysis

While SWOT analyses look great on paper, they’re utterly useless without properly aligning it with your unique training needs . The key is to focus on your weaknesses vs. strengths. For example, your sales team might be naturally extroverted and outgoing. But if they’re unable to, say, turn “refunds” into “replacements,” then that’s a weakness. Remember, you’re trying to fill knowledge gaps. As such, your training should emphasize the weaknesses versus strengths revealed by your SWOT analysis. As far as your strengths go, if something isn’t “broken,” then there’s no need to “fix” it. 

One of the best ways to put SWOT into practice is by creating a “skills matrix” to assess the skills specific to your sales team, as exemplified below.

Skill matrix and competency evaluation diagram

Skill matrix and competency evaluation diagram

Step 2. Research and create an outline

You can’t find a solution to an unknown problem. So now that you’ve clarified which areas need improvement, you can conduct research with purpose and direction. That way, the content that results from it will be focused, relevant, and highly applicable.

But research is a bit trickier when it comes to communication in sales. In this case, your greatest resources will be your sales team and customers. In other words, now is a great time to conduct surveys with thoughtful questions that not only measure and assess the way your team handles certain situations in the sales process, but also their performance in the eyes of customers.  

The image below provides a sample survey containing thoughtful, open-ended questions that you can distribute internally to your team. But these barely scratch the surface. Try thinking of more questions on your own.  

In addition to surveying your team and sales prospects, there are countless credible sources dealing with topics like non-verbal communication, which is a subsection of the broader study of emotional intelligence. The psychology literature in this domain is immense and will help you train your sales team to develop the 8 key sales communication skills we covered earlier. 

Once you’ve researched everything you need to address your learning goals and objectives, you then have all the pieces of the puzzle you need to turn it into an outline or a curriculum! 

Step 3. Create content

Now it’s time to get writing to flesh it out! Your content should provide your sales personnel with three types of opportunities:

There are a few types of role-play scenarios that are super helpful for sales communication training, including:

The “on-the-fence” customer 

There are always going to be customers who are hesitant or have many objections to hurdle over before you can close the sale. This is where your employees are going to have to practice their powers of persuasion. These customers are highly convertible when you ask the right questions. But remember: persist, but don’t be a pest! Let them climb down from the fence instead of pushing them off. 

The “dissatisfied” or “cranky” customer

This sales communication scenario is classic, yet one of the hardest to master. When you master it, you can spot cranky customers from a mile away and predetermine how best to disarm them. This scenario also enables employees to flex their active listening skills.

The “know it all” customer

This type of scenario isn’t necessarily negative. It also includes detail-oriented, tech-savvy, and/or professional-level customers. So the key sales communication skill here is simply knowing your stuff and being authentic. Let’s say a passionate gamer came in looking for an ergonomic gaming chair. If you know your stuff, then it’s easy to build rapport and close a sale. But even if you’re not a gamer, per se, taking a genuine interest in their needs and asking personal questions about their hobby goes a long way. 

The “frugal” customer

These customers are hard to combat, but salespeople often turn these customers around using the right sales communication tactics. Here, the tone of voice is everything. Sometimes, they’re indignant at the price. But other times, their tone is more of a question – that is, they’re inviting you to justify the cost. So many key sales communication tactics are at play in these scenarios, including speaking with authority, building trust with authenticity, and practicing active listening.

Of course, this list is generic and goes for most sales contexts. Your business is bound to have its own unique yet typical scenarios.

Now that you know what your course should include, look at your outline and note down (in your computer or in a physical notebook, whatever you like) which lessons/topics/modules are ideal for the core, informational part of the course, where assessments should be added, and for which modules you need to create role-play scenarios. 

Once you have a course structure, it’s time to prepare content for your course. Write a script and find all the necessary media. 

Step 4. Build your course

Now that you have all the content for your course, you need to put it together with an authoring tool. The eLearning market offers innumerous tools to help you build slides and create assessments and quizzes, but we’ve already discussed how important it is to use role-plays for sales training as well. And only a few authoring solutions can create them, such as iSpring Suite .  

Now let’s see how to build a course with iSpring.

1. Install iSpring Suite

First, download the free iSpring Suite trial and launch the program. It will appear as an additional tab on the top PowerPoint ribbon.  

iSpring Suite toolbar

2. Add all your content to the slides

Let’s start with the core of the course – the theoretical part. Copy and paste all your texts on the slides and add images and videos. Building a course with iSpring is as simple as it was when you created PowerPoint presentations in school. 

Check out the demo below to see what a course made with iSpring looks like:

sales presentation communication skills

Once you’ve built the foundational part of the course, you might want to check how well your employees absorbed the information. This is where online quizzes come into play.

3. Create a quiz

To create the assessments, click Quiz near the top-left of the iSpring ribbon to open. The tool gives you 14 different quiz types for maximum creative freedom:

Question types in iSpring QuizMaker

Choose the question templates you consider most appropriate for your quiz and populate them with texts and media. 

Take a look at this interactive quiz made in iSpring Suite:

sales presentation communication skills

4. Build a role-play

Then you can circle back to your course outline and begin building your role-play scenarios with iSpring’s dialogue simulation tool. These simulations leverage branching scenarios to yield unique responses based on the trainee’s input. For example, we mentioned the cranky or disappointed customer. Depending on the salesperson, that conversation could go in many different directions upon the first encounter.

Branching scenarios

This is the starting branch. There’s a challenge and three choices that produce consequences. 

