Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sales Presentations Tip: Make Your Audience Gasp

Have you ever shown a PowerPoint slide and have your audience gasp-in an awe struck, marvelous way? You know you've won the presentation battle at that point. I recently witnessed this very event at The Colorado Capital Conference that I've mentioned before. The firm was TheraTogs, Inc and they were presenting to venture capitalists, seeking additional funds for expansion.

They produce medical gear that helps those with neuromotor issues. They showed a slide of child walking without their product followed by a slide with the child wearing their TheraTog product-the audience and venture capitalists gasped at the marked improvement! That one slide could be the one that brings them in millions of dollars of additional funding.

Do you have that million dollar slide in your sales presentation? This could be an excellent area for you and your team to brainstorm on before your next public speaking engagement. Good luck!

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Steve Mertz
Leave Your Audince in Awe!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip: The Elevator Speech

I frequently see a Google search with the phrase: "elevator speech financial advisor" or "financial advisor elevator speech". It seems to go in phases, sometimes I get close to one hundred inquires a month so I did a Google search and here are some of the leading thoughts on "The Elevator Speech." I just grabbed these randomly so there are no specific credits given.

One person says she is an : affluenziologist" who helps people transfer their values as well as their valuables to future generations.

Another quote: "I'm a money doctor. I make sick money well,"

Another: "My friends call me the financial farmer. I help my clients plant the seeds, nurture their crops and harvest the fruits of their labors when the time is right."

I don't know that I personally could of used these when I was an investment advisor but the test is this: Do potential clients get an a-ha moment or do they probe and ask more questions that eventually gets you an appointment and ultimately a client?

A real eye opener can be to ask your current clients why they do business with you-it may not be the reason that you think at all. From this information you may be able to construct that witty elevator speech that sets you apart from all others!

I don't think there is just one answer but as a consumer I would want to hear a statement that was filled with benefits for me-after all, as a consumer, it's all about me. I've told financial advisors before that they could feel free to steal one of my opening questions to audiences. I ask them how much the "average American" spends a year at Starbucks? The answer turns out to be between $1500 and $1800 a year. It's then fun to ask the audience to envision their current portfolio and ask them if their current portfolio throws off enough in interest and dividends to pay for their Starbucks outing? It gets audiences thinking about their "exit strategy" and how you might help them.

So, if I were a financial advisor crafting an elevator speech I might try to incorporate something along the lines of: I position my clients portfolios to generate enough income to pay for their Starbucks outings as well as the other necessities of life! Food for thought-I hope this information gives you some ideas for crafting those elevator speeches!

Steve Mertz
Elevator Speeches are mini Sales Presentations!

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip: The Platform is a Privilege!

National Speakers Association has always taught us that when we have the platform it is a privilege and should be treated as such. So, as I reviewed Guy Kawasaki's public speaking presentation I had mixed emotions. As an entrepreneur I found myself jotting notes and smiling. However, as a professional speaker I was cringing. Kawasaki wasted the first seven minutes of his presentation warming up and waffling on the opening. Why would you use offensive language if you know it will offend your audience? Why wouldn't you respect the audience and meeting planner by adhering to the allotted time?

I've been following Kawasaki's career since he stopped schleping diamonds and became the chief evangelist for the Macintosh-Quite an accompishment in itself! I've always known that his ego is bigger than the Grand Canyon-and for an entrepreneur that can be a good thing. I am disappointed that a grown man has to induce an audience into a standing ovation when his material can stand on its own merit. I find all of his other antics to be a distraction. Where do you stand?

Steve Mertz
Great Presentations Stand On Their Own Merit!

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Public Speaking Video: Guy Kawasaki

I've previoulsy posted about Guy Kawasaki. Many people consider him to be a world class speaker. I've followed Guy's career for years and as an entrprneur found him to be very inspiring.

I'm going to point you to a video of Guy speaking, it is 39 minutes long and will post my critique on Saturday. Some of the points you may want to consider are the following:

1. Does he have a killer opening?
2. Does he stay on subject matter?
3. Is he passionate about his topic?
4. Does he involve the audience?
5. Does he use memorable stories to reinforce main points?
6. Does he say anything that a meeting planner/audience might find offensive?
7. Does he speak for himself or for the benefit of the audience?
8. Does he respect the alloted time?
9. Does he use humor effectively?
10. Does his PowePoint enhance his speech?
11. Would you give him a standing ovation?

Here is the link to The Art of The Start Video.

