Friday, April 28, 2006

Sales Presentation Video Clips

Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen has a few Presentation Video clips that you may want to peruse this weekend. I haven't checked all of them out but you can pick up some good pointers. Enjoy!

Steve Mertz
Enjoy the Show!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sales Training Tip-Why Audience Interaction is Best

In my recent post of Your Opening Says Everything I mentioned the value of being inclusive with your audience. In other posts I have written about the value of
Drawing Your Audience In. You may be thinking Why or saying Mertz, I hate your opening, it's lame! Here's the reason-Studies have shown that your audience or committee, forget 90% of your talk after two days! Ouch-You can hardly believe that you paid me $6,500 a day to coach your executive team on that huge contract and the committee won't remember 90% of it after two days.

What they will remember is significant interaction they had with you. Audiences today want an experience and not an event. That's why it's so critical to do your homework before your major sales presentation. For example, if you have found out that a committee member is very sensitive to cost over runs-use it to your advantage. For example: "Joe, in our conversation you mentioned that your last project was over budget by five million dollars. Here are the practices we have in place to ensure you will not have a repeat experience." Chances are pretty good that Joe will be impressed by your listening skills and your solution to his problem.

And one more thing-You may recall I recounted a very lame sales presentation that a friend of mine attended, called Is This Your Sales Presentation? Had the financial advisors gone to each member of the front row and introduced themselves they would have had a more inclusive and productive sales presentation.

Next time you are presenting try it-Introduce yourself to the front row, one by one, remember a few names and mention them in your presentation-It is Magic!!

Steve Mertz
Significant Audience Interaction Planner!

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Your Opening Says Everything

Your opening for your sales presentation says everything. Specifically, will you include your audience or perhaps alienate them? I do a lot of work in the financial industry so we will pick on them for this example. Consider these two openings:

Thank you for coming this evening. My name is Steve Mertz and I'm a Vice President of investments with Merrill Lynch.I've been with Merrill Lynch for fifteen years and as you know Merrill is the largest financial firm in the United States. This evening we are pleased to have Louie Navellier with us to speak on managed accounts and the benefits they can bring to your portfolio. Let me tell you a little about Louie... We have all heard a variation of this opening haven't we?
Next, let's look at this opening which I have used when speaking about money talk.

Good evening, on the way over here I passed two of those stores that sell that expensive coffee-their name is escaping me, help me. Yes, thank you it is Starbucks. How much do you think the average American spends a year at Starbucks? Turn to the person on your right and come up with a figure. Ok, what are some figures you came up with? The average American is said to spend between $1,500 and $1,800 a year at Starbucks! Now do this, visualize your portfolio and ask yourself if it generates enough in interest and dividends to pay for your Starbucks outing. This evening we will demonstrate proven strategies for generating not only Starbucks money but also your other retirement needs.

I've immediately engaged the audience and more importantly, I've given them permission to participate in this event. I've also built community and made people feel at ease with the person they are sitting next to whom they may have just met! I did not waste valuable time introducing myself and my firm because on my handout I've included that information in the bibliography.

If my opening speaks to you please feel free to steal it or tweak it to your liking. I'm confident that if you engage your audiences immediately your sales presentations will be more effective! What are your favorite opening techniques? Please share your ideas.

Steve Mertz
Openings Are Everything!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Guy Kawasaki was one of my first mentors when I decided to be an entrepreneur. I've never met him but have read all his books and followed his career from Apple Computer (AAPL) to Venture Capitalist. To the best of my knowledge he is the original author of the 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint.

I think this is excellent advice for giving a sales presentation with PowePoint and would encourage you to read his thoughts. The points are simple and include the following:

1. A PowePoint presentation should have ten slides.
2. The presentation should last no longer than twenty minutes.
3. The presentation should contain font no smaller than thirty point.

