Sales Presentation Training

Combination of content and training generates results

Man raises hand during a presentation
Eric Bergman was recently hired by a mutual fund company to provide a combination of presentation training and content development services to portfolio managers in advance of the company’s bi-annual sales conference in San Diego, CA. The conference was attended by retail investment advisors and was an important sales opportunity for the firm; investment advisors are its primary retail sales channel.

The purpose of the training was to help all portfolio managers shape their stories and tell them effectively in an interactive format. The goal was to create a conversational atmosphere that encouraged engagement, questions and dialogue with the audience. The assumption was that this would strengthen relationships and enhance sales results.

The portfolio managers were divided into six presentation teams according to investment style. For about five weeks prior to the conference, each team participated in five or six two-hour training sessions and rehearsals.

Using Eric's proprietary content development models, each team was assisted with developing its story for a 45-minute breakout session on how they manage money to help clients achieve their financial goals. The remainder of training then focused on helping them tell their stories effectively, while answering questions clearly and concisely.

The Q-Ratio
During the combined content development / training process, the group established a Q-Ratio equal to or greater than one for each breakout session. In other words, the portfolio managers would strive to answer 45 or more questions from the audience during each 45-minute breakout session—while still telling their story effectively and finishing on time.

The logic is simple. More questions from the audience equals more interest and more engagement. Interest and engagement are critical to sales success.

Results Demonstrate Success
The breakout sessions generated as many as 50 to 80 questions. Comments on evaluations included:

  • Very interactive, especially amongst the fund managers. Hope to see this more often at future conferences.

  • Outstanding in every sense.

  • Great interaction during the conference.

  • Interactive and informative. Very enjoyable.

  • The best conference of its kind that I’ve ever attended.
All speakers achieved a rating equal to or greater than 4.0 out of 5.0, with a median grade of 4.3. This is an amazing accomplishment, especially with a group of investment advisors, who are arguably one of the most difficult audiences to please.

To put this into even better perspective, the final professional keynote speaker (Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame), achieved a rating of 4.5—marginally better than the "amateur" portfolio managers.

In addition:
  • Ninety-six per cent of attendees rated the investment team as industry-leading or strong. For many attendees, this was their first opportunity to meet the investment team.

  • Seventy-one per cent of attendees said they would be more willing to recommend this company’s investment products to their clients.

  • Seventy-seven per cent of attendees said they will make this mutual fund company one of the top three mutual fund companies that they recommend to their clients.
This case left little doubt that effective story telling and increased interaction generate sales results.


Eric Bergman has written speeches and provided presentation skills training for 35 years. He has helped countless salespeople from five continents communicate more effectively to generate sales results.

His latest book,
The Presenter’s Toolbox, provides a series of models to help develop clear, concise content for virtually any sales presentation challenge an individual or a team could face.

Contact Eric if you’re interested in booking him as a speaker, or providing sales presentation training for your team.

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