To start creating a role-play, click on Dialog simulation in the iSpring Suite tab. 

With iSpring, you can build dialogue trees by clicking “New Scene” and adding a hierarchy of responses that can branch out indefinitely.  

Branching scenarios in iSpring Suite

Not only does iSpring enable you to build these infinite-possibility dialogue trees, but you can also choose from a wide variety of characters and virtual scenes to make everything as realistic and relatable as possible. 

Check out the demo below for a better idea of how a role-play looks:

sales presentation communication skills

Ultimately, the right authoring tool balances ease of use with powerful features, flexibility, and customizable options. That way, you can create your sales communication training however you like – all without the added cost and bother of hiring designers and developers. 

Once you’re done, publish it to your platform of choice. We highly recommend a learning management system (LMS) . Not only will it automatically grade your assessments, but the LMS can provide invaluable insight as to how your sales team is engaging with the content. 

Final Thoughts

The importance of effective sales communication training cannot be overstated. From reading body language to demonstrating authenticity, this singular skill can make or break any business. Your company shouldn’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to third-party developers, nor does it need to disrupt ongoing operations with on-site training. The right tools will have you up to speed in no time!

Since you’ve made it this far, why not give iSpring Suite a go ? It’s credit card and commitment free!

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Content creator:

Sydney Mansaray

Sydney is an Instructional Designer with over 8 years of experience developing online courses and training programs for companies and educational institutions. Her focus is designing engaging learning experiences that marry storytelling with technology.

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sales presentation communication skills

Table of Contents

A good accountant may not succeed in selling a product, and a good salesperson may not be a good copywriter.

What does it mean?

That, every job requires a definite skill set.

So does sales.

Sales reps need to have the skills to  close deals  and create engaging, meaningful  experiences for customers . 

Most roles in sales need a healthy mix of soft and hard skills. 

Let’s look at them in detail and how they enable you in your sales journey.

What are sales skills, and why do you need them? 

Sales skills are the competencies a rep should have to successfully sell a product/service. It includes skills like  prospecting , knowledge of sales tools, etc., and communication skills like persuasion, negotiation, etc.

Consumers are constantly seeking positive encounters and meaningful buying experiences. Therefore, reps must have ample knowledge about the product, competitors, trends, and market. Ultimately, a rep is responsible for enacting the exchange of value between a customer and a company.

If you’ve noticed, these skills fall under two broad categories that are:

Let’s go through the skills required in sales. 

The must-have hard skills for sales reps

Job-specific hard skills, or technical skills, are essential to each role in a company. To put it another way, each job in an organization will involve a distinct set of skills. 

An accountant, for example, must be able to reconcile bank statements. An architect or marketer, in comparison, does not need that knowledge. Similarly, preparing corporate presentations is a skill most accountants won’t use. 

In sales, you may come across several roles such as  SDR , BDR, Team Lead, and more depending on the functions like  inside sales  and  field sales .

However, the common skills you should have are:

Let’s begin with prospecting skills.

1. Prospecting

Prospecting is no easy business in the eyes of most salespeople. Sales reps must establish a strategic approach to prospecting to be successful. They must prospect regularly to discover potential business opportunities. 

It demands the ability to perform:

Prospecting can be hard work without the help of adequate data. Moreover, sales reps need substantive training to prospect successfully. 

According to the  LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020 , 56% of sales reps generally use data to find  leads .

Having data is just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to research well about the prospect before approaching them. Once you do so, you increase the chances of finding clients who actually need your product. And needless to say, such leads have more chances of conversion. 

Some of the tools that can assist you in your prospecting journey are:

2. Product knowledge

LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021 pointed out some of the biggest deal-breakers for buyers. The number 1 deal-breaker revolves around a lack of product knowledge. 48% of buyers agree that misleading product information kills a deal instantly. 

Statistics - deal killers in sales

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Sales reps need to convey their product’s use cases and capabilities accurately. For instance, imagine you sell three ice cream flavors. They are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry with their respective sauces. Buyers can mix and match according to their tastes and mood. 

You already know that you don’t sell mango or caramel-flavored ice cream. Your awareness ensures that no customer has false ideas about the flavors you offer. Similarly, reps should sell their company’s products knowing what they do and don’t offer.

The simplest way to ensure that you don’t oversell or undersell your offering is to go through the sales presentation decks your team prepared. Generally, companies create  sales enablement  repositories to help sales reps with the required documents along the sales journey. But ultimately, it’s your job to go through the documents and apply your knowledge while interacting with prospects. 

3. Pitching

In your sales journey, you’ll come across several instances to meet buyers and propose your offering. For example, during networking events, fairs, trade shows, etc.

If not, you’ll find cold calling and cold emailing as a part of your prospecting process, where you’ll pitch your product/services to the potential buyer.

The purpose of a sales pitch is to invite a conversation and not necessarily to sell the product.

Make sure you convey the idea within just a couple of minutes. Brevity is also a sales skill that you must look into.

4. Client engagement

As you may know, not all leads are ready to buy from day 1. Sometimes, they’re exploring other products/services, while other times they want more information to be sure of their decision.

For instance, we analyzed the buying patterns from 2013 till 2022. We found that hardly 10-12% of sales close within a day . Others require nurturing and follow-ups.

sales cycle - average time to win customers statistics

Therefore, the ability to engage with clients and nudge them from time to time becomes an important skill in sales. There are several ways to go about it; for example, follow-up emails , follow-up calls, invitation to participate in a webinar, and more. The point is, you need to figure out what customer engagement strategy works in your domain.

