In the Olympics of Strategic Sales Presentations, There is No Silver Medal

I love watching the Olympics and I plan to be glued to the television for the next couple of weeks. Regardless of the sport, the sheer drama of watching someone lay it all on the line for their one shot after years of sacrifice, discipline and hard work, is absolutely irresistible. At such times, the slightest difference in preparation, the smallest lapse in focus, and difference in performance can mean the difference between glory on the podium or at least another four years of obscurity.

Although not everyone can be a winner, at least Olympic athletes have the luxury of three possible medals. When you are facing a critical moment in a strategic sales presentation—one that will make or break your year, or even affect your career, there is no glory in second place. Your stakes may be personally just as high as those facing an athlete, and you only have one shot to get it right. Your preparation, focus and performance are the keys, not to guarantee victory, but to deserve it.

Ask yourself, have you done everything possible to deserve success?


How much do you know about every individual who will be in the room?

Have you lined up your allies, and do you understand the perspective of your opponents?

How many times have you rehearsed?

Have you anticipated all possible questions and objections—and planned for their follow-up to your responses?


Have you crafted your sales message around your customer’s business needs?

Does your presentation show a deep understanding of their success factors and business processes?

What percentage of your presentation talks about them and not about you?

Have you eliminated all fluff and unnecessary detail?


Do you begin confidently?

Do you engage their attention right away?

Do you pay attention to the audience and make it interactive?

Are you genuine?

I could write many more questions than this, but I’ve got to go get ready for the opening ceremony!

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The Power of Three
February 16, 2012

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