Sunday, January 20, 2008

How persuasive are your presentations?

We ran the first 2 days of a 3 day course last week for a client on how to Present With Confidence.

In my opinion ,the reason most presentations are remarkably ineffective is they lack the 3p's. Punch, Persuasion and Passion. They are too vanilla.

Consider this when you present. Are you trying to persuade, inform or entertain ? If you want to be persuasive your need to incorporate the following into you presentations:

  • Statistics to give you legitimacy
  • Value - Understanding the audiences needs and addressing them
  • Developing relationships prior to and post the presentation
  • Using reference stories , examples, metaphors and anecdotes in appropriate places
  • Pain - have you built enough to get them to change

If you change nothing , nothing changes.

Trying to change the thoughts and belief systems of an audience is no easy task. You need a range of skills and you need to deliver your message in a very engaging fashion.

Above all else, you have to totally believe in your message. No ifs , no buts. If you don't believe in it the audience will smell your lack of conviction before you get past your first slide!

To access my top 10 tips for delivering persuasive presentations just email me at

Are you a talking brochure?

If you find at times you have become nothing more than a talking brochure when trying to influence a customer, it's time you changed your approach.

The world of selling is continuing to change. Customers need partners to guide them and most are willing to a premium for this advice. If they are not they can always order:

  • On line
  • Via the phone (Have a free call number with the best customer service team in the country available to process orders)
  • Via Fax

Last week I delivered a workshop for account managers on how to be a high performing salesperson. We had a great session together. It was just me and 22 account managers who sell to dentists. The client , one of the best known brands in the world, has engaged NRG Solutions in a bid to improve the results and efficiency of the sales team. We will be working closely together with the management team over this balance of the year helping to drive sales results.

Key Messages

The majority of the session was devoted to the skills you would notice in high performing sales people.This included:

  • How to offer more to the client than being a talking brochure - The 4p's of questioning
  • The importance of attitude, goal setting and focus
  • How to conduct a sales call - The NRG Solutions PRINT sales process
  • How to know you are moving forwards with a client
  • How to manage your territory to most effectively grow your business
  • How and when to adjust your selling style according to the customers buying preference
  • Surfacing and dealing with objections
  • When and how to close a sale
As the chinese say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. I think we took that first step last week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Selling to men and women

I just made a call to a prospect. I've met this woman a few times and have been pitching to her for work for over a year. No luck yet. Prior to calling her I was checking my CRM (you should always try and do this) to see if there was anything particular I could comment on. I noticed she was married this time last year.

As a rapport builder I mentioned that her first wedding anniversary must be coming up soon. I asked her if she had dropped any hints to remind her husband. (eg: tattoo the date on his forehead) We had a good chat and there may be some positive outcomes, we'll see.

So what's my point. I wouldn't have mentioned this to a male, as I don't think it would have helped strengthen my relationship with him.

The following tips are just that tips. They are not rules. We are all different. Be flexible in how you interpret them.

How women should sell to men

  • Constantly flatter us - play to our ego. "Wow, that's impressive, you must be very proud, wow you've been working hard, etc"
  • Don't talk to us when we are handling a product or reading a brochure. We can only do one thing at a time
  • Let us do the bulk of the talking - we're not that great at listening compared to you
  • Ask questions related to how this product / service will help us achieve our goals. We are on the whole more goal oriented than women
  • Focus on results and actions
  • Ask for the business in a confident matter at the right time. We love confidence in a woman

How men should sell to women

  • Look great. Clean shirts/pants/ shoes (very important) - women notice far more than men. Watch how much women are constantly checking out each other. (mmm nice shoes / bag etc)
  • Smell great - women have a more powerful sense of smell than men. If you stink they think your product stinks as well. Simple.
  • Ask questions and make comments related to feelings. "How do you feel about this?" "Did that comment upset you?" " Is that guy still playing silly buggers with you"etc
  • Use more facial expressions and head nodding than you would normally do. Just watch women converse with each other and compare this to when men converse with other men. Smile, nod your head and use a range of wow, uh huhs, and really, is that right. Remember don't fake this or it wont work. Be genuine.
  • Compliment women in a genuine and sincere way by noticing things about them. Definitely don't get sleazy. Comment on a broach, bracelet, bag or shoes. Ask if it is new. Chances are they just purchased it! Comment on their hair if it has been restyled or recoloured. The key is notice them and the little things they may have changed since you last saw them
  • Listen a lot. You'll never hear a woman say " he listened to actively to me!"
  • Remember the names of their kids and if you can their ages

Be wary of your default style

Every B2B sales professional knows you need to adjust your style depending on your customer. just be wary of the need to tap in to female and male adjustments as well.

Remember this: Last time I checked no man has ever been murdered by his wife whilst he has been doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom.

Friday, January 4, 2008

It'a new year and a new approach

I've been lazy with my blogging over the past few months. This year one of my goals it keep my blog as a diary of the events i'm involved with.

First job for 2008 sees me in perth next week. I'll be delivering 4 x 1 hour sessions as part of a 3 day event the client is running. My topics:

  1. Self Motivation - Getting the most out of your time
  2. Goal setting for success
  3. Choosing your attitude
  4. Outstanding customer service

I read an interesting book whilst on a holiday with my family. It's called Blink. The author is malcolm gladwell who wrote The Tipping Point. It's worth a look. Gladwell highlights the importance of trusting your subconscious. He argues we should allow our subconscious to guide us perhaps more than we do. It's well supported with good research and examples.

Just before I check out of this blog I always re do my goals at the end of each year. I can't stress how useful I find this exercise. Of all the topics I speak on goal setting is one that I am convinced will make the biggest difference to the way you perform. I break my goals down in to the following areas:

  1. Family
  2. Personal
  3. Work
  4. Community

email me if you'd like any tips or ideas on how to get started. Good luck for a great 2008.