5. Competitor awareness

The saying “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” makes perfect sense in this context. The perfect strategy to know your’s and your competitor’s competencies is  a SWOT analysis . SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Sales reps need to analyze and understand the industry they navigate to succeed. For instance, you must have heard it several times.

“XYZ company offers the same features at 123 price point.”

This is a  sales objection  most reps come across when selling to a prospect who either:

You can handle this objection with ease if you:

So, don’t give in to objections along these lines and analyze your competitors regularly. It also brings us to the next important skill in sales—handling objections.

6. Objection handling

Dealing with objections is an inevitable and challenging part of the sales process. The process entails specific actions and skills that involve a bit of learning. Some soft skills that fall under objection handling are: 

But, in general, objection handling requires a level of deftness that most reps need to succeed. It demands a level of product, prospect and industry knowledge to handle. For instance, the capacity to deal with change is more vital today than it was five years ago, according to  75%  of sales professionals. 

This means that knowing how to overcome unexpected situations, such as a sales objection, is a must.

7. Knowledge about existing customers and your company’s ICP

In one of their articles,  Boardview  referenced a case study to show the effectiveness of  creating customer profiles . They found that using a buyer persona increased ROI by 20%. This increase is no surprise to companies who use personas to sell. 

But to create an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), you need to have a clear view of the people who use your product. 

So, narrow down the demographic details and personality traits of your current customers. Then, compile the information in a sharable and easy-to-read format. 

Here’s an example of an ICP we created a while ago.

Sample customer profile example

You can also  download this editable pdf  to create your own ICP.

Note that finding your next customer starts with observing your existing customers. The best tools to help you  qualify leads  based on your ICP are CRMs and sales qualification tools. 

We’ll get into those in the next section. 

8. Ability to effectively use CRMs, prospecting tools, and other sales software

Dynamic Consultants  believes that in 2021, the CRM ROI rose to roughly $30.48 for each dollar invested. Sales reps worldwide recognize the importance of CRM in their daily lives. Learning how to navigate and use CRMs is now a skill they need to acquire. 

As mentioned, prospecting tools are handy for every sales rep. Most CRMs provide these tools as integrations or offer APIs to help connect both apps. Making your job as a sales rep more manageable and efficient. 

Some of the most common benefits of using a CRM are:

The list goes on depending on the CRM and the seller’s needs. If you’re looking for  CRM software  to accelerate sales, I recommend  LeadSquared .

Keeping the needs of sales reps in mind, it blends well with your existing processes and automates mundane tasks. 

We asked our 3000+ sales users about  LeadSquared  features they love the most and found that  lead management  and reporting top the list.

Statistics - the most important features of a sales CRM

9. The ability to research

Every sales rep should have the ability to make data-driven decisions while selling. This revolves around their ability to conduct in-depth customer research and analysis.

Gartner’s 2022  report  on customer service trends found that:

This means that well-informed, research-backed information is essential to selling. Buyers expect data-driven information, and sales staff too need it to  close deals . 

A fast Google search might sometimes provide you with the information you need. But researching your customer’s needs, getting regular feedback, and implementing the changes they expect is the key to sales success. 

Helpful feedback tools for customer surveys could be:

10. Social selling

The process of creating connections as part of the sales cycle is known as social selling . This process begins when you post material on social media about your brand or solution. If you haven’t integrated social selling into your pipeline yet, you’re probably sacrificing revenue to competitors who are more social media aware. 

With social selling ,  31%  of sales reps claim to be able to develop stronger ties with their clientele. You might wish to use social selling to sell vehicles, vacations, tours, and other services. You can interact with your desired customers by:

make sure you respond to people as they like, comment, or share your posts. 

Social selling is a hard skill that will only grow in demand over time. Sales reps should invest in understanding and engaging with customers across social media. 

11. Virtual selling

Another newly-found skill in sales is— virtual selling . Since the pandemic, digital interactions between buyers and sellers have increased and the trend is here to stay.

“COVID has, obviously, forced a lot of people to sell virtually, but it’s a trend that’s been happening for a while. Like a lot of exponential changes, it was happening slowly, and now suddenly.” Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing (via LinkedIn)

So, reps must be know how to use software like Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, etc. while still being able to make their sales pitch .

In general, virtual selling involves the following sales processes happening virtually:

To succeed in virtual selling, you’ll need to have:

12. Closing

More than  36% of salespeople  say that closing is one of the most difficult parts of their job.

most concerning sales challenges statistics

It is also a crucial skill after all, as it determines if all your hard work has paid off.

There are several sales closing techniques you can learn. Sales reps who make it look easy, are actually well prepared. The key is to apply your communication, persuasion, and negotiation skills in a way that allows them to sign the final contract with you.

13. Digital onboarding

Onboarding is the process that new users/customers go through to start using your product. 

It can be a simple product walkthrough or complex training to use your product. With sales happening virtually, onboarding has also taken a digital route. As an account manager, you’ll need to ensure that your customers efficiently use your product and its features. 

Digital onboarding may require a range of tools for KYC, signing contracts , and sharing/accessing necessary documents. Just for your knowledge, some of the tools that help in customer onboarding are:

Experience in onboarding clients and the use of tools will make your life easier. 

So, these are the essential job-specific skills sales reps must possess. Sometimes, specific domains within sales require unique skill sets. 

For example, in  SaaS, sales  consultants might need the knowledge of  Jira  (a system to create and track software development tickets). In another instance, pre-sales teams may require some understanding of product development and customization options. 

