When you speak at as many events as I have over the past 3 decades, you come to expect certain things. As you consider each of the following scenarios, try to make a comparison as to how it might compare with the sales calls and presentations you make to groups:
Scenario 1: When I am the keynote speaker at an event, people have much higher expectations of me as a speaker, the entertainment factor, and the potential take-aways from my topic. It's my job to exceed those expectations. Compare this scenario to a customer or client whose business you already have, but it's yours to lose...
Scenario 2: When I am one of many speakers at a conference without breakout sessions, I know that people are not there to hear me per se, may have little interest in my topic, and might skip or, if they attend, tune out. Compare this scenario to presentation day; you are one of many salespeople who will be paraded in and out of a conference room to present to a group of influencers and decision makers - some of whom couldn't care any less about you...
Scenario 3: When I am leading a breakout session, the people in that audience are there specifically to hear me and/or learn more about my topic. I must first listen to them, let them share what's on their mind, and assure that they get what they came for. Compare this to a sales call where you have a champion who brought you in, talked highly of you to everyone in the meeting, and you are favored to get the business...
Scenario 4: When I speak to a group who is old school (an industry that is slow to change or a demographic who missed the opportunities to change), I know I'll get a lot of pushback because it's not the way they do things in their world. Compare this to the sales presentation where the group assembled is currently doing business with someone else and, despite your presence, is reluctant to change...
Do you know what the common denominator is in all four of these scenarios?
Hint: It's not you or me.
Answer: It's your ability to do the following 10 things effectively:
- Get their attention.
- Develop some rapport.
- Ask questions.
- Connect. Watch this 1-minute video that explains the listen-connect concept.
- Challenge their thinking.
- Help them believe in you and your ideas.
- Get them to agree with an idea, initiative or concept.
- Get them to agree on a next step.
- Get them to commit to something.
The only difference between speaking to dozens, hundreds or thousands, and presenting to groups on a sales call, are the number of believers. It's our job to find a way to get as many people as possible to believe in us, our ideas, our capabilities, our value and the impact we can have on them and their business.
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