Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip #11 of 15

Losing Sight of The Goal is #11 of Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Their Presentations. The goal of a sales presentation is to get an appointment and get more money under management. An important part of your sales strategy is to give the prospects so many benefits of your expertise that the only reasonable next step is to engage you for all their needs.

Remember the old "T" bar example of features vs benefits? It's still very applicable today when preparing for a sales presentation. Make sure that you are giving your audience benefits and not features of your services.

I will confess to being a major offender of this when I was actively giving financial sales presentations. It's easy to feel so naked in front of a huge audience and the tendency is to tell them everything you know. My real fear was that they might question my knowledge and wisdom. Don't fall into this trap-trust yourself and leave them "hungry" for more of your knowledge and expertise. Keep on goal and let your sales presentation work to accomplish your goal of an appointment!

Steve Mertz
Remember "The Goal"

Tags: , , , .

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Part 10 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Not Painting Great Visuals With Words. If I say the work Hawaii your mind immediately paints a beautiful picture of white sand, blue ocean, swaying palm trees, beautiful flowers and magnificent sunsets, right? Your mind does not spell out H-A-W-A-I-I. Use this to your advantage and make sure your words paint vivid images of prosperity that will have your audience tripping over each other to get your services.

Steve Mertz
Use Million Dollar Words!

Tags: , , , .

Friday, May 26, 2006

Part 9 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Not Enough Humor in Presentation. Money is serious business but audiences learn better and retain more when they are laughing. You can make some pretty profound points by using humor. Rather than pick on the audience I always use self effacing humor to be on the safe side! If you are humor challenged email me and I will send you some recommendations of world class humorists who can punch up your presentation and even make your compliance officer smile!

Steve Mertz
Laughing Out Loud!

Tags: , , , .

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip: The TV Interview

A TV interview can be a great opportunity to promote your company and product or a miserable flop. A great way to prepare for this public speaking venture is to tape up a black piece of paper in your home and office. Put it in several different places and when you are near it look right at that paper and practice the critical points you hope to make! Make that black paper your best friend.

On my first TV interview the interviewer was in a completely different room than me. When it came time for the interview the remote camera positioned itself in front of me and it was Show Time! Fortunately, I had practiced with that black paper and the interview went well. Don't forget to look right into that camera not to the side or up or down!

Another TV interview tip: If you are being interviewed as an "expert" on a particular subject you might include some questions or guidelines that the interviewer might cover. Generally, as long as they are not too self promoting-they are appreciated by the interviewer to get to the heart of the matter!

Last tip: If they tell you your interview will be one minute and thirty eight seconds-they mean it, so be concise and don't ramble! They also may cut your time or increase it so have "modules" to your speech that you can either add or subtract to your presentation!

Steve Mertz
Lights, Cameras..Action!

Part 8 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Killing Them With PowerPoint. You knew this had to be in the top 10 offenders list didn't you? Don't start with a Powerpoint presentation and put your material in between the slides! Slides are meant to clarify or emphasize critical points-not be the main attraction. Your words are more important to your audiences. Believe me when I tell you that no one really cares what the Dow Jones Average has done since 1926. Your audience wants to know how you are going to ensure their prosperity today!

One of our main goals in any public speaking event is to keep those eyes opened! So, please remember that after you have fed your prospects and dim the lights for that snappy slide show-darkness is not your friend! Your audiences are just like you-when they are being persuaded they like to see the other persons eyes as much as possible. It is a crucial way that audiences gauge our passion and credibility!

PS Garr Reynolds has a great post today on PowerPoint called Al Gore: another presenter extraordinaire?

Steve Mertz
The Eyes Have It!

Tags: , , , .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Carnival of the Vanities is Up!

The 192 edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is being hosted this week at Blog d' Elisson.

The Carnvial of the Vanities is the oldest Carnival in the blog world and features some of the best writers and ideas. This Carnival covers topics from Current Events to Business Advice-something for everyone!

