What a Presentation Can Become, When You Dare to Take a Smart Risk
This blog is about what a sales presentation can become when sales professionals and others pedaling ideas, services or products leave their “safe zone” and dare to prepare and present a pitch that compels buyers (clients, customers, students, executives, staff, colleagues, et al.) to sit up and listen, instead of groan, lose interest and play with their iPhone.
“Good morning, my name is Buster Brown, and I want to begin by thanking you for the opportunity to talk with you today. It’s my pleasure to be here and thank you for your time. As most of you know our hotel is located in Scottsdale, AZ/our product can/Columbus sailed the ocean blue and ….” Clearly, many presenters present more for themselves than for their buyers! They underestimate the impact of their opening words and settle for boring, unimaginative prattle when they could be waking up their buyers, piquing their interest, and gaining advocates for a positive buying decision.
Creating a boring opening sets the stage for a less-than-stellar presentation, meeting, class, and in today’s environment if you can’t get them to sit up and listen from the moment you begin your pitch, you may never gain their confidence back.
Compel them to listen
Gain their trust and get their attention by stepping out of your safe zone. Eliminate platitudes and begin with information that matters to them. They’re there because they want or need information from you, more than they can get from your website, more than they can get from your collateral, more than they can get from a book, and they have no time to waste. Neither do you.
Consider beginning with the “elephant in the room.” In almost every case, there is some issue that no one talks about. If you sell hotel space, maybe it’s the fact that every hotel in your competitive set will truly be a great choice for the buyer. Begin with that fact! Take the elephant by the … trunk. “Every hotel you’re considering is fabulous. I wish I could tell you that we have a nicer ballroom, or a better bed. We don’t. What we do have…” and then tell them how you have people who care about the success of their meeting (if it’s true, of course), and then prove that. Maybe you have the entire team walk in to shake their hands, or you have every team leader on video saying hello, and pronouncing the buyer’s name properly. Maybe each department head has given you a handwritten note and you elegantly shake the mail onto the table or present the letters to the buyer (with a bit of fanfare, fun and flair). Maybe you have a pile of M & M’s on the table and you move them around, saying, “Even the same product, can still be different.” Then you ask, who prefers red M & M’s and you give them a prepared bag of red M & M’s and talk about how your hotel is like the red ones, and then blue, and even brown.
Help them want to listen to you by being interesting, creative and appropriately different. I’m not suggesting you wear a “cheese head” unless that’s your thing. By simply stepping out of what a typical and safe presentation looks like, you distinguish yourself, show you care about their success, and create memorability. And isn’t that exactly what you’re pitching anyway?
Full Disclosure: This blog started as a press release for How to Say It To Sell It.