Why It’s Important to Know The Difference Between Presenting and Selling

By Stuart_R_Crawford
In MSP Coaching
June 20, 2013

Stuart R. Crawford / Stuart Crawford

MSP SalesPeople often speak of presentations as if they were selling. However, in order to obtain the end effect you’re looking for—to turn a prospect into a client—it’s important to understand the difference between the two:

Presenting: The style or manner in which something is offered, displayed or given. Anyone who is standing in front of an individual or group of people, showing them a product or explaining their services is presenting.

Selling: An exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or an equal offer. When clients purchase something from us, and there is an exchange of money or its equivalent – a sale has been made.

If you think that selling is simply explaining what you have to offer, then it’s time to reconsider. In reality, this is simply presenting.

Does Your Prospect Need Your Services?

Too often, a salesperson will dive right into the presentation, because they’ve got an appointment. They believe this is the time to present—they feel obligated to quickly explain the services they can provide. The primary job of a salesperson is to move the process forward, which cannot be done by simply presenting the services.  But if your prospect doesn’t have a current need for your services, you’re wasting your time and theirs.

How to Discover Your Prospect’s Needs

Typically, prospects are looking to buy value, and to have all of their unique needs met. When attending a meeting with a potential client, ask them what they expect the final outcome of working with you to be. Find out what they envision for the future, and discuss the important aspects, such as budget, support for growth, and other requirements.

Your prospects will ignore you if you don’t attempt to learn what their needs and requirements are. Have a conversation with your prospect, going beyond small talk. Ask open-ended questions and listen intently. There’s no need to lead or prompt your prospect, simply ask the question and listen. You won’t be able to sell until you fully and completely understand their needs and requirements.

The Following Are a Few Open-Ended Questions You Can Ask:

  • What are your expectations and requirements for these services?
  • What process did you use to determine your specific needs?
  • What motivated you/your company to look into this?
  • Have you considered any other services or service providers? Why did you consider them?
  • What kind of budget do you have for the services you’re considering?


  • Confirm the buyer’s needs and requirements,
  • Adjust your services to meet those needs and requirements, and
  • Convince the prospect to buy the services and become a loyal client.

Don’t blame the economy, the cost of your services or the irrelevancy of your services; begin to uncover and fulfill the needs of the buyer, adjust your services to meet them, and you’ll be on your way to turning a prospect into a client!

Interested in learning how to sell services, rather than simply present them to prospects? Fill out the contact form on the right side of this page or call ULISTIC today at: 716.799.1999 ext. 102

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