I have an entry in this weeks Carnival called: Part 4 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations. This has been my most popular post ever and gives you a simple technique to enhance your public speaking skills as well as your sales presentation skills.

Enjoy this weeks Carnvial of The Vanities!

Steve Mertz
Carnival Participant

Part 7 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

No Pauses in Sales Presentation. Have you ever noticed how world class speakers and comedians will ask a question in their presentation...And then pause? Wait five seconds and let the audience answer the question in their minds. They can be forming a powerful bond with you during this pause so don't be a rookie and move on too fast!

This is also a very powerful technique when you are making a thought provoking statement-just pause and let it just lay out there for a few seconds. It brings the audience "in" to your presentation and if there mind was wandering it brings the audiences attention back to your message. Try the pause-it's very powerful!

Steve Mertz
Are These Sales Tips Helping You....

Tags: , , , .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sales Training Tip-Beware Mystery Shoppers

It was a beautiful day in Denver and I had sales coaching clients in the afternoon-right in the heart of downtown Denver, Colorado. So, in the morning I checked out a couple of swanky new condo developments. The prices ranged from $300,000 to $3Million-in Denver that still buys you a boatload! Here are a few observations I made in my "Mystery Shopping" today.

Kudos to those sales people who extended their hand for a firm handshake, looked me in the eye and welcomed me!

Kudos to those who were good conversationalist's and discovered what had brought me in the door.

Kudos to those who didn't sell me the features of their development but discovered my needs and showed me the benefits!

Kudos to those who did some good fact finding and some clever qualifying!

Kudos to those who asked me either to sign in or sign out as I was leaving-for those who didn't get any contact info on me-how exactly are you planning on following up?

Kudos to CEO's who do a little mystery shopping themselves-it's a great way to find qualified and fabulous sales people.

Steve Mertz
Denver, Colorado Mystery Shopper

Part 6 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Heavy Emphasis on Intellectual Connection. It's imperative to give solid facts and figures but don't forget the emotional connection you must establish with your audience. All things being equal, people are more likely to buy from those they like and trust! By using powerful stories with characters that your audience can relate to-you will be head and shoulders above your competition.

Steve Mertz
Make the Emotional Connection

Monday, May 22, 2006

Carnival of The Capitalists is Up

The Carnival of Capitalists is being hosted this week at The Integrative Stream. by William Crawford.

The Carnival of Capitalists covers many topics of business and you will find great articles that may help you in your business endeavors. I'm pleased to be included in this weeks Carnival with two entries: This Personal Finance Tip Saved Me $29,871.63 and Sales Presentation Tip-Don't Waffle.

I hope you enjoy this weeks Carnival of Capitalists and find some great tips!

Steve Mertz
Colorado Sales Presentation Training

Part 5 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

No Great Stories. Some of those great "campfire stories" may help you weave compelling and memorable stories in your sales presentations. A great story helps us paint a picture in our minds and is a great way to anchor one of your major points in sales presentations. Some of the great stories that help entertain your friends and colleagues may be a good starting point-even if you are the CEO of your company.

For example if your company has a great new product that you are showcasing for big$$$ clients you could say this: "Our Easy DECON DF200 is an EPA approved decontamination solution which effectively neutralizes chemical and biological agents, developed by Sandia National Labs."

You may also consider this approach: "Two days after hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana I got a call from Charlie Jones of the EPA. The EPA needed an office decontaminated from fungus and offered us the job on a no bid basis. I left on the next flight and a week later Charlie and his staff of twenty were up and running in the building we had neutralized with our DECON DF200 solution!"

We covered a lot of ground by adding a short story and including a ringing third party endorsement! For you PowerPoint users Imagine the impact of Charlie's image and hearing his endorsement!

Steve Mertz
Master Story Teller!

Tags: , , , .

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip-Smile

Garr Reynolds has a deligtful Friday thought: The Power of a genuine smile. He refrences a performance he saw from the japanese Duo, Dreams Come True. The fabulous smile belongs to Yoshida Miwa.

