cover image New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Terri L. Sjodin. John Wiley & Sons, $19.95 (269pp) ISBN 978-0-471-75565-4

Some people believe salesmen are born, not made. Sjodin, a public speaking and sales techniques consultant, insists anyone can become an effective seller by polishing his speaking skills and learning to sell himself and his ideas to business partners, investors, employers and supervisors. ""Everybody sells something,"" she notes. Sjodin's book is based on the idea that presentations are typically torpedoed by nine common mistakes: ""winging it"" instead of being prepared, being overly informative instead of persuasive, misusing allotted time, providing inadequate support, failing to close the deal, being boring, relying too heavily on visual aids, using distracting gestures or body language and wearing inappropriate clothing. The author provides practical tips for achieving her recommendations and anecdotes to illustrate her points. New to this revised edition are sections about ""elevator pitches"" (how to close a deal if you're on an elevator with the one person ""who could make your dreams a reality"") and tales from Sjodin's workshops. While the book entertains, much of it skims the surface and fails to go beyond the realm of common sense (""Expensive clothes aren't essential. What's important is that your clothes look clean, pressed, and coordinated in color and style.""), providing tidbits that might be useful to people new to the business world, but it's hard to see what experienced professionals would get out this book. Still, for readers fresh out of business school needing a pep talk and a reminder that it's okay to deviate from the PowerPoint script, this book is worth a look.