Selling the group from the front of the room.
Sell the whole audience. Give a talk and everyone buys. There’s a challenge. Group sales dynamics are delicate. Win the right one in the audience, and you can sway the whole group. Lose the wrong one — you may never recover. It’s about credibility. Yours.
People are not buying the product or service — they’re buying you. If they buy you, your product or service has a shot. If they don’t buy you, your product or service has no shot. They buy your message only if they buy you. You know the old story — don’t shoot the messenger. Well it started from people giving lousy performances.
Here are 17.5 elements that will help make your front-of-the-room talk hit people in the heart (of the checkbook):
1. You can do it if you believe you can. Your presentation will only be as good as you believe it will be (and that you have prepared it to be). Many are “afraid” to get up in front of the room. Don’t confuse fear with lack of preparation. Fear is a reactive state of mind and can be easily replaced.
2. Create a mood of upbeat excitement. Music, slides, video. Something to put the crowd in the right frame of mind.
3. Ask engaging questions. Questions about satisfaction, finance, technology, use of product, satisfaction with service, quality, or future. A question about them — that makes them think and respond in terms of you.
4. Make them laugh, but don’t tell a dumb joke. What’s a dumb joke? You’ll know one second after you tell it. There will be groans, polite laughter or (the worst) silence.
5. Test the participants. An assessment of their present situation. You should incorporate some of the questions above. Let each person rate their own reality on a scale of 1-5 on each question. The purpose of this exercise is to create a clear black and white picture of where they are vs. where they want to be.
6. Make a high-powered, concise, compelling presentation (not more than 15 minutes) that creates a desire for involvement. Rehearsed and presented with professional speaking skills.
7. There are 8 elements of presentation that make it hit or miss (make the audience cheer or hiss). Tone, vocal variety, eye contact, enunciation, posture, gestures, and dress combine to give the clarity of message a chance to shine through.
8. If you use multi-media (slides, computer graphics, or video), make it brief and dynamic. Make sure the graphics are state of the art. The least effective method of this type is overhead acetates. They are awkward and distracting. There is a science to using any image projector — when to turn it on and off are critical to the attention of the audience, and the penetration of the message. The words of caution are: Master it before attempting it.
9. Create a sense of urgency. A compelling reason to act now. The ability to create a fear of loss is crucial to your overall success.
10. Get a roadie to push the buttons, dim the lights, and pass out the handouts. Arrange it before the talk starts.
11. Attention spans are short and people are impatient. Get to the point. Make good points. Make concise points. And make an exit.
12. Solicit spoken testimonials of those who have already acted. The more testimonials, the more people will buy.
13. Anticipate all questions, and answer them in your presentation. To build credibility, you must answer (dispel) doubts. A word about “Any questions?”… Take them (if you must) before the end of your talk, then give your final remarks.
14. Tell the audience that their questions will be answered in small group sessions. Create one-on-one teams. After the talk these groups will get together and answer all questions. WARNING — One poorly answered question in front of a group could spoil the entire presentation.
15. Even if you stink, your story can save you. If you prepare one thing — prepare a great story — and deliver it with passion.
16. Create a real story that has relatable concepts. Something that provokes a thought in me. Make me laugh, make me think, make me want, make me cry. Then practice, practice, practice using the self evaluation rehearsal method.
17. End with a laugh, a tear or a powerful statement. or… give someone else the applause with a powerful introduction segue to the next speaker after your last statement.
17.5 Confidence breeds confidence — yours breeds theirs.
Words of caution: Some people may just be doing it (selling the group) for the money. They will be smelled out in a minute – they shall be known as “Phoenicians” — we’ve shortened it over the years to phonies. Do it because you believe it — passionately.
Words of advice: Talk too long and they’ll leave. Leave them wanting more, and they’ll buy.
FREE GitBit… There are eight questions to ask yourself that will triple the power of your presentation. And they’re free by fax. — I’d love to send them to you. Just go to www.gitomer.com – click FREE STUFF then click GitBit – register and enter the secret words, “EIGHT QUESTIONS”.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112