Yesterday I compared professional speaking to selling…here is what the professionals focus on:
o Stories. This topic deserves more later, but in short, stories are central to any great presentation. Recall your favorite conferences and I bet the speaker had great stories. And they were likely personal stories. Practice them, write them out, record them, listen to them, tighten them up, and make them perfect.
o The Alpha. The alpha is the opening – the point in the meeting when your listeners either tune in or check out. Memorize it, rehearse it, know it, and speak it. Every sales call is different, but contrary to popular opinion, your opening can be memorized and modified slightly to meet the need. Assume you have about six seconds to grab their attention.
o Sound Bites. Sound bites bring credibility, create interest, and build your case. Don’t over do it, but be armed with well-rehearsed sound bites from credible sources; sources your target audience will recognize and believe.
o The Close. Next steps are the key to moving the sales cycle forward. Make sure you know where you are going and you have a compelling process to move your client forward. Seth Godin, Author of Permission Marketing, writes about steps of permission that are gained along the way. What is the next step needed in the permission chain.
Almost every time I speak, I record it. Sometimes I have video; other times I just have audio. Watching and listening to yourself will give you a whole new perspective. Is your presentation style high-impact, emotionally charged, exciting,… enthusiastic? Is it credible and do you deliver concrete concepts that allow the listener to visualize the issues and proposed solutions? If not, head back to the lab to rebuild. Don’t expect this to be easy. It’s like golf, every move matters, and lots of practice is required. It also pays to take a lesson from someone who knows. But just imagine doubling your effectiveness and cutting your sales cycle in half. If there is one area that deserves some investment, it’s your message and delivery.
© 2011, David Stelzl