I would be curious to hear your thoughts or don't be shy :)

Steve Mertz
Have a Fabulous Weekend!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Public Speaking Tip: I Want to See Your Eyes-Not Your Back

The Mystery Shopper (me) was out and about last night. I attended a Public presentation for a new product. The presenter was looking to sign up additional afflilates for this program. The presenter was very good. She was articulate, energetic, sincere and used PowerPoint that actually enhanced her presentation!Near the end of the presentation-the call to action, if you will, she went to a board in the front of the room and proceeded to show the aprticipants how they could make money in this venture-with her back to the audience. My regular readers know how "this drives me to drink!" She is too good of a presenter to make this mistake!
Here is what I would suggest she do in the future:

1. Give the audience a handout where they can fill in the information. This not only includes your audience (more buy in), but they have something tangible they take home.
2. Here is another option. Invite an audience member to the front of the room and have them write the figures on the board while other audience members write on their handout.
3. She did not offer her audience an evaluation form of her presentation-Didn't we just talk about this? This is a missed opportunity to get great feedback and maybe great suggestions for future sales presentations.

4. She could have also used an overhead for this part of her presentation but I really prefer the handout and the audience interaction.

Would you have had her do this differently? Please feel free to comment!

How do you get your audience to fill out evaluation forms? Tell them to please fill out and pass to the front and put them in a box. Have an audience member draw one out and they win a door prize-a gift card from Starbucks, a free sample etc..

Steve Mertz
Helping Craft Great Sales Presentations!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Public Speaking Tip: Get Speaker Evaluation Form

Whenever you speak in a public forum or if you do a lot of in house presentations-give your audience a speaker evaluation form that they fill out anonymously. This is one of the most powerful tools you can use to catapult your presentation skills!
A few weeks ago I was speaking with a mutual fund wholesaler-they promote their mutual funds to investment advisors to sell to you, the public. He told me he speaks over 100 times a year and considers himself to be a "very good" speaker. News flash...We all think we are good speakers-that's why it's critical to get a second opinion-the audience.

The audience may share some invaluable information with you that maybe you have never considered. They may offer great suggestions for additional topics and they will point out your flaws!

Here's the rule I use when I'm reviewing audience evaluations. Throw out the most glowing and the most critical. There are those who will tell you that you are the most fabulous speaker ever and there are those who are mad as hell about being at your presentation and they will let you have it-deal with it! It's imperative to make your evaluation form very easy for the audience to fill out and give you feedback-don't expect them to write a book or for that matter bother to fill it out.
Sooner or later, you will get great feedback that will help you deliver a more powerful, engaging sales presentation.

If you don't have an evaluation form and would like to "steal" mine please shoot me an email and I will send it out to you in a word document. I will not share your email address with anyone nor will you receive any spam! Email:

Steve Mertz
Evaluation Forms are Critical!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Presentation Training and Public Speaking Skills by Phone

Do you have a critical public sales presentation coming soon? Will you be doing a presentation to your peers in the very near future? If you have ever wanted to pick up the phone and get immediate help from experts...Help is now a phone call away.

Beginning next week we will begin offering a monthly subscription service for $97 a month. This includes an initial coaching session with follow up email coaching and a monthly group sales call. This service would be a tune up in between face to face coaching sessions or for those that have an established presentation and want to work on specific issues. These might include the opening or closing of your presentation, presentation structure and incorporating memorable stories in your sales presentations.

There will be discounts for subscribing for a full year and about that free Apple Video iPod-For the first 100 subscribers you will be qualified for the drawing. We will draw one name and that person will get the iPod! We will have further details later in the week as well as a secure site for credit card registration.

We decided to implement this service in addition to our in person coaching sessions we offer because many of you have indicated a desire for a tune up now and then.

Steve Mertz
Phone Coaching Coming Soon!

Welcome New Readers

Thanks for stopping bye today. Would someone be so kind as to share where you are hearing or reading about my blog? Thanks, Steve

Monday, June 19, 2006

Public Speaking Tip: Follow Baseball's Lead

No...Steroids will not help your public speaking presentations, however an Apple video iPod is a great idea. The Colorado Rockies have started a trend in baseball. Video is downloaded to the iPod so pitchers can study opposing batters as well as see their performance. Great idea and one that is very useful in sales presentation training.

By having your presentations or practice sessions downloaded into an iPod you can critique your presentations as well a see where you can make improvements. I would recommend if you have a good presentation you may want to edit out the blunders so you use this tool for positive feedback!

Christie and I will be offering several new services to our clients including reviewing presentations that you can send to us. Christie will be surprised when she reads this but we are also going to be giving away an Apple video iPod. More details will follow as well as the additional services we will be offering.

Steve Mertz
Baseball, Sales Presentations and iPods!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blog Help Needed

I need someone who has experience with Blogger to do some work for me. Things like adding Feedburner, subscribe by email and maybe some formatting. If you are interested shoot me an email at to discuss $$ you can make! I will also be looking at migrating to Wordpress at some point. Thanks, Steve

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Business Presentations That Impact Your Career!

