Four Practical Tips for Buyer Engagement During Your First Meeting

I’ll share four practical tips that you can put into practice on your next sales presentation. Adopt these top dos and don’ts to keep buyers engaged:

  • Don’t sell with slides on a discovery call.
  • Apply the proper use of content and design.
  • The “presentation” of your presentation is critical.
  • Stories make the best pitch!
  • 01 | Don’t sell with slides on a discovery call.

    As a best practice, a discovery call should not include slides. There is a strong negative correlation between slides in a discovery call and getting to the next meeting. Slides have their time and place to shine. They are just bad for a discovery call. As a seller, the discovery call should be about listening first and asking questions second. It is an exchange of information, but ultimately you want the buyer to do most of the talking. The best salespeople I know talk less and listen more to get a deep understanding of the buyer’s problem and process.

  • 02 | Apply the proper use of content and design

    Are you familiar with the term ‘Lizard Brain,’ also known as the Reptilian Brain? The ‘Lizard Brain’ is the oldest part of the human brain responsible for decision making, self-preservation behavior patterns, and processing emotions. This goes back to prehistoric times when people communicated through images alone. It’s long been known that visuals play an essential part in how humans process information. Slides with visuals can often be attention-grabbing.

    When combined with text, visuals can make the text easier to understand. The proper use of visuals can also make the information more memorable and even inspire action. The improper use of visuals will confuse the buyer and may cause them to zone out. Let’s take a quick glance at some simple best practices around content and design.

    • Don’t give in to the world of mediocre design by using the stock PowerPoint themes. This sends the wrong signal to your buyer at first glance. Start with a clean presentation and build out from there. For a few hundred dollars, consider crowdsourcing a freelance designer from Fiverr or 99designs to create a custom PowerPoint template.
    • Less is more. The efficiency of words, characters, and pictures is important in telling your story. Packing too much information into a slide will drown out the buyer’s attention. Consider the 6×6 rule – a maximum of six bullet points per slide and six words per bullet.
    • Maintain a strong contrast between the text and background image. The buyer will spend more mental energy trying to sort through the clutter than listening to your presentation. A single image is far more powerful than a slide cluttered with images.
  • 03 | The “presentation” of your presentation is critical

    When presenting, know your audience. It is important to distinguish between buyers vs users. Buyers tend to be less technical than users. Focus on the value your product or solution provides and how the different audiences will benefit from using it. Stay away from jargon, and don’t get too technical. What is familiar or common sense to you might be very foreign to your audience.

    Reading word-for-word from your slides is a death sentence. Your audience will quickly get bored. Please don’t rely on your presentation as a crutch because it signals that you are unprepared. You could have just as quickly sent that same information via email. HubSpot reported from a recent study that “5% of meeting attendees remember statistics, while a whopping 63% recall stories.”

  • 04 | Stories make the best pitch!

    You’ve gotten past the discovery call. You understand the buyer’s problem. Now you need to weave together a cohesive product story to establish why your product matters. Grab the buyer’s attention by establishing what is at I’ve had the most success with telling a product story using one slide with a few bullet points combined with a simple image. The buyer can consume each bullet point while still being very engaged. Each bullet point builds off the previous one. I can tell a cohesive story from beginning to end that articulates how our product will solve the buyer’s pain points.

The days of sellers long-winded monologuing and boring slide decks are long gone.

A successful sales presentation requires time and attention to the buyer’s problem. On the first discovery call, it is a conversation and NOT a presentation. Once you understand the buyer’s problem, you incorporate that knowledge into your sales presentation. The goal is to translate your product’s value through content and design to address the buyer’s pain points while keeping them engaged the entire way through. A successful sales presentation is a confluence of your prospect’s story and your product’s story being the same.

Originally published on Vendor Neutral’s The Neutral Zone Sales Blog.

Eric Mintz - Founder / CEO - DealCoachPro


Erik has 25+ years of experience in the software industry. He spent 8 years at Constant Contact as Director of Products (2008 – 2015). Prior to Constant Contact, Erik was the founder and CEO of e2M Systems which was acquired by Constant Contact in May 2008. He started his career at IBM in Boca Raton, Florida working a total of 11 years in OS/2, Global Services, and IBM Corporate. Erik earned an MBA from MIT Sloan and Masters in Civil Engineering from Florida Atlantic University.