Using a genuine smile in your presentation is a great way to relax and put you audience or committee at ease-I've even seen it work in front of Venture Capitalists! Have a great weekend and read the enire post here : Smile!

Steve Mertz
A Smile Opens A Thousand Doors!

Tags: , , , .

Part 4 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

It's All About Me. It's all about getting an appointment and getting millions under management. Make sure you make it all about your audience and the value you will provide. Here's my favorite technique(Yes, I do use this) to measure your effectiveness. Type out your entire presentation and then get some colored markers. For all the facts in your presentation, highlight them in red. For all you witty humor, highlight that in green. For audience participation, highlight in blue. Now, step back and look at your masterpiece-What you see no green, very little blue and a sea of red-go back to the drawing board!

I feel like I've been hacking away at financial professionals and the financial industry...but this really is a great technique for anyone doing any public speaking. I won't take credit for this idea because I learned this from either Susan Carnahan (on the left)

or Glenna Salsbury-two of my very favorite speakers and members of National Speakers Association. Glenna actually takes this one step further and has her material color coded with her at the podium. So, judging by the audiences reactions she can add or subtract material as needed! She is also the consumate professional so you may want to practice before you try this on a live audience!

Try this technique and I promise you will see a dramatic improvement in your sales presentations-or I will give you a free hours coaching! You can't lose :)

Steve Mertz
Ladies & Gentlemen Start Coloring!

Tags: , , , .

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Part 3 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Lecturing to Audiences. I know you are simply sharing your brilliance but it can come off sounding like you are lecturing. Make it more conversational and invite comments and experiences from the audience. This is kind of a "clubby" post for those who have been in the trenches as an financial professional. When I got out of training with Merrill Lynch our class was told that we now knew more than 90% of the people on the street. They meant to give us some self assurance but sometimes financial professionals can become a little over zealous in their new found knowledge :) If it were really true that fear and greed were the only motivators for money it would be much simpler to give presentations!

I've seen countless sales presentations where the speaker gives the presentation and at the end asks for questions-Don't do this! You want to end on a powerful note so entertain questions before the end of your presentation. Temper enthusiasm and knowledge with interaction from your audience-they will love you for it.

Related Posts from Sales Presentation Training: Sales Training Tip-Why Audience Interaction is Best
From Bert Decker: Get the Spotlight OFF of You.
From Guy Kawasaki: Steve Jobs at the Cupertino City Council.
From Patricia Fripp: Find An Immediate Connection With Your Audience.

Let me ask you a question: Does it help you for me to include links to additional thoughts? Please leave your comments-Thanks, Steve

Steve Mertz
Don't Preach-Be Inclusive!

Tags: , , , .

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Carnival of the Vanities

The 191st edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is up and being hosted by Accidental Verbosity. The Carnival of the Vanities has 41 entries this week covering everything from politics to personal finance.

I have an entry in this weeks Carnival titled Sales Presentation Tip-Don't Waffle! The opening and closing of any sales presentation are critical-so start off with a bang.

The Carnival of the Vanities provides an excellent opportunities for businesses to promote themselves. I would encourage you to look at this possibility. You can submit an entry by going over to The Conservative Cat.For now, enjoy the Carnival over at Accidental Verbosity.

Steve Mertz
Carnivals Are Great

15 Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

This is tip number 2 for Sales Presentations Mistakes. Shooting From the Hip.
Many Salespeople try to make their presentations informal with the intent of more audience interaction. Planned chaos is the best plan! Your prospects time is valuable and people love structure-so give it to them. It also keeps you from rambling and missing key points. Have you ever walked out of a presentation and said it was enjoyable but you can not remember key points? We all have-Keep it tight and on topic!

Related Posts: Preparing For a Sales Presentation
From Bert Decker: Audience Expecations:Time
From Guy Kawasaki: The Venture Capitalist Wishlist This is the most critical audience you will ever present to-from personal experience :)
From Garr Reynolds: The "fish story"
From Patricia Fripp: Want Your Audiences to Remember What You Say?
From Rob Cottingham: Speech Structure-101


Steve Mertz
No Shooting From the Hip

Tags: , , , .