However, you can always acquire niche skill sets depending on your role in sales.

Now, let’s move on to the interpersonal skills expected from salespeople.

The must-have soft skills for sales reps

Soft skills are interpersonal attributes that include personality traits and communication styles. Some soft skills are valuable in all employees, regardless of their role or level of competence. Whereas other soft skills are job-specific and useful in some positions but not in others. 

For instance, sales reps often interact with different kinds of people daily. This means they must have the ability to communicate effectively. In most cases, relationship-building skills are what we call soft skills. Examples of soft skills in sales are:

Let’s start with communication skills in sales.

14. Communication

Building genuine relationships with clients requires good communication skills. It’s nearly impossible to find a buyer’s pain points without frequent interaction. 

It’s critical to remember that communication entails more than speaking effectively and eloquently. Especially with the rise of omnichannel communication, adapting to different mediums is essential.

Today, you can communicate via email, social media comments, video calls, and more. Failing to do can be costly in your job. As customers may even decide to stop doing business with you.

Statistics - When do customers decide to stop doing business with a brand

Sales agents who call leads 6 times boost their contact rate by  70% . This means that persistent efforts to communicate pay off in the long run. The key to meaningful interactions and effective communication lies in the next point, active listening. 

15. Active listening

“Active listening” ranks  first  among the qualities consumers value most in sales reps. Sales reps tend to gain a reputation for talking rather than listening attentively. 

It makes sense to want to talk more because you need to convey the benefits of your product. But listening is of much higher importance when it comes to recognizing buyer needs. 

When a rep fails to actively listen, the prospect receives the following negative messages.

In contrast, when a rep actively listens to client needs:

More listening than talking is also a mantra for success in closing deals.

What helps in closing sales - listening vs. pitching

When you listen actively, you can figure out whether your product is a good fit for your lead. Consequently, you will build a trustworthy and reliable reputation among your clients.

16. Probing

Probing is the precursor to any form of long-term communication with your clients. Most sales reps use the foot-in-door technique to probe for an answer or insight. The foot-in-door technique relies on what most people call the  psychology of compliance . 

Compliance is a kind of social influence in which a person does what another person wants them to do, usually in response to a request or suggestion. It’s similar to conformity, except instead of an order, it’s a request. 

The foot in the door technique is a compliance strategy based on the assumption that agreeing to a minor request enhances the likelihood of agreeing to a larger request in the future. 

So, you make a minor request at first, and if the person agrees, it becomes more difficult for them to refuse a larger one.

Using this technique you can first probe with harmless questions that fall under small talk. Some examples of probing questions are:

Probing is a necessary soft skill for everyone in the sales industry. It gives you the opportunity to assess your lead’s interest and engagement levels. 

But beware, when probing always ensure that the responder is ready to answer. If the prospect feels uncomfortable or expresses disinterest, apologize and move on to the next lead. 

17. Rapport building

It’s all about embracing the value of human connections in sales. While trying to hit your monthly quotas, it may appear like nurturing a bond is a luxury you can’t afford. Many reps believe that every interaction with a prospect is a chance to clinch a deal.

In reality, sales require far more than a quick call. Buyers need to know that salespeople are trustworthy and genuine. 

Your sale depends on the trust you establish from start to finish. If you stick to a one-track mind of making a sale, chances are you won’t. Instead, build rapport through a set of questions and practice active listening. 

Examples of some rapport-building questions are:

Asking  open-ended questions  is a great way to build rapport and understand your prospects. 

18. Discipline

Discipline seems like a fairly traditional concept in an ever-evolving sales sector. Most of us tend to overlook its value as the term reminds us of institutions like school or college. The most challenging aspect of sales development is instilling discipline at every stage. 

This discipline, when followed, produces better and more dependable results. For instance, if a rep calls back at a mutually agreed time,  42% of prospects  would be more inclined to buy. 

This means that most reps who fail to do so lose the chance to sell. 

So how can you foster discipline into your daily life?

But in all honesty, discipline depends on the next point, time management.

19. Time management

According to a study by the  Business Wire :

Time management is crucial to winning deals and nurturing leads . Sales reps must invest in time management techniques and tools to sell successfully. I’ll suggest two tools to help you manage time while being productive.

#1  The Eisenhower Matrix

It is a time-management, efficiency, and scheduling framework. It’s intended to assist you in prioritizing a list of chores or agenda items. You do so by first classifying them according to their immediacy and value. 

#2 The Pomodoro technique

It is a method of concentrating on a task for 25 minutes without interruptions. Post the 25 minutes, you get a five-minute break and repeat the previous process. It is one of the easiest time management techniques in use worldwide. 

Even 4-5 Pomodoro sessions per day will help you accomplish more. You can use this  online Pomodoro timer  to focus on the task at hand.

You can also use  LeadSquared Sales CRM software  to manage and prioritize your tasks like appointments, follow-ups, and more. Take a look.

Implementing a time management technique or tool instantly boosts productivity. Try to follow a method that works for your needs specifically. And lastly, don’t “ just deal with whatever comes up .”

20. Critical thinking

TalentLens, a Pearson business,  surveyed over 400 HR professionals  and found that:

In most occupations, critical-thinking skills are a necessity for success. Critical thinking encompasses  problem-solving, decision-making, and a range of thinking processes . It is helpful for issue resolution and conflict management in the  sales cycle . 

