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Spotlight On: David Prentice, Leading Sales and Marketing Expert

For nearly 30 years, David Prentice has worked to train front-line and executive staff in how to serve customers better—and increase sales. A dynamic and witty speaker, he helps clients understand a range of business issues, such as customer service and satisfaction, negotiation, account management, and how to achieve sales excellence. David offers audiences practical techniques that can be put to use immediately to increase performance and improve results. We’re excited to put David in our spotlight today:

What inspired you to want to be a speaker?

 My career really started at Xerox. I was transferred from Canada to the Xerox International Centre in Leesburg, Virginia. I had success in competing against IBM and began speaking to Xerox Sales Professionals across the USA on “How To Beat Big Blue.”

Any advice for aspiring speakers?

 Great speakers engage, excite, and educate their audiences. If you need a script you should become an accountant.

What do you like to leave audiences with?

My job is to inspire sale professionals to achieve results. It’s important that they leave my session motivated to challenge their customers on each and every call.

How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?

Luck does not play a roll in an exciting keynote. The key is to connect to the audience in the first 15 seconds and never work off a script. Work off the audiences’ interests. If they are engaged with a segment of the keynote…stay with it!

Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?

I spoke to 4000 people at Disney in Orlando. There were five international, very well known American speakers, and I was the only Canadian. The audience scored me a 9.8 out of 10, while the next closest was 8.9. I like to win…it’s just a part of my DNA!

Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?

In front of an audience of 300 J&J sales reps in Las Vegas, I repositioned a flip chart that had a very sharp burr on the edge. As I repositioned the flip chart the burr slit four of my fingers. I was very “pumped” and didn’t realize that I was bleeding. As I used my hands to “animate” the blood was splattering all over my shirt. As soon as I noticed, I asked the audience, “when was the last time a speaker bled for you? And, is there a Band-Aid in the house?!”.

If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?

I’m a sales guy, always have been and always will be. I am exactly who I want to be.

Desert island album?

Live Aid–hearing Freddy Mercury and Queen work the audience of 500,000 at Whembley Stadium.

Best subject in school?

Bridge and poker, they both trumped accounting; marketing and sales, they both trumped bridge and poker. How I passed four accounting supplements, I’ll never know. But, I remember my marks were 50, 50, 50, and 50.

Last book you read?

David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber Returns. Why? I like the guy and he makes sense.

Last film you saw?

The Usual Suspects…at the cottage.