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

15 Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Robert Louis Stevenson: "Everyone lives by selling something."

Salespeople make it all happen and there is nothing I enjoy more than being around that energy and creativity. Having been an Investment Advisor for 15 years I gave and saw hundreds of sales presentations. In the next few weeks I am going to outline the 15 biggest mistakes that salespeople are making in their presentations before our coaching sessions. Master these mistakes and you will increase substantially increase your closing ratio!

1. Weak Opening. Don’t open your presentation talking about you and your firm. This information should be in front of your prospect in the hand out you have given them. When you open, don’t waffle, get to the point and “sing your best song.” If you and your significant other paid $500 a ticket to be in the front row of the Rolling Stones concert you want Mick to strut out, singing one of your favorites-not something you have never heard, on their new album.

Related Posts: Your Opening Says Everything
Sales Presentation Tip-Don't Waffle
From Tom Peters: My Shtick
From Jill Bremmer: Open Your Speech With Style
From Dianne Legro: Slam Dunk Speech Openings that Grab your Audience
From Bert Decker: 6 Do's to Open Your Presentation
From Guy Kawasaki: How to Get a Standing Ovation
From Patricia Fripp: Open Your Speech by Relating to the Immediate Situation


Steve Mertz
Sales Presntation Training

Tags: , , , .

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sales Presentation Tips from Fripp

Patricia Fripp brought down the house at our Saturday meeting of the National Speakers Association-Colorado. She was the keynote speaker and then conducted an additional three hour coaching program in the afternoon! I had the pleasure of attending the session as well as taking her to the airport Sunday morning. She and I share a common passion of helping business speakers shine on the platform.

Here are some key points she shared with us:
1. When giving a speech make your experiences "universal". For example, most audience members can relate to a carefree childhood.
2. Work on your material first then worry about a video of your presentation. You can get away with a less than perfect presentation if you have great material.
3. Great presentations are memorable and repeatable. Give them a phrase or memorable story that they can take away. For example, I've had people not remember me but they have said: "I remember your Starbucks Quiz."
4. Paint word pictures-it's a form of verbal short hand. For example, if I say Hawaii, your mind draws a picture of sand, ocean, palm trees-it doesn't spell out H-a-w-a-i-i.
5. See your speech as an interesting movie-Would you go watch your speech?
6. Specificity builds credibility!

Steve Mertz
Coaching Great Sales Presentations!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip-Don't Waffle

The opening in a sales presentation must be "your best song"-Don't waffle on the opening. Waffle is defined as To speak or write evasively.
Imagine if you and your significant other were going to a special concert, for the sake of argument, let's say you had those $500 a ticket front row seat for the Rolling Stones. How would you feel if Mick comes out and the first song the band does is something you have never heard-something off their new album. You are disappointed and frustrated-you were looking for Brown Sugar or Street Fightin Man.

Your audience feels the same way when you start your sales presentation with a weak, waffling opening. Condense your sales presentation down to a single sentence and then be sure that you start off with that point. Use a forceful and engaging opening to build on your presentation!

Steve Mertz
Play Your Best Song

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Great Speaking Tips-Come to NSA Colorado Meeting

This Saturday, May 6th, National Speakers Association-Colorado Chapter, will be holding our monthly meeting. The featured speaker will be Patricia Fripp, CMP, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame and Cavett Award Recipient. That's her on the left. Fripp is a world class speaker and trainer. She is also one of the most sought after trainers in the area of Sales Presentations Training. If you are reading this blog you could benefit greatly! The meeting starts at 7:30 am for networking with the main event starting promptly at 8:30 am and ends at 12:30. The cost is only $60 for non members-a fabulous deal!

That's not all-Fripp(as most call her) will have a special two hour bonus session from 1:45 pm to 3:45 pm. The cost for the bonus session is $30 per person-what a steal! This will entail a mini coaching session. Whether you are a speaker or someone looking to improve your sales presentation skills-This meeting is a must!

