This might seem counterintuitive, but if we’re going to talk about sales presentations, we must first talk about listening.

Too often extroverted sales reps, who love the sound of their own voices, launch into a well-rehearsed and finely polished demonstration and pitches. You don’t want to do that, however, until you have determined exactly who the prospect is, what they value and how your offering specifically delivers what they value.

Then, and only then, do you start to “sell.”

A sales presentation is your pitch. More specifically, the presentation is your formal chance to present how you and your product’s attributes are beneficial to the prospect. But before any of that happens, it’s all about figuring out what the prospect values.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your next sales presentation:

1. You want to be focused on outcomes and not features and benefits.

2. Before a sales meeting, do your background detective work, so you ask knowledgeable questions and make the time spent in the meeting valuable to everyone.

3. Think about building a trusting relationship with the prospect. You do that by communicating well, listening attentively and being honest. Be yourself but be the professional and appealing version of yourself.

4. A presentation isn’t all talk. Make sure to listen as well. In fact, many top producers will actually listen MORE than they talk in a so-called “presentation.”

5. Structure your sales presentation logically and persuasively, taking advantage of human nature. Prospects respond better when the flow of the sales presentation just feels right.

6. When you coach and facilitate your prospects, the hard sell is not necessary.

7. Determine what part of your sales presentation is boilerplate and which part is to be customized. Focus your preparation on the customized part.

8. Cast a vision of how great life will be with your product or service by using a little showmanship during the sales presentation. Paint a picture with your words.

9. Over-reliance on audio/visual aids is one of the biggest mistakes you could make.

10. Two presenters can be better than one, but three presenters can feel like a crowd.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide. He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.