CCA 8.1 Lesson 1: Types of sales presentations

Before we discuss some of the important elements of the sales presentation, it is important for you to become aware of the different types of sales presentations used in the selling industry today. Professor Marvin Jolson surveyed hundreds of firms to determine the most used sales presentations and those presentations that are preferred by sales managers across the country. The following information presents the results of the survey and was taken from the article, “Should the Sales Presentation be `Fresh’ or `Canned’?” that originally appeared in Business Horizons Magazine. His original research results indicated that five presentations are presently being used. Additional research studies back up the findings of Dr. Jolson, however, most organized and unstructured presentations given today in a professional selling setting usually utilize some type of computer generated support system. The five most used presentations are:

  1. Fully Automated: YouTube videos, and PowerPoints dominate this type of presentation. The sales professional’s part consists of setting up the equipment, answering questions, and processing the order. Many audio, visual, and multi-media systems are used.
  2. Semi-automated: The sales professional reads the presentation from a copy printed on flip charts, read-off binders, promotional broadsides, or brochures. The sales professional adds comments when necessary.
  3. Memorized: The sales professional delivers a company-prepared message that has been memorized. Supplementary visual aids may or may not be used.
  4. Organized: The sales professional is allowed complete flexibility of wording; however, he/she does follow a company pattern, a checklist, or an outline. Visual aids are strongly encouraged.

Unstructured: The sales professional is on their own to describe the product any way they like. Generally, the presentation will vary from prospect to prospect.

Dr. Jolson’s research also provides some additional information that is very important.  The data below states the percentages in which each of the five above presentations are traditionally used in the selling industry. As you can see, the most used and recommended method is the organized sales presentation. It will be this type of presentation that will be emphasized throughout the remainder this chapter.

Usage of the Five Most Common Sales Presentations

Percentage of Firms Percentage of Firms

      Using Each                           Preferring

Presentation Type    Presentation Type

Fully Automated   9.3% 2.7%

Semi-Automated 33.3% 4.0%

Memorized 24.0% 9.3%

Organized 85.3% 44.0% Unstructured 76.0% 40.0%