Selling is the highest-paid profession in the world. Therefore, it necessarily follows that it’s also the lowest-paid profession in the world. This is an orderly universe and the law of polarity states that everything has an opposite: if it’s a long way up, it’s got to be a long way down. The beautiful truth is that you get to decide in which end of the spectrum your income will be located.

For this issue we focus on “The Art of Presentation,” an aspect of selling woefully neglected by far too many. I suggest you use this issue as an opportunity to make a decision to absolutely master your sales presentation. Look at your presentation as if it were a portion of a film script you are going to learn and deliver with such perfection that you could easily be nominated for an Academy Award—and very possibly win.

I once heard J. Douglas Edwards comment, “If you can’t close, you can’t sell.” He was right. I had the good fortune of working with another tremendous sales trainer, Fred Herman, who said that closing was the natural conclusion to a very fine presentation. Right again.

It makes little difference what it is you’re selling; there are certain basics essential to any fine presentation. When you understand and incorporate those basics into your presentation, you will be able to sell anything you believe in, tangible or intangible. And if you mean to do the best you can, belief in the product or service you’re selling is essential. I’ve known many people who did very well selling something they didn’t really believe in—but they were selling themselves short and would continue doing so until they began selling something they were passionate about.

W. Clement Stone, owner of the Combined Insurance Company, became the wealthiest man in America by training salespeople to consistently deliver an excellent sales presentation. His people would spend an entire week learning, memorizing and internalizing that presentation, with every word and gesture programmed for reliably flawless delivery.

Award-winning stage actors make the same presentation twice a day for weeks and months on end—sometimes for years! Despite the prodigious repetition, every time you see these actors you would swear they had just thought of what they were saying. That they had never said it before—that this was the first and only, the inspired, the spontaneous. Selling is much like acting—also one of the highest-paid and lowest-paid professions in the world!

If I were quietly sitting in a corner watching you make your most recent sales presentation, on a scale of one to 10, how do you think I would rate you?

Now, based on your commitment to master your presentation, tell me: how would I rate you six months from now?


BOB PROCTOR is Publisher of Networking Times.