Stories by Jeff Sheard

  • Getting on a roll

    Fundamentals should never be overlooked when it comes to IT companies' sales skills

  • Ending the affair

    Giving a good sales presentation is like having an affair: it's easy enough to start one, but it takes real skills to end one.

  • Creative openings

    It's true that most of us are not often in the mood for a sales presentation. It's never a good time, there are always other priorities crowding in for our attention and limited time. Our prospects and clients are no different. In the seconds before your sales presentation begins, there's a fair chance that many of those in the room are there physically, but are miles away mentally. Distractions can fill the minds of your audience and your first real challenge is to bring them into the room with you and focus them on your topic and your objective.

  • Contactual obligations

    At the end of the day, one part of your sales presentation is more important than the visual aids, the movement, the gestures, the voice modulation and the words. In fact, it's more important than all of them put together. It's the most powerful presentation tool in the world. It's the one aspect of presenting that seems to be ignored by politicians and business people alike. And it's overlooked by the vast majority of training companies. It's contact.

  • Creating a sales culture in the services sector

    We've all seen the shift in profit from hardware/software to a services-based model. Some organisations have happily redefined their business, and others have fallen by the wayside, simply unable or unwilling to adapt to a new way of doing business. Yet, it's common throughout many service-based IT companies to have a strong focus on process and delivery, and not so strong a focus on sales.

  • The art of listening

    Sometimes just shutting up and listening can be an effective weapon in the armour of a successful salesperson.

  • Death by PowerPoint

    In an effective sales presentation, technology should be used sparingly to enhance a presentation, not to overwhelm and detract from the message.

  • You think you're nervous!

    Proper preparation and an understanding of the needs of your audience can go a long way to reducing presentation nerves.

  • Proving that you can

    By overcoming preconceived notions and establishing the proper strategy, selling into any new market can be achieved.

  • Next time, try to have a point

    It was a line in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. John Candy played the travelling salesman who never shut up and told endless stories. Steve Martin finally confronted him and his words are a lesson for any sales presenter who thinks that everyone has to be enthralled by their talking: "Next time you tell a story, try to have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener."

  • Sales clinic: Those days are gone . . .

    Back in the '60s, Bob Dylan wrote, The times, they are a changin. But let's face it, in those days, change occurred at a snail's pace, compared to the giddy '90s. All this change, accompanied by the ever-increasing amount of information we have to process on a day-to-day basis, means we have less time than ever to "connect" with clients, prospects, partners and employees.