You never know where good advice will come from! On a recent flight to Chicago I was seated next to a woman who was also on her way to speak at a conference. When she found out that I teach presentation skills she shared that she used to be deathly afraid of public speaking. In fact, so much so that she asked a Buddhist monk for help. Although not the first source I’d think of in this area, it turned out to be the right solution for her. The monk helped her overcome her paralyzing fear of presenting and now she actually looks forward to speaking to audiences all over the world. I wanted to share those 3 Buddhist principles with you as well as their application for your presentations: 3 Buddhist Principles for Fearless Presentations Conviction Conviction, or having a strongly held believe that you’re doing something worthwhile, is Read More
Delivering an Oscar-worthy performance is one-thing, but what about an Oscar-worthy presentation? Each year I hand out (not literally) awards for the Oscars Best and Worst Presentations in a variety of categories, along with some helpful tips for us less famous presenters. Here are my top awards from this year’s Academy Awards. See if you agree. The Oscars’ Best and Worst Presentation Awards from the 2018 Oscars Best Acceptance Speech (TIE) Frances McDormand, Best Actress Jordan Peele, Best Original Script If there was any doubt Frances McDormand’s speech was going to be standard fare, that was quickly dispelled with “I’ve got a few things to say” opening. McDormand was passionate and expressive in words, face, and body. Even so, she was able to channel her big personality and excitement enough to deliver a powerful message of change – along with specific instructions! While Jordan Peele’s style was certainly more contained Read More
You finally get that presentation or meeting set with your dream account. You arrive at their office pumped up and ready to knock your presentation out of the park! But of course you have to wait…and wait….And with each passing minute you can feel that positive energy slip into anxiety and tension. Before you know it, your mind begins to wander, you’re second guessing your entire presentation, kicking yourself for not practicing more, or searching for distractions on your phone. Presentation nerves claim another victim. Regardless of whether you’re sitting in a reception area or waiting for customers to join you for an online meeting, presentation nerves can rob you of positive energy and necessary focus. When you finally do get to your presentation, you feel awkward and uncertain. And depending on your default “Fight or Flight” response, you either race or slog through it detached from your audience and Read More
I hear a lot of advice a long the lines of “just be confident!” from sales coaches. But I think most salespeople know that confidence is important in sales. The question is – how do you gain confidence? And if you’re not confident, does that mean you don’t belong in sales?
I think it’s a myth that great salespeople are always confident. I think they may know how to get themselves into a state of confidence, or they have the courage to persevere even when they don’t feel confident and trust that the confidence will come.
Sometimes, let’s face it, you’re having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, you lost a deal. Sometimes, you simply can’t think your way into greater confidence. For those times, I want to share with you a really practical technique I learned as an actor.
It’s called Acting as if. And it works like this. Next time you’re feeling really confident, notice what that looks like and sounds like for you. Maybe you stand taller, gesture more, speak louder, or hold eye contact longer.
Then when you have to get on that call or give a presentation when you’re not feeling 100% confident, apply these confident behaviors as you’re practicing. Push through even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and maintain those confident behaviors in your meeting. In other words, act as if you have great confidence. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find that pretty quickly you are actually feeling confident and good. It’s much like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel happier.
So go out there and show confidence, and if you can’t, act as if until the real deal kicks in.
It’s 2018, and by rough count, I’ve sat through a thousand sales presentations. Most of them have blurred together in my mind. What stands out? The exceptionally good ones…or the cringingly bad ones. Your prospect may not have seen quite as many as me, but they likely struggle to recall most of them as well. Why does this matter? Boring, forgettable presentations are unsuccessful presentations. Why are today’s presentations so forgettable? In a day and age where we know so much about our prospects, from their interests and dislikes, to their challenges and goals, it seems surprising that most presentations are still so ineffective. Part of the problem is that most salespeople today are still following a presentation structure that has been around since the seventies (even though many of today’s prospects were not even alive in the seventies!) This dated, ineffective structure includes too many elements that are unnecessary, Read More
I love snack size foods. They’re cute, they’re portable, and they create the illusion that I’m eating lighter. I say “illusion,” because I usually end up eating more than the equivalent of a full-size portion – especially if it’s a candy bar! Snack size foods have exploded in the last five years for those very same reasons. Smaller packaging gives customers a relatively low-risk way to sample a product — without making a full investment in money, time or calories. In a selling environment where customers show an ever-increasing reluctance to invest their time and energy to sitting through – or sifting through – long presentations or product demos, it’s time to think about going snack-size as well. Customer’s Love Affair with Snack Size Content The majority of people consume content today in snack size portions. We get our news and entertainment on demand, read or watch only so long Read More
Imagine being wrongly accused of a crime and having to present your case to a jury. You’d want to use every possible advantage to win them over, right? When the stakes are high, good trial lawyers know a few secrets to a successful presentation – how to quickly establish credibility, present a strong, persuasive case, and win over skeptical jurors. While you’re not technically on trial in sales, you also need to win over often skeptical buyers. And a dry run through of the facts is not going to cut it. Being able to present a strong, persuasive case is a critical skill for salespeople today in an increasingly competitive market where buyers are reluctant to change. Fortunately, trial lawyers have a few secrets up their sleeves for a successful presentation that we can apply in sales to improve our results. Trial Lawyers’ Secrets to a Successful Presentation 1. Make Read More
If you deliver your presentation the same way to each of your customers, you are leaving money on the table. Think back to your last three customers. One may have been talkative and forthcoming, while the other was quiet and guarded. Perhaps one of your customers lit up when you were talking about the big picture while another only showed interest when you got to the numbers. Even customers in similar industries or roles can have dramatically different personalities. And these Buyer Styles – and how you react to them – can determine whether your meeting is successful or not. Adjusting your presentation strategy to buyer styles doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Once you learn how to identify specific personality traits and understand what adjustments you need to make in the way you present, you will have a distinct advantage over your competition. Below are 4 Read More
If your prospect had a remote, would he be tempted to change the channel on your presentation or demo? That’s a tough question to ask yourself, but given the number of choices today’s buyers have and the demands on their attention, you need to take a hard look at just how compelling your presentation or demo is to your audience.
The bar has been raised. And if you haven’t raised your presentation game with it, you’re going to get left behind. We live in a time where most people have been exposed to hundreds, maybe thousands of presentations. Showing up and walking through a slide deck and parading our your features and benefits like salespeople have been doing for decades, is not going to help you win deals.
Today’s presentations have to be better than average, they have to be compelling in order to break through the clutter, stand out from the competition, and move buyers to the next step in the sales cycle. And by compelling I’m not talking about slides, or templates or platforms, but rather great substance, structure and delivery. The elements that make your prospect say, “Wow, they really understand us.” And that, my sales friends, is compelling.
If you’re uncertain whether your presentation is compelling or not, shoot me an email and let’s talk. Don’t wait to find out until your prospect changes the channel from you…to your competition.
Like the first scene of a movie, the opening of your presentation should grab your audience’s attention, set the stage – and let them know they are in the right theater! Unfortunately the typical sales presentation opens with a boring company overview that does nothing to distinguish you in a competitive marketplace. Outside the Box presentation openings take into account what’s of most interest to your prospect. And it’s very rarely how long you’ve been in business or how many markets you’re in! It’s likely something much more personal and close to home, like “What do I need to do to drive customers in my door? How am I going to compete with the new guy on the block? Here are 5 Outside the Box presentation openings: Customer success story. Whose experience is more meaningful to a prospect? Yours or that of a peer in their industry facing a similar Read More