Kicking off our meeting will be the fabulous O'shea's-Tim and Kris. They are corporate humorists who bring their spontaneity and on-stage hilarity. This is the way to start your Saturday!

Here is the link to all the information about the meeting including location and all information. Please feel free to call me directly if you have any questions: Steve Mertz 303-619-8972

See you Saturday, and if you are a reader of this blog please come up and introduce yourself. Thanks, Steve

Another Great Blog on Presentations!

I have added another link to a great blog written by Bert Decker called Create Your Communications Experience. Bert has a great post today titled The Power of the Pause. which I'm sure you will find useful in your sales presentations. As a matter of fact, I think it is one of the most powerful techniques and encourage clients to practice this technique. This is one of the most powerful techniques for drawing your audinces in to your presentation. Try it-you will be amazed by its power!

I would be remiss if I did not mention Lou Heckler, a fellow member of National Speakers Association. Lou is an excellent coach and has provided me invaluable tips on the technique of "The Pause" in presentations.

Finally, I am going to give you another great resource to see this technique in action. But before I do...Let me give you this warning: Don't review this in a public workspace!! Someone will be offended by the politics, language and/or religious aspects. Go on over to and watch a short video clip of Steven Colbert at Comedy Central. I might suggest the clip of him interviewing Governor Mike Huckabee. Keep in mind that this guy lives in front of the camera but you will see that he is a master at using The Pause in his presentations. I should also mention that he is quite good in using his hands in his presentation. Usually, moving your hands around in a presentation can be quite distracting to your audience. But, if used correctly, it can be a very powerful addition to your sales presentation.

Remember, before you go see Steven Colbert, do so without offending others and check your politics, etc at the door, and one more thing...Enjoy and Learn!

PS I hope that Bert and Lou won't be offended by being mentioned in the same breath with Steven Colbert.

Steve Mertz
A Fan of The Pause!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sales Training With an International Perspective

When I give tips about sales presentation training I am usually referencing my experiences in the United States. I live here in Denver, Colorado and like most Americans, I'm guilty of not fully acknowledging the global community. This morning I looked at where some of my guests were coming from: Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Taiwan to name a few. Thank you to all of my international audience. If I make a blunder would you please feel free to comment and set me straight! :)

When I go to an organization I kind of stick out because of my crutches but at least I don't have them painted neon green with purple racing stripes! As you and your company goes abroad for sales presentations it might be useful to accustom yourself with international etiquette and accepted business attire. For example, Joe Sharkey writes a column for the New York Times called "On The Road." He mentioned in his article this morning of the time he showed up at a business conference in Tokyo, in July, wearing tan suit. According to him, he may as well have been wearing sandals, white socks and a T-shirt with a beer company's logo! That's not a pretty picture is it-and certainly not a way to kick off a major sales presentation. Our friends in Tokyo wear dark suits in business settings and it is our obligation to know this before we head out.

Sharkey recommends a book called "Global Business Etiquette: A Guide to International Communication and Customs" by MaLillian Chaney and Jeanette Martin. I've not read the book but you may want to peruse it before you and your team head out for your next international sales presentation-Good luck and welcome to all my international guests!
Steve Mertz
International Sales Presentation Training!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sales Training-Will You Work for Stock?

I received an interesting email this weekend. A start-up in Silicon Valley asked me to look at their company. They have limited funds and need some serious cash to take their product to the market. They also need a great sales presentation for potential investors. They asked me if I would help them for a reduced fee and take some stock in return for payment?

Interesting...I haven't been asked this before but I'm going to take a closer look at the company and their product. I have a soft spot in my heart for entrepreneurs-having gone through the process of designing, patenting and negotiating a sales agreement for my ergonomic crutch handle. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done! I also gave some very lame sales presentations!

Whadda think-Am I getting too soft :)

Steve Mertz
Sales Presentation Training for Founders Stock!