Presenting to clients can be a challenge, especially when we know that most clients feel they’re being “sold to” rather than being “consulted.”

When someone speaks, the audience experiences the interaction like a movie. Their first thought is, “Is this movie interesting?” Most in the audience will take less than eight seconds to arrive at an answer!

A captivating presentation opening will set the stage for an engaged client and a higher close rate. In fact, these opening tips and concepts can also be used when leaving prospecting voice mails.

Each opening should be followed by a compelling purpose statement, which says what will be discussed, and more importantly, the why or the payoff.

1)  THE QUESTION.   

Questions are hard to resist. They engage our curiosity. Opening questions should be short, simple, and prepared in advance.

For example, “Do you think attention spans are increasing or decreasing? That’s an easy one—they’re decreasing. The challenge, then, is how to capture and hold attention. Today, we’ll learn how to focus your message, so your potential customers will remember more.”

Questions can be phrased as real (long pause, an answer is expected) or rhetorical (short pause, no answer expected.)

2) “YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING (OR FEELING OR WONDERING).” 

Any form of “you” gets attention.

Suppose I’m watching and listening to your presentation. There I am, thinking about me. That’s human nature. But then you announce that you’re also thinking about me. That makes me curious: “Are you thinking about what I’m thinking?”

Name the objections right away. Then solve them with purpose statements.

For example, “You’re probably thinking ‘how much is THIS going cost me?’ We’ll certainly address your question, but first I need to uncover your need in order to deliver the best return on your marketing investment.”

3) “IMAGINE…”

Great presenters will incorporate interaction into their presentations. Asking someone to imagine, either positive or negative, keeps an audience engaged and interested.

I like to use positive imagery when doing my presentations. For example, “Imagine that you can grow your business by $XXXXX every month. That’s like your competition having a one-speed bike, but you’re going much faster on a 10-speed bike. You’ll leave your competitor in the dust!”

Incorporate and role-play these and more presentation openings into future sales meetings. With a little practice, your team will be on their way to commanding more attention from prospects and closing more business!

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for JDA.media.

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to JDA.media. She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.