Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Before The Sales Presentation

There is a critical time before your sales presentation. Maybe you are picked up at the airport, taken out to dinner or just small talk in the hall. This time can really help you or leave you in a big hole to dig out of. That's why you might want to pick up a copy of The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine. Debra gives you proven tips for getting a conversation going and keeping it going. She also warns you about topics that you don't want to discuss...If only I had know this 10 years ago. I was picked up at LA International airport by a committee member who was taking me to their corporate office for a huge presentation. I had developed an ergonomic crutch handle and this company (the largest manufacturer of crutches in the US) was considering putting my handle on as OEM (original equipment manufacturing). I was very excited about this opportunity! My guest picks me up and as were driving along in rush hour traffic I ask how he was? He said, "not well". I said I was sorry to hear that:"what's wrong", I asked? "My wife left me" he said. Me, being a humorist and trying to add levity to the situation says : "It could have been worse, she could have left you for another woman." Bad idea...She had left him for another woman. The next hour and a half were the longest of my life. I was fortunate to ultimately get the contract-but as you can see it was not because of my small talk! Believe me, use humor sparingly and pick up some points about small talk-they will help you keep the conversation going before your sales presentation.


Steve Mertz
Master of Small Talk


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