Using Hooks in Your Sales Presentation’s Opening

By Julie M. Hansen

Part of Sales Presentations For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A hook is an attention-grabbing device that focuses your prospect’s attention on your message, sets the tone of the presentation, and provides something of value. Here are several types of hooks that ensure that your presentation starts on a strong note.

  • Quote: Using someone else’s words can add an element of credibility to your presentation or effectively frame your message. Example: “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.” John D. Rockefeller

  • Question: Asking your audience a question can get them actively thinking about the topic and participating in the conversation. Example: What percentage of expense reports you process is error-free?

  • Startling statement: Opening with a strong point of view can be effective at getting your audience to sit up and pay attention. Example: “You may be losing half a million dollars or more a year by not being able to take advantage of early supplier payment discounts.”

  • Fascinating fact: An interesting fact that is relevant to your topic can incite curiosity and conversation. Example: The fastest growing segment of the population is those individuals 80 and older.

  • Story: A short relevant story is a unique and powerful way to open a presentation. Example: “My recent zip line experience reminded me of the business challenge we’re here to discuss. Here’s why…”

  • Prop: An object can give your message a powerful visual impact. Examples include flipchart, whiteboard, book, phone, key.

  • Insight: Sharing something valuable about your prospect’s industry or company can enhance your credibility and greatly improve attention. Example: “We discovered that your accounting personnel typically touch a document four times before it gets processed in your current system.”

  • Video: A short on-point video is a sure way to gain attention and set the tone for your presentation. Example: A company selling security technology uses a quick montage of news clips on personal information leakage.