Should Selling Really Be All About Me?

As the Democratic candidates took the stage last week, they were selling their product “themselves.” When I watched these debates, I was surprised to see how many times you heard the words “I think, I want, I did.” However, some of the candidates used terms such as “We, Our vision, Together.” Which words do you think connect better with the audience? Using phrases and words that relate you to the people you are presenting to will help you build relationships and trust with your audience. Small words can make significant differences in your presentations. How often are you thinking about the words you are using in your client presentations?

Even if you don’t get up on a debate stage, you are still presenting. Each time you meet with a client, you are presenting. You are giving your ideas, or an action you want them to take. A simple way to connect to your audience is to limit the “I” to “You” ratio. For every “I” that you say make sure you have at least 4 “You’s” making your I/You ratio 1:4. Why does this work? People don’t care about you; they care about them. Don’t believe me? Who is the first person you look at when someone takes a picture? It’s You!

Clients want the same thing. They want it to be about them. Not what you think is right for them, or what you want to tell them, or all your accomplishments. How many times have you heard a presentation start like this:


“My name is Ty Hendrickson, today I want to share with you how I can help you.  I have ten years of accounting experience, and my company has been in business for the last 20 years. I have a degree in accounting and specialize in real-estate.” – Note the I/You ratio is 4:1


By merely thinking about changing your presentation to be more on them and using the I/You ratio, you can dramatically change the effect of your presentation, and clients and prospects will quickly connect with you.


“Wow, your business is booming. You have increased revenue year over year for the last two years. Today, we can look at how you can use new tax laws to help you plan for tax savings over the next five years.” – Note the I/You ratio is 0:3


When you look at these two statements, it seems natural to see the second would connect you with your client quicker and build trust, but it is rare to hear presentations start with the second statement. It has become routine that we start out talking about us.

Time magazine cites a study that shares people lose concentration after about 8 seconds, even less once we start out talking about ourselves.


Next time you are in a presentation, make sure you think about the I/You ratio. Are you talking about yourself, or are you talking about your audience? These debates are a good example see how presidential candidates try to connect with a large audience.  Next time you watch, share who you think does the best job using the I/You ratio.



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