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The Top 10 Strategies for Staging Successful One-On-One Presentations


FEATURE - Hilton Johnson

Carol Waugh

Suppose you were an actor on Broadway. Would you go on stage in front of your audience without knowing your lines? Would you begin your performance without all of the props being in place and the audience being seated properly?

I didn't think so.

Let me ask you this: Is your enrollment presentation just as important to you and your family as a Broadway performance? Do you know your lines? Do you know how to set the stage that will guarantee your prospect's undivided attention throughout your sales performance?

If you're not sure about the answers to these questions, it's time for you to learn (once and for all) how to stage your presentation for maximum performance and results.

In the following examples, we're going to assume that you will be attending an appointment in your prospect's home.

1. Qualify the Appointment

Why go on a sales call if your prospect has not indicated a genuine interest in your program to begin with? Not knowing if you have a serious, motivated prospect and still going on the appointment is like rolling dice and hoping you get lucky. Not a good bet.

Why not qualify your appointment before your meeting by first asking them a question like this over the phone:

"Would you be receptive to enrolling into my program if I can show you how to create a walk-away royalty-type income while spending more and more time at home with your family?"

How could anyone say no to a question like that unless they were irrational, illogical, unmotivated or just basically unqualified? And if they come across to you this way, forget about them. You'll be glad you did.

2. Present Only to Husband and Wife Together

Do not delude yourself into thinking that you can present your program to one spouse without the other one present and still succeed. Your prospect will never be able to explain the program to their spouse as compellingly as you can.

Save yourself a lot of time and grief by insisting that both parties be present when you arrive. If your prospect tells you that the husband/wife/significant other will not be there and they can make decisions for them, you say this:

"I can appreciate that. However, my boss (upline sponsor, supervisor, etc.) requires that I speak to the husband and wife together. When would be a good time to catch both of you together?"

If they refuse to let you present to both of them together, disqualify them. Believe me, you will not be losing a darn thing.

3. Prepare Your "Broadway" Sales Performance

Personally, I believe in having my presentation down cold before going on a sales call. I don't like winging something that can make me look foolish. The sales presentation deserves some serious attention. After all, didn't Yul Brynner deliver the exact same presentation over 5,000 times in the Broadway play, "The King And I?"

At the very least I want to have the "outline in my head" so I know where I'm going (step-by-step) with my sales performance.

It's a good idea to have the sequence of your presentation and your best selling questions (written on three-by-five cards) with you. Refer to these cards (they will not laugh at you) during your presentation to guarantee that you will stay on the right track. Do this until you know your presentation backwards and forwards. You won't be sorry.

Another good idea is to role-play your presentation in your head as you drive to your appointment. See yourself asking your questions and then transitioning to the next step.

Powerful stuff, huh?


4. Arrive Early and Stay Late

There are several benefits waiting for you by arriving ten to 15 minutes early for an appointment:

  • You increase the chances that you will not be late (a real no-no).
  • You will most likely get to spend some relaxed and casual time "warming up" with your prospects before the serious discussions begin.
  • Showing up a little early conveys to your prospects that you are very responsible.

If your prospects are not ready to see you before the scheduled time, that's good, too. You can check out the environment you're in by looking around to get a feel for who they are and what they're like before you actually meet them.

When you finish your sales performance, don't be in such a hurry to leave. You can solidify your sale by developing the relationship even further. Often you will discover other opportunities you didn't see before.

Arriving early and staying late will also allow you to pace yourself better between appointments.

5. Address the Time Issue

After you have greeted your prospects, ask them to give you an idea of how much time they have reserved for this meeting.

Their response will tell you a great deal.

Asking your prospects about the time conveys that you respect their time and do not plan to waste it. They like that.

You also get to size up the situation by the amount of time they agree to give you. If their situation has changed and they cannot give you the time you need, you can reschedule the appointment to a time when you will not be rushed.

6. Get Them to the Dining Table

The dining or kitchen table is a friendly place. It's where family and friends meet to "break bread." It's also where family matters are discussed and important decisions are made.

You need to get your prospects to the dining or kitchen table and position them exactly where you want them to sit. Here are a couple of things to say to make that happen:

"Mr. and Ms. Jones, could we go over to the dining table. I have some things to show you and that way you might be able to see them a little better."