Speaking from personal experience, which I outlined here, I would say Guy's recommendations are great food for thought! Obviously, there is no one way to give a presentation but these are excellent guidelines that I encourage my clients to incorporate into their sales presentations.

He feels that ten is the optimum number of slides you should use because the normal individual cannot comprehend more than 10 concepts in one meeting. Personally, I feel that is a lot of material and would encourage 3 major points and maybe 3 subpoints. Again, let me stress there is no one right way, but 10 points are a lot for your audience to take away. I hope all my friends in the financial services industry are reading this! They are clearly the biggest violators of these suggestions :)

He concludes by listing the 10 topics that venture capitalists care about:
1. Problem
2. Your Solution
3. Business Model
4. Underlying magic/technology
5. Marketing and sales
6. Competition
7. Team
8. Projections and milestones
9. Status and timeline
10. Summary and call to action

Good thoughts and good suggestions for your next sales presentation!

Steve Mertz
Don't Kill Em With PowePoint!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

California Dreamin

I'm off to San Diego for work and will return Monday. Have a great week! Steve

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Taking Your Sales Presentation to The Next Level

Debbie Weil was one of my first exposures to corporate blogging. She was recently blogging about how your personal appearance can be so much a part of your schtick if you're a speaker or presenter-Now you know the real reason I wear those crutches! :) She includes a very funny video for your viewing enjoyment to this point.

She also mentions that she is currently working with a tremendous speaking coach, to take her speaking skills to the next level. She comments: "It's humbling, a little painful...and fascinating (in a weird way) to watch yourself on video and realize how many ways you can improve your delivery."

That's why I encourage you to tape your sales presentation before you give the real deal in front of that important client! Lastly, let me make an important point-you have to actually watch your video and be willing to work on improving your skills! :)

Steve Mertz
I Couldn't Resist!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Drawing Your audience In

One of the world's top corporate speakers is Steve Jobs of Apple Computer. When Jobs speaks he goes out of his way to delight and surprise his audiences. He is also very well prepared and makes his sales presentation seem so effortless! This comes from hours and hours of practice-not because he is a gifted speaker by nature.

You can read more about his presentations in these tips given by Carmine Gallo, who writes for Business Week and is a sales presentation coach. One thing that Jobs always does in his presentations, usually near the end, is to say:"And one more thing." Audiences love to be surprised and feel they are getting an "inside scoop." Now imagine Jobs in front of an audience and he pauses, looks one person in the eyes, leans slightly forward, drops his voice, and says: "And one more thing." Can you visualize the power that he just added to his sales presentation? Can't you feel how he drew the entire audience in by dropping his voice?

Since I walk on crutches it is not comfortable for me standing in one place for any period of time. Consequently, I remain seated for the majority of my presentation and have used this technique very successfully to keep the audience engaged and delighted! Whether you are giving your sales presentation at a conference or in front of a three person committee, this sales technique will increase your impact.

I would love to tell you that I figured this out all by myself but...Even a sales presentation coach gets coaching and my coach in this instance was the fabulous Victoria Labalme That's her on the left. Go ahead, try this technique in front of the mirror or in front of your dog-you will be impressed by it's power!

Steve Mertz
Draw Your Audience In!

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Preparing For a Sales Presentation

This is one of the most effective sales presentation tools that I've ever been taught. Write your entire presentation out and then get some colored markers. For example, for all the facts that you have written down, highlight them in red. Next, color all your humor in green. Lastly, color all your audience participation in blue.

Ok, now step back and look at your work of art. What, you don't see any green for humor? Where is the blue, for audience participation? Even if you are giving a sales presentation to manage $50 million dollars for a pension fund, you will be amazed by the audiences receptivity if you make the presentation about them. Red is a nice color but make sure your presentation has some green and blue to involve your audience.

You know you are getting very proficient at this exercise when you can give a sales presentation on the pricing of financial derivatives and your audience stays awake!
Image from

Steve Mertz
I Love to Color!

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