Do you make this common mistake in your sales presentations and business communications?

A very common mistake in sales presentations and business communications is to take the viewpoint of “I” or “we” (the company), instead of “you” (the customer.)

A very common mistake in sales presentations and business communications is to take the viewpoint of “I” or “we” (the company), instead of “you” (the customer.)

“We have been in business for 50 years!” (Why should I care? I need someone who can help me today! Why are you a better choice than another company?)

“We make the best pizzas in the county!” (Every other pizza parlor in the county says the same thing about themselves. Why should I believe you?)

“We offer the best engineered cars in the marketplace.” (What does that mean to me? I think your cars are ugly and I wouldn’t want to be seen driving one of them!)

Because we are in our line of business, we tend to think about the features and “quality” of our products and services. We tend to be self absorbed, including being obsessed with our “brand”. We can’t understand why our customers can’t see why our products or services are the logical choice to buy.

But our customers, clients and patients (for this discussion, “customers”) don’t think about our businesses, products and services like we do. Our businesses aren’t the center of their lives. They are concerned about their own lives — their problems, their desires, their loved ones, their pet interests/causes. This is a natural survival trait of all living things, including human beings.

This means that almost all business communications, especially sales and marketing communications, should be phrased from the concerns of the customer.

“If you have any questions or issues with the product or service, you can rely on our being here to serve you. We have a 50-year track record of excellent customer service. Here are some testimonials from several customers that had great experiences with us when they needed us.”

“Your family will love enjoying our delicious award-winning pizza. It’s made with loving care with the freshest cheese and toppings from the farmer’s market and hand-tossed crust made the traditional way. And it’s guaranteed to be hot when we deliver it to your door, or it’s FREE.”

“You can be confident that your family will enjoy comfortable, safe and reliable transportation in our fine automobiles that have been engineered with the latest technical innovations. You’ll love the way it handles turns on mountain roads when traveling on family vacations. Your children will love the surround-sound system and having wi-fi included so they can use their smart-phones and tablets when traveling. (And you can relax because you won’t have bored, whining children in the car when traveling.) You’ll also be proud to be seen driving an automobile designed with style that will impress your neighbors, while enjoying the economy of great gas mileage and durability for years of trouble-free service.”

In any sales presentation or business communication, count the number of times “I” or “we” is used and then count the number of times “you” is used. Then think about how to rephrase “I” or “we” sentences into “you” sentences.

Would you like our help putting “you” (the customer) into your businesses communications? Send an email to to schedule an initial consultation.

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Does your company have a “sales prevention department”?

When prospective customers call, there are often barriers in the way of their becoming customers.

When prospective customers call, there are often barriers in the way of their becoming customers.

For example, the prospective customer might be caught in “voice mail hell.” The telephone rings and rings and no one picks it up. Or the prospective customer is left on hold for what feels like forever. The customer gets so frustrated he or she tries to find help somewhere else.

In some cases, a sympathetic employee might suggest that your business is too expensive and refer the prospective customer to a competitor!

Getting a prospective customer, client or patient (for this post, “customer”) to call can be an expensive proposition. You might have paid for an advertisement, a web site, or other promotional efforts. That prospective customer represents a return on the promotional investment and the future revenue for your business.

These issues are indications that the process of welcoming a prospective customer hasn’t been thought through to develop a reliable system of getting them onboard, or that employees haven’t been properly trained and supervised.

What is the objective when a prospective customer calls? Shouldn’t it be to get their name, telephone number, the purpose of their call, how they found out about your company and to make an appointment to see them?

A script should be written for the receptionist with a process to get this information.

For example: Good morning, XYZ Company, this is Sally Smith. (The prospective customer will usually respond with “Good morning, this is Jack Customer.”) Hello Mr. Customer, may I ask how you found out about our company? (I found you by searching on the internet.) Oh, we have so many people find us like that! May I ask why you are calling us today? (My computer is broken and I need it fixed.) We would be glad to help you with that or find someone who can. Mr. Boss can meet with you tomorrow at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. Which time is better for you? (I really need it fixed today. Is that possible?) Well, we are repairing a lot of computers right now, but we’ll try. Can you come by and see Mr. Backup in about an hour? (That would be great!) May I have your telephone number please? (It’s XXX-XXX-XXXX.) O.K. Before I let you go, do you have a pen or pencil and some paper so that I can confirm some pertinent details? (O.K.) Your name is Jack Customer. You found us by an internet search. Your telephone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. You have an appointment to meet Mr. Backup in an hour about fixing your broken computer. Our address is XXXX Ready Drive, Suite 101, Anytown. Our telephone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Is that correct? (Yes.) We’ll look forward to seeing you in an hour!

Employees will often fight using a script like this. This must be part of their training, and should be role-played regularly. They should keep a copy at their desk. You (or their supervisor or trainer) must explain that dealing with customers is a performance and they should think of themselves as actors learning a part.

Alternatives can be developed for when the customer doesn’t respond according to plan, but every effort must be made to get the customer back on the script.

The same thing can be said relating to the sales presentation. It should be scripted out. A member of the “sales prevention department” might be you! Sales representatives should also role-play (rehearse) their scripts as a performance. After a sales presentation, the sales person should review how it went to determine things that went well, things that could be improved, and suggestions to improve the script. With the customer’s permission, record sales presentations and listen to them to evaluate them.

You have probably heard when making business calls, “This call may be recorded for training purposes.” You might look into doing this for your business. Alternatives are to have someone listen when others answer calls, or to hire “mystery shoppers” to find out what the experience of prospective customers is like.

Relating to the eternally ringing telephone, there should be a performance standard of responding by the third ring. The call could roll to voice mail and the call promptly returned. Alternatively, a receptionist could ask for the customer’s name and ask when would be the best time to return the call. No call should be put on hold for more than a minute. Then, thank the customer for waiting before moving to the next step.

Take these steps to eliminate your “sales prevention department”, and you might multiply your sales without spending any additional marketing dollars!

Would you like help developing scripts for your business and training your team to better serve your customers? To schedule an initial consultation, write Michael Gray at

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(c) 2019 by Michael Gray