For all of those of you who have wondered if there really was a Christie Ward, Sales Presentation Trainer extraordinaire-Please enjoy the following:

For the third year in a row, I was training business presentation skills to the new hires at Johnson & Johnson last week. One of my graduates from the program the year before stopped in to tell me about an experience she had shortly after being part of the group last year. Kelly said that a few days after the class, she was asked to give a presentation. Fresh from the class, she prepared a captivating opening, a solid close, created opportunities for interaction and used minimal PowerPoint. After watching a A PowerPoint parade of other presentations prior to hers that put you to sleep, she stepped up and delivered her well prepared talk. It was short, but it captured the attention of the senior executives in the room and literally catapulted her career. She has been seen as a rising star ever since. This bright young woman was in a room full of people many years her senior in age and experience, yet she was able to steal the show with her freshly minted presentation skills. She couldn't thank me enough!

The next time you question the value of a presentation coach, think again. What is it costing you to NOT get a coach? How are your presentations perceived? Do you stand out as a rising star or sound like an old falling star that just needs to sit down and be quiet!

There are elements that make a talk successful. You probably even know what they are. You certainly know when someone Doesn't deliver them! Next time you prepare to stand up in front of people who can impact your career, think about consulting a coach ahead of time. We can help! Just talk to anyone who took the time to work with us first.

Christie Ward
The Impact Institute

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sales Presentation Tips: Presenting to a Committee

I recently had an opportunity to view 8 presentations given to Venture Capitalists. These were all small businesses seeking capital for expansion. Here are some observations of mistakes that my readers of the blog would never do:

1. In one ten minute presentation there were over 25 PowerPoint slides-not one of the slides enhanced the presentation.
2. Presenters were reading the slides to the committee.
3. The type on the slides was to small for anyone to read-had their been information that would have enhanced the presentation.
4. Presenters turning their back to the audience and going to the screen to point out information on a slide-Never turn your back to the audience and spend $2 for a pointer!
5. Presenters "waffling" on their opening-they wasted the first two minutes getting to the point.
6. Not clearly presenting the problem and the solution.
7. Not clearly defining the "exit strategy" for potential investors.
8. Not clearly identifying the use of the money they hoped to raise.
9. No humor and no audience interaction-You can do both of these very effectively, even in a ten minute presentation.

Based on what I saw last week in Denver, there are not enough readers of the Sales Presentation Training blog. Make the world a better place and forward this blog address to someone in your organization or association. Otherwise, you may be in the audience one day when they commit these fatal 9 sins of Sales Presentations :-)

Steve Mertz
My Readers Would Never Commit These Sins!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip 15 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Their Financial Presentations

Not Interacting with Audience before your Presentation.

I once was in the audience when Keith Harrell, arguably the best motivational speaker in the world, was speaking. Keith also happens to be one of my favorite speakers in the world! Before the presentation Keith went down the front row introducing himself. He then used some of our names in his presentation! Keith had the audience eating out of his hand by including us and being so humble as to introduce himself before the presentation.

Force yourself to talk to audience members, get names, and maybe a nugget that you can incorporate in your sales presentation-Your audience will love you for it!

Steve Mertz
Interact with Your Audience!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip

Sales Presentation Tip #14 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Their financial Presentations. Minimizing Your Knowledge. It is a fine line in a sales presentation between not making your presentation all about me and minimizing your knowledge! A great way to accomplish this task is by sharing third party endorsements of your work. By sharing actual problems and solutions with your audience via third party endorsements the focus is still on the audience-and how you can solve their problems.

Because of your assocaition with other financial professionals you have seen the future. You know what financial strategies work and which are destined to fail-this knowldge is powerful beyond measure and cannot be stressed enough!

Steve Mertz
Share Your Success Stories!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sales Presentation Tip

Sales Presentation Tip #13 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Their Financial Presentations. Failure to Clearly Define the Exit Strategy. Your prospects as well as clients get inundated about how to create wealth. Deep down, your prospects want to hear how they are going to have a steady stream of cash flow when they want to spend their day collecting sea shells in Maui! This is a great opportunity for you to share your "financial exit strategy" as well as some of your most successful clients' strategies. This emotional bond with the audience will distinguish you from your competitors.

It's ironic that today we would be talking about clearly defining the exit strategy for your clients because tomorrow I will be attending an all day conference for entrepreneurs. The conference is the Rockies Ventures Club 18th annual Denver conference. A chosen group of entrepreneurs will give presentations to Venture Capitalists-I hope they have been reading this blog because Venture Capitalists are a tough audience!

I'll report back to you about the good, bad and ugly sales presentations that I will witness tomorrow!

Steve Mertz
Exit Strategies are Critical!

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Part 12 of 15: Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Financial Presentations

Sales Presentation Tip #12 is Not Enough Preparation. Advisors pride themselves on being quick on their feet and able to occasionally shoot from the hip. That's great, but when it comes to your sales presentation there is no substitute for practice. At the very least record yourself and for even better results get a video of your sales presentation. This will help you eliminate any distracting movements that public speaking seems to bring out in all of us. It will also help eliminate those annoying Uhs and Hmm's from your presentation.

Steve Mertz
Practice Makes Perfect!