Critical thinking among sales reps can help them zero in on any customer challenges.  Selling the solution is just the result of finding a path to fixing a problem.  They come up with innovative approaches to  overcome objections  and help clients. 

Here are the ways to promote critical thinking when selling:

21. Persuasion

Sales is all about persuasion. Isn’t it?

You try to persuade them for:

However, persuasion is not nagging. It’s not manipulation. You don’t deceit them to buy something either. Instead, you try to alter their thinking about any existing challenges they face.

It’s merely a matter of using fundamental psychological theories to garner positive results. Persuasive techniques help increase conversion rates and deal closures. 

But this may not be in the way you think. A  study  of 33 experts in sales and marketing found:

Persuasive techniques like  reciprocity, liking, and consistency  revolve around gaining trust. As mentioned before, trustworthy sales reps close more deals.

22. Negotiation 

When you work in sales, you’ll have to negotiate with customers sometime or the other. If you want to close more transactions, you should know how to prepare for each sales discussion. 

A sales negotiation is a planned conversation between a client and a seller that aims to clinch a deal. The purpose of negotiation is to create a solution that everyone can agree upon.

But applying negotiation strategies in real life seems a lot harder than it is on paper. As a  Sales Research paper  by the Rain Group found:

Starting high on price and negotiating down is 1.7X more common for top performers. But top-performing sales reps aren’t born with such negotiation skills. Top performers are 9.3X more likely than the others to get highly effective negotiation training.

This means that you can learn how to negotiate effectively to accomplish your  sales goals . 

Negotiation Mastery  is one such course offered by Harvard Business school. And I’m sure there are many more options online. 

That brings us to the end of the soft skills you need as a sales rep. 

The takeaway

The  sales cycle  will always reflect its unique environment and the buyer’s needs. Old-school sales skills are relevant to this day, despite the new-age tools we use these days. 

The only difference in current sales processes is the tools that help shape our skills. We have the opportunity to use planners, scheduling apps, and more to manage time.  CRMs  can automate several manual tasks for us. 

There are several mediums of communication available to reps worldwide. The list goes on in terms of innovations that help us improve as salespeople. Ultimately, it boils down to taking the first step towards applying these skills at work. Once you do so, you have a much higher chance of being a top performer at your workplace.

Padma Ramakrishna

Padma is a Content Writer at Leadsquared. She enjoys reading and writing about various financial and educational topics. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or write to her at [email protected]

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sales presentation communication skills

Make Your Sales Presentations More Impactful

Consider these three questions:

1.) How memorable are your sales presentations? If customers don't remember the key points from your sales presentation, you haven't advanced the sales process forward.  You'll make your presentations more memorable by adding in relevant stories at the beginning, during the heart of the presentation, and at the end.   

The key word is "relevant," don't simply tell stories that don't fit the topic and the audience. For example, if your product or service can potentially help a customer's facility to become a safer workplace, include a success story on how you helped another company to do so.

2.) What can you do to engage the customer during your sales presentation?  Many sales presenters talk too long and talk at, not with, the customer.  One tip that avoids both of these mistakes is to make your presentation interactive. In your opening remarks, tell the audience that you welcome their questions and input. Then, at various times in your presentation ask some open-ended questions.  

For example, imagine that you just presented some performance advantages of your product. Ask some questions such as, "How would this benefit you?" and "Which ones are most applicable to your business?"  Average sales presenters tend to ask the classic question, "Do you have any questions?" which rarely gets the customer to open up.

3.) How should you conclude your presentation? Don't end with a simple, "Thank you," and then leave.  Instead, do these two things: first, use a relevant story to wrap up your presentation - remember, stories make your sales presentation memorable and energizing. Second, get the customer to agree to some type of action, such as a follow up time or an evaluation/trial.

Use the above three questions to assess and then modify your sales presentations.  If you're interested in some additional advice on making effective sales presentations, click on Sales Presentations: Do Yours Suffer From Information Overload?

Hear, See and Discuss: Are your Sales Presentations High Impact?

You can improve the impact of your sales presentations  if you design your presentation to maximize the retention level of the audience.  One of my favorite communication studies measured retention rates for three types of presentations:

HEAR If a customer passively listens to you (meaning, only the salesperson is talking) and you do not use any visual aids, the customer is hearing you but it is not very impactful.  Retention is 10% or worse if a salesperson simply speaks to a customer.   Avoid this at all costs!  

HEAR & SEE The retention level doubles to 20% if you use visual aids so that the customer sees something in addition to hearing you speak. Never make a presentation that doesn’t use some visual aids.  Be creative and use appropriate visual aids that fit your sales objective and the customer.  

Key tip!   The visual aid should be "visual” – pictures, photos, well-designed charts, and so on are much better than content-heavy PowerPoint slides, which are not much more impactful than hearing only.  

HEAR, SEE & DISCUSS Retention doubles again, this time to 40%, when the conversation becomes a two-way discussion rather than a one-way presentation.  In other words, make it interactive.  

Interaction works wonders for the audience and the presenter. The audience becomes alive — you can literally feel and hear the energy level in the room increase when a sales presentation is interactive.  From the sales presenter's point of view, interactive presentations provide accurate assessments of the customer's reaction to you and your sales message.     

Even better, interaction almost always lessens the nervousness of the presenter because it makes you feel as if you are speaking with the audience rather than to the audience.  You might find our Teaching Tips Webinar helpful because we provide details to help sales managers improve their skill and comfort level regarding interactive techniques.

Sales Presentations: Do Yours Suffer From Information Overload?

