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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