Top 5 Sales Seminar Mistakes
Sales Seminar Mistakes
Hosting your own Sales Seminar can be great for lead generation, and positioning you and your company, however if you have ever attended an Executive Briefing, a Seminar or Breakfast Event, the quality of speakers and presentations defines the success of the event. Great Events can provide great lead generation for the companies represented, but equally, a poor talk or presentation can be a real turn off for what should be pre-qualified buyers in the audience. Like most things that sound really easy, it is also really easy to get it wrong. So what are the top 5 turn-offs for buyers, you can easily avoid?
1) Selling – yes as ironic as this sounds, the worst things you can do if you want to generate sales is try to sell to people. Great speakers never pitch, they tell stories. The minute you are trying to convince people to buy, you begin to lose your credibility. This does not mean you cannot sell from the podium, or that you do not have a strong call to action, but the “tone” of the pitch should never be “salesy”. Never try to justify your position, and learn the difference between “debate” and “argument” in the event you are challenged from the floor.
2) Content –Whenever possible survey the audience before your talk, to make sure you understand their wants and needs. This allows you to further refine your sales seminar to exactly fit the audience. Too much content is just as bad as not enough content, and do not simply read slides from the screen. The slides should be supporting a story which is told from the presenter’s memory. Slides should be dominated by pictures and supported by text, not the other way around. The content must deliver Value, Entertainment & Learning to the audience. Regardless of your product or service you need to position yourself as a Thought Leader and Domain Specialist.
3) Technology – if you plan to use technology it has to work, and you have to have a back-up for when it doesn’t work. PPT is a fantastic tool, but only when it is used properly. Consider all the alternatives such as Whiteboards, Flip charts and simple Question & Answer sessions. Check the Power settings of your Laptop to ensure it doesn’t go into sleep mode midway through your slideshow. Do not rely on internet connectivity, your laptop or the organizer. Pre-load a copy of your slides on to a second laptop or at the very least a USB. Arrive early at the event so you can set up and pre-check the technical interface between laptops, projectors and any sound systems.
4) Prepare – not the night before and not on the morning of the sales seminar. Practice makes perfect so you should be pitch perfect at least 24 hours before the event. Record your speech in MP3 format, and play it back in your car, at work, on walks etc, to help reinforce and remind you. Practice in front of colleagues, friends, family and the mirror. Time yourself to ensure your talk is neither too short, or too long. The audience can tell if you have prepared, and more importantly they CAN tell if you have NOT prepared. Do not embarrass yourself by thinking you are so good, that you don’t need to prepare.
5) Structure – ensure you have an agenda and consider using an experienced facilitator to host and run the event. Start on time even if all of your audience have not yet arrived, as those who did turn up on time should not be penalized for those who did not. Stick to the timescales agreed, taking breaks on time and finishing on time, and consider finishing early if possible. No one ever complains if an event finishes slightly ahead of schedule.
Public speaking remains one of the top phobias in modern society, however it is a prerequisite for any successful sales seminar. The skills, confidence and ability to stand in front of any audience and deliver a presentation is not a million miles from those required to stand in front of any Board of Directors to make a Sales Presentation. Like most things in life once you have made a few presentations they will become much, much easier. Preparation & practice will also ensure your audience remember your presentation for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
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