Salespeople tend to make four common mistakes when making a sales presention.

Contact us if you are interested in discussing a customized Sales Presentation Skills (for newer salespeople or sales support personnel) or Presenting with Impact Workshop (for experienced salespeople or sales managers).  One-on-one sales coaching is also a great way for individual salespeople to improve their sales presentation skills. 

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Steps To Create a Presentation

Skills that help make an effective presentation, how to make your skills stand out.

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Whether you’re a high-level executive or an administrative assistant, developing your presentation skills is one key way to climb in an office-based job. Leaders make decisions based on information shared in presentation format, and hardly any business changes its mind without first seeing a persuasive presentation.

It is important for any office employee to know what steps go into creating an effective presentation and what presentation skills are most important to employers. Highlighting these skills will also help you stand out during your job search.

Key Takeaways

What Are Presentation Skills? 

Presentation skills refer to all the qualities you need to create and deliver a clear and effective presentation. While what you say during a presentation matters, employers also value the ability to create supporting materials, such as slides.

Your prospective employer may want you to deliver briefings and reports to colleagues, conduct training sessions, present information to clients, or perform any number of other tasks that involve speaking before an audience.

Giving engaging and easy-to-understand talks is a major component of the strong  oral communication skills  that are a  job requirement  for many positions. Not all presentations take place in a formal meeting. Many presentation skills are relevant to one-on-one consults or sales calls.

Any presentation has three phases: preparation, delivery, and follow-up. All presentation skills fit into one of these three phases.


Preparation involves research and building the presentation. Consider the audience you'll be presenting to and what most interests them. This may mean crafting the entire text (or at least writing notes) and creating any slides and other supporting audio/visual materials.

You will also have to make sure that the appropriate venue is available, properly set up beforehand, and ensure the projector (if you'll need one) works and connects with your laptop.

You'll also want to practice your presentation as many times as you need to to feel comfortable delivering it with ease and confidence within the time allotted for the presentation.

Skills related to preparation include conducting research related to your presentation topic, devising charts and graphs depicting your research findings, and learning about your audience to better tailor your presentation to their needs. You'll also need to create digital slides, using statistics, examples, and stories to illustrate your points and effectively to persuade the audience.

Preparing handouts or digital references is an added courtesy that will help the audience pay attention because they won't be preoccupied with note-taking.

Your delivery is the part of the presentation that the audience sees. A good delivery depends on careful preparation and confident presentation and requires its own distinctive  skill set . 

Skills related to delivery include giving an attention-grabbing opening for a talk, providing a summary of what will be covered to introduce the presentation and provide context, and using  body language  and eye contact to convey energy and confidence.

Make sure you pause to emphasize key points, modulate your vocal tone for emphasis, and articulate your speech clearly and smoothly.

Don't be afraid of injecting humor or speaking with enthusiasm and animation—these techniques can help you in projecting confidence to your audience.

Summarize key points at the conclusion of the presentation, and be sure to have a plan for how you'll field any audience questions.

Presentation follow-up includes properly breaking down and storing any equipment, contacting any audience members with whom you agreed to communicate further, and soliciting, collecting, and analyzing feedback.

In some presentations, you may collect information from audience members—such as names and contact information or completed surveys—that you also must organize and store.

Skills related to follow-up include creating an evaluation form to solicit feedback from attendees, interpreting feedback from evaluations, and modifying the content and/or delivery for future presentations. Other follow-up skills include organizing a database of attendees for future presentations, interviewing key attendees to gain additional feedback, and emailing presentation slides to attendees.

To create and deliver the most effective presentation takes a variety of skills, which you can always work to improve.

You must be able to look honestly at your performance, assess the feedback you get, and figure out what you need to do to get better. That takes  analytical thinking .

More importantly, you need to have a firm grasp of the information you are about to communicate to others. You need to analyze your audience and be prepared to think quickly if asked questions that force you to demonstrate that you are fully aware of the material and its implications.

The kind of analytical skills you need to be an effective presenter include problem sensitivity, problem-solving , reporting and surveying, optimization, and predictive modeling. It also helps to be adept at strategic planning, integration, process management, and diagnostics. With these skills, you'll be better able to objectively analyze, evaluate, and act on your findings.


You do not want to be the person who spends half of their presentation time trying to find a cable to connect their laptop to the projector. Many things can and do go wrong just before a presentation unless you are  organized .

Presentation preparation also means keeping track of notes, information, and start/stop times. You will want to proofread and fine-tune all the materials you plan to use for the presentation to catch any mistakes. Make sure you time yourself when you rehearse so you know how long it will take to deliver the presentation.

A presentation that's finished in half the time allotted is as problematic as one that's too long-winded.

Some key organizational skills to work on include event planning, auditing, benchmarking, prioritization, and recordkeeping. Make sure your scheduling is on point and pay close attention to detail. Quick thinking is an important skill to have for when things inevitably go wrong.

Nonverbal Communication

When speaking to an audience, the way you present yourself can be just as important as how you present your information. You want to appear confident and engaging. You can do this through good posture, the use of hand gestures, and making eye contact with the audience.

Practice your  nonverbal communication  by filming yourself doing a practice presentation and observing your body language carefully. Your physical bearing and poise should convey a degree of comfort and confidence in front of an audience, while active listening , respect, and emotional intelligence will help you in facilitating group discussions.

Presentation Software

Microsoft PowerPoint is the dominant software used to create visual aids for presentations. Learn to use it well, including the special features outside of basic templates that can really bring a presentation to life. Even if someone else is preparing your slideshow for you, it will help to know how to use the software in case of last-minute changes.