To position them to sit together, say this:

"Tell you what, you two sit together on this side of the table and I'll sit on this side. This way I can show this program to both of you at the same time." (They always comply.)

7. Eliminate All Distractions

A television playing, children making noise or dogs barking can kill the best of presentations. You never want to begin your sales performance in any of these situations.

Here is the best language I've ever used to get the TV off:

"Folks, (point to the TV) I cannot compete with a professional. Would it be okay if I turn your TV down just a little so you can hear me better?" (They always jump up and turn it all the way off.)

If their children start climbing all over you, be courteous and smile, but completely stop talking. This will convey that you cannot continue with this kind of distraction.

If you have other distractions such as dogs barking or children playing too loud, make this request:

"Folks, what we have to talk about tonight is extremely important. It's critical that I have your undivided attention. Is there any way we could put the dog and children into another room or something?" (They do.)

8. When Neighbors, Family and Friends Play Attorney

I cringe when I go to an appointment and discover that people are there that I hadn't counted on. People like nosy neighbors, know-it-all friends and family members that give unsolicited advice.

Unless you take drastic measures in these situations, you can be sure that when you finish your presentation, these people will play attorney and advise your prospects to say no, think it over, or they will know of "a better deal somewhere else." Yuck!

If at all possible, reschedule. If that's not practical, go to Plan B. Bring everybody into the performance and sell them as a group.

Ask these folks if they would like to see the program, too. (They always say yes.) Then get everybody together at the dining table. As you ask your questions and create a state of agreement with your real prospects, do the same thing with the additional guests.

When you finish your sales performance, if your real prospects are sold, so is everybody else. By everybody participating and responding positively to your questions, chances are that you won't have a problem with these guests at the end.

Occasionally, you'll get lucky and make multiple sales.

By the way, if someone comes over to visit with your prospects in the middle of your presentation (thereby interrupting your performance) what do you do? You stop talking until they leave or you invite them into the action and bring them up-to-date with what you've covered so far.

9. Stage for Commitments

One of the most important aspects of giving a successful presentation is to set the stage for what you want your prospects to do during your performance. I don't know about you, but I want my prospects saying `yes' to my questions and responding positively to everything I show them as I move along.

Here is what I say to easily get `yes' commitments at each step of my demonstration:

"Mr. and Ms. Jones, the last thing in the world I would want to do is get you folks involved in a program you do not feel comfortable with. Please stop me if you're concerned about any part of my program. By the same token, as we discuss the program, I'll be asking you some questions to get your feedback. If I feel there is not a good fit, I'll suggest that we don't continue and we can still part friends. Would that be okay with you?"

This type of staging for the presentation elevates and enhances their responses and commitments to you as you proceed. The reason for this: You are letting your prospects know in advance that they have to meet your program's qualifications just as your program must meet their requirements.

10. Have Your Prospect Give Your Presentation For You and To You

Sounds crazy doesn't it? But that's exactly what will happen when you open your sales dialogue with a question that reveals their hot buttons. Questions like this:

  • "Would you give me your thoughts about the discussion we had earlier on the phone?"
  • "What was it about this program that attracted your attention?"
  • "Why did you folks decide to invite me here this evening to see this program?"

Follow with Problem, Probing and Benefit Questions around the answers they give you, and you will have THEM doing most of the talking (and selling) for you. You can then customize your talk (and questions) around what's important to them.


HILTON AND LISA JOHNSON are the founders of MLM University, a virtual sales training and coaching organization for "Network Marketers Who Hate Selling." Hilton was a featured speaker at the Upline Masters Seminars in July and October, and has conducted over 500 sales workshops across North America. He is also the co-creator, with Steve Spaulding, of the new audio training system Start Right Now. MLM University offers a popular eight-week "Selling By Attraction" program, as well as many other services. The Johnsons invite all Upline subscribers to a free, live interactive one-hour training class by teleconference and to subscribe to their free MLM Sales Coach email newsletter. Sign up for these great opportunities and learn more about MLM University at or by calling (954) 491-8996.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Johnson Feature November/December 1998, 888-UPLINE-1,