How to Win Sales Presentations with a Heavy Accent

People with heavy foreign accents often ask me what they can do to become better communicators.  Of course, accent reduction coaching is an option. And we recommend it when your accent is so severe that people have trouble understanding you.


But you can be a great presenter even if you have a heavy accent.  You need to speak with energy and focus.


Consider Freddy N., one of the leading accounting software sellers in the southeastern United States. A first-generation immigrant from Vietnam, this wonderful seller has a very heavy Vietnamese accent. His accent is so severe that he probably could use some remedial accent reduction coaching. I’ve recommended it to him.


But he has never had the coaching.


I probably wouldn’t go to the coaching either if I were doing as well as Freddy. Why bother?


One reason for his success is, ironically, that he is a very effective communicator. He is amazingly energetic in his somewhat broken English. He smiles constantly and he exudes real enthusiasm about his product.


Freddy brings that passionate attitude to every conversation. He is a high energy, fun guy to be around. During every presentation, he brings that fun guy to the pitch.


He also does a nice job of keeping his message focused.  He keeps his message to a few key points. While he is generally tough to understand, his three messages always come through loud and clear.  That focus, combined with his first-rate energy, makes this gentleman from Vietnam, who speaks mediocre to poor English, very effective in sales presentations. Indeed, he is very effective when most native English speakers are not very effective at all.


Freddy and other passionate sellers understand that the products and services are often indistinguishable to their competition. That means that the key distinguishing factor isn’t the product. The key distinguishing factor is the person attached to the product.

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