Other software that is good to learn includes Microsoft Office, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, and Adobe Presenter.

Public Speaking

You need to appear comfortable and engaging when speaking before a live audience, even if you're not. This can take years of practice, and sometimes  public speaking  just isn't for certain people. An uncomfortable presenter is a challenge for everyone. Fortunately, public speaking skills can improve with practice . Some skills to work on include articulation, engagement, and memorization. You should be able to assess the needs of the audience and handle difficult questions. Controlling your performance anxiety will help you communicate more effectively.

Research is the first step in preparing most presentations and could range from a multi-year process to spending 20 minutes online, depending on context and subject matter. At the very least, you must be able to clearly frame research questions, identify appropriate information sources, and organize your results. Other useful skills include brainstorming, collaboration , comparative analysis, data interpretation, and deductive and inductive reasoning. Business intelligence is a skill that will help you evaluate what information you need to support the bottom line, while case analysis and causal relationships will help you parse and evaluate meaning.

Verbal Communication

Public speaking is one form of  verbal communication , but you will need other forms to give a good presentation. Specifically, you must know how to answer questions. You should be able to understand questions asked by your audience (even if they're strange or poorly worded) and provide respectful, honest, and accurate answers without getting off-topic. Use active listening, focus, and empathy to understand your audience. Skills such as assertiveness, affirmation, and enunciation will help you restate and clarify your key points as it relates to their questions or concerns.

You may or may not need a written script, but you do need to pre-plan what you are going to say, in what order you will say it, and at what level of detail. If you can write a cohesive essay, you can plan a presentation.

Typical writing skills apply to your presentation just as they do to other forms of writing, including grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and proofreading. The ability to build outlines, take notes, and mark up documents will also be useful.

More Presentation Skills

In addition to the skills previously mentioned, there are other important skills that can apply to your presentation. The other skills you need will depend on what your presentation is about, your audience, and your intended results. Some of these additional skills include:

Include skills on your resume. If applicable, you might mention these words in your  resume summary  or  headline .

Highlight skills in your cover letter. Mention one or two specific presentation skills and give examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits in the workplace.

Show your presentation skills in job interviews. During the interview process, you may be asked to give a sample presentation. In this case, you will want to embody these skills during the presentation. For example, you will want to demonstrate your oral communication skills by speaking clearly and concisely throughout the presentation.

PennState. " Steps in Preparing a Presentation ."

Harvard Division of Continuing Education. " 10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills ."

Northern Illinois University. " Delivering the Presentation ."

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21 Sales Representative Skills to Start & Grow Your Career

Sakshi Gupta

In this article

What Is a Sales Representative?

Sales representative skills, how can you improve your sales representative skills.

The ongoing tech boom has created abundant opportunities for software engineers, web developers, designers, and analysts. It’s also created lucrative career paths for sales representatives, who play a crucial role in helping tech companies expand their reach, identify new business opportunities, and grow their customer base. 

So important are software sales reps to an organization’s growth that a career in software sales is regarded as one of the fastest paths to a six-figure salary. The rising demand for sales reps also means that it’s a profession that offers stability, opportunities for advancement, and specialization.

Read on to learn about the different types of skills sales reps need to break into and succeed in their roles.

Related Read: What is Tech Sales?

To understand what a software sales representative does, it helps to understand the purpose of software sales. As the name suggests, software sales refers to the selling of software to organizations of all sizes, from mom and pop businesses to multinational corporations. Almost every company that builds software—from Microsoft and IBM to Slack, Stripe, and Amazon—has a sales team that gets their products into the hands of prospective customers and convinces them to use their tools. This is where sales reps enter the picture. They gather business intelligence, identify potential customers, develop an intimate knowledge of the products they’re selling as well as market conditions and competitor offerings, pitch to prospective clients, negotiate and close deals, conduct customer relationship management, and help set and meet sales targets. It’s a job that requires impeccable soft sales skills such as strong communication, organization, and problem-solving abilities, as well as deep technical knowledge of the product, business, and industry.

Related Read: Technical Sales Representative Job Description

sales representative skills: Sales Representative Skills

Software sales can be a demanding job—sales reps need to have the soft skills to ensure that prospective and current customers feel understood and heard, the technical knowledge to sell prospective customers on their products, and the specialized sales skills of prospecting, negotiating, and closing deals. Below is a breakdown of the specific types of skills sales reps need to develop in order to be at the top of their game. 

Soft Skills for Sales Representatives

“Soft skills” are usually understood to be communication skills. But in software sales, there’s more to soft skills than being able to articulate what you mean. 


sales representative skills: Listening 

Active listening is an important component of sales conversations. Current and prospective clients will often talk about the issues they’re hoping to address, the problems they’ve faced in the past, and the types of solutions they’re looking for. The best software sales reps are able to make current and future clients feel heard, whether a meeting takes place over the phone, a video conference, or in person.   


Good storytelling can help a product stand out from the competition. Telling an engaging and authentic story—whether through case studies or research—will give a product or service emotional resonance and help potential clients envision themselves as customers whose problems are solved through using the software you’re selling.  

A large part of being a sales rep is building and managing relationships with clients. As a sales rep, you’ll be interacting with a wide variety of personality types, and it’s important to have strong interpersonal skills that allow you to create connections and build trust with all kinds of people. 

