How to be a headline-maker with your customers…


What makes you read a newspaper or magazine article? I know I usually find myself attracted to the headline – if it catches my eye and it’s something that I think is going to be interesting then I’ll read it. And by reading it I’m giving it my attention, therefore the headline has worked – it got my attention and made me want to read it.

I was recently asked by a client of mine to take a look over a sales presentation they had put together in order to pitch to a potential new customer. Not surprisingly they were keen to make a good impression and wanted the slide presentation to help them do that.

Well, we’ve all heard of the saying “you only get one chance to make a good impression”, and in sales that is commonly in the first minute or so of your pitch. This is because this is when your audience is at their most receptive to what you do and say – in other words, their interest level is at its highest and will quickly fall off unless you grab them…and you have to grab them fast!

If you’ve been lucky enough to be invited to deliver a sales pitch, your opening statement is crucial in achieving this. If you’re using slides, this means your first slide.

Amazingly, many people waste this golden opportunity to make a great early impression by making their opening slide as dull as they can!

Why? Because they think the first slide is there to tell the audience what is about to follow. For instance, take my client’s opening slide – it simply said “Presentation for ABC Ltd 20th March 2012”.

Would that get you out of your seat? Would that headline make you grab the newspaper and start reading? I seriously doubt it, so start turning yourself into a headline-maker.

Your opening slide/statement is there to tell your customer how their world is going to be a better place as a result of using your services/products.

I asked my client how he thought he could help his potential new customer – he said he could save them £thousands in costs!

Brilliant – what a great result and what an engaging statement to make early in a sales pitch when you’re trying to grab their attention.

So we changed the words on the opening slide to “How XYZ Co. can help ABC Ltd save £thousands in costs”.

If you were my client’s customer, which presentation would you most likely look forward to hearing, and more importantly stay interested in for longer?

“Presentation for ABC Ltd 20th March 2012”


“How XYZ Co. can help ABC Ltd save £thousands in costs”   

Take a look at your proposals/quotes or your sales presentations and see if you’re making the most of your opening headline – it can make all the difference when trying to win business!


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