You have the experience, the expertise and the credentials. Then why aren’t you getting all the business you can handle? In the eyes of the buyer, you’ve failed to stand out from all the others who have similar experience, expertise and credentials. What then, is the secret of true rainmakers? For many, it’s a presentation that showcases their uniqueness in the marketplace. In my research for Rainmaking Presentations, several of the most successful professionals interviewed could trace six and seven-figure billings to a single presentation they delivered to their target market. In tough economic times, when budgets are tight and the ROI for professional services comes under even greater scrutiny, presentations offer a low-cost and high-impact alternative to expensive marketing campaigns. Here’s why:
Greater ROI. Compared to almost any type of advertising, presentations produce a higher ratio of qualified prospects. What would 30 minutes of airtime on a radio or television station cost? When you send out 5000 pieces of direct mail, how much of it ends up in the recycle bin? Presentations lower the cost of acquiring new clients. This is the most direct way to be in front of your prospects. When you speak to a group, you’ll often get three opportunities for publicity. First, when the event is advertised, you can provide a brief synopsis of your talk for brochures, mailers, the website and even a newsletter. Second, if your talk is newsworthy, you may receive some media coverage during the event itself. Third, look for opportunities in summarizing the event for the organization’s newsletter or annual report.
Enhanced Credibility. Anyone pitching professional services will say he has the requisite knowledge and experience to achieve the desired results for potential clients. But presentations afford you the opportunity to prove these claims. Through the subtle use of proof points such as narratives, examples and brief case studies embedded in the presentation, you’ll show, rather than talk about, your ability. Presentations differentiate you in another way as well; The person who can clearly express her ideas is seen as more competent and more self-confident than the person who stumbles through a disorganized presentation. When you’re competing for business, a well-crafted presentation can give you the advantage because better presenters are more persuasive. Just as writing a book or article lends credibility to the author, speaking helps you build your status as an expert.
Better Positioning. Would you rather have potential clients view you as a salesperson or an advisor? An educational presentation with information the audience can immediately use to improve their business positions you as the latter. The salesperson views the outcome of a process as a transaction. The advisor views it as a transformation. The key lies in demonstrating an understanding of their issues and offering solutions. Providing value at these initial stages of the relationship builds trust.
Increased Interaction. The interactive nature of presentations works to your advantage. In a face-to-face setting you can engage all three channels of communication--the verbal, the visual and the vocal. When these three channels reinforce one another, you’ll be even more effective in making your message heard. The feedback you receive allows you to adjust your material and address objections as they arise. Presentation audiences constitute involved participants in the communication process.
Less Uncertainty. When prospects see you present, they get an idea of what it would be like to work with you. They have the opportunity to see your unique take on issues and to see how you interact with others. This reduces some of the anxiety they may feel about working with a new person or firm. Because past experience always influences the choice of a professional service provider, someone who has seen you present often feels more comfortable in referring you to friends and colleagues.
For successful rainmakers, the well-crafted and well-delivered presentation remains a top choice for marketing in tough times. Effective presentations require an investment in time, but if you plan properly, you’ll receive a high return on that investment and improve your chances of getting the business.
©2014 Peak Communication Performance. Excerpted from Rainmaking Presentations: How To Grow Your Business by Leveraging Your Expertise, available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. Download the first chapter