Detailed Oriented

Successful sales associates have an intimate knowledge of the types of problems that current and prospective clients are facing, understand how the products they’re selling can fit into a client’s business strategy, and know-how to craft their pitches to appeal to different people within an organization. They’re detail-oriented and know how to customize their pitches for different audiences. 

Able To Present to Groups

Sales presentations and product demonstrations are a big part of a sales rep’s pitch. In addition to showing prospective clients product features and sharing customer success stories, the presentation is an opportunity to build a rapport with clients, to show that you understand the nature of their problems and that you can offer a compelling solution. Here, effective communication, active listening, and being able to focus on the challenges the prospective client faces are important skills to have. 

Not all sales leads will automatically transform into closed deals. In fact, sales leads often need to be nurtured. This means taking the time to understand prospective clients’ challenges, needs, budgets, timelines, whether they’re using or considering competitor software, whether your contact at the organization has the authority to make deal decisions, and figuring out what it might take to usher a potential client further along the sales process. 

Similar to active listening skills, the best sales reps are empathetic and can understand the issues, challenges, and frustrations that prospective clients need to solve. This empathy can inform how a sales rep approaches a prospective client, how they frame their product, the types of case studies they choose to highlight, and the kinds of support a client might need if they sign on.

Technical Skills for Sales Representatives

What sets software sales reps apart from other types of sales representatives are their technical skills and in-depth knowledge of their particular product and industry. 

The Ability To Explain Complex Details

It’s one thing to know in great detail how a product or service works; it’s another to be able to explain it to people in a clear, concise, and accessible way. During sales pitches and product demonstrations, software sales reps need to be able to explain complex and often highly technical details about their product or services and to tailor their explanations to prospective clients who have different levels of technical experience. 

Product Knowledge

sales representative skills: Product Knowledge

As a sales rep, you are an ambassador for your organization and its products. This means you need to be able to answer any question a client might have about the product you’re selling, the company that built it, its place in the market, and how it performs against the competition. The best sales reps have a deep understanding of market trends, understand their organization’s value proposition, and know product features back to front.

Research Skills

Sales reps need to employ research skills to learn about competitors, market trends, current vendors, and potential customers. The more you know about where your organization and product sits in comparison to others, the better your chances of selling it to the right people. 

There are many tools that facilitate customer relationship management, and knowing how to use these tools is an important skill for any sales rep. Many CRM tools can make life a lot easier for sales reps and help them stay on top of customer satisfaction, such as reminders to circle back with prospective and current clients and sending bulk emails.  

Social Media Skills

While sales reps don’t have to be expert social media users, platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can be a good way for identifying prospects and understanding the chain of authority within an organization. Sales reps should have at least a basic understanding of using social media to identify potential buyers.

Email Proficiency

A lot of the cold outreach that sales reps do is over email, so it’s important to have strong written communication that piques the interest of prospective clients, moves the sales process forward, and maintains a good rapport once a deal has closed. 

Sales reps don’t need to be mathematicians, but being able to cite relevant and meaningful stats, set reasonable sales targets, and perform the basic math to prove the efficacy of your team or products is an important part of being a successful sales rep. 

Career Skills of Sales Representatives

sales representative skills: Career Skills of Sales Representatives

Sales reps also possess a broad range of skills specific to the profession—skills that they can draw on throughout their career, regardless of the industry or organization they join. 


Prospecting is a core part of the sales profession. It’s the process through which sales reps conduct research to identify prospective customers, perform cold outreach, and create new opportunities for expanding the customer base.


Contract negotiation can be a fickle part of the sales process—sales reps need to walk the fine line between offering clients a package that feels favorable to them, while also not giving out steep discounts that can ultimately hurt the business they represent. Protecting the value of a sale while persuading a client that the solution you offer is worth paying for is an important skill that comes from experience, coaching, and practicing the soft skills of communication, active listening, and having a strong rapport with the client. 

Time Management

Sales reps often juggle multiple leads and are at different stages of the sales process with different clients. Good time management, knowing how long each task in the sales process takes, the ability to prioritize the most important tasks, and the ability to shuffle and reshuffle tasks as priorities change, is a skill that all good sales reps possess.

Conflict Management Skills

There are many different roles on a sales team, and the sales process is often a collaborative effort with representatives handing off leads and clients to one another. Being able to keep your cool, de-escalate misunderstandings, and shift the focus from conflict to collaboration is an important quality for sales reps, particularly sales managers who oversee teams of representatives. 


Problem-solving might seem like a vague skill to have, but in software sales, where current and prospective clients are sharing all manner of business and technological challenges and are looking for solutions, sales reps need to be agile and creative thinkers who can help deliver on those solutions. 


Given how much falls to sales reps, the most effective representatives are self-motivated and don’t wait for orders. They set sales goals and meet them. They are able to work in a fast-paced environment without compromising on relationships with customers or their teams. They have a growth mindset, take on sales activities that will lead to better customer satisfaction, and are always developing new ways to improve sales performance. 

Working with experienced sales managers, the most successful sales reps are open-minded and take on feedback that improves their performance. Being coachable is thus an important skill for sales reps because the more you can learn from others, the better you’ll be at your job. 

How Can You Improve Your Sales Representative Skills?

Looking for ways to improve your sales skills? Check out our tips below.

Since you’re here… Earn a tech-level salary, minus the whole learning-to-code part. Our Tech Sales Bootcamp will boost you into a tech sales job in just 3 months, or your tuition money back. Get a snapshot of our results on our student reviews page and read more about *your* new industry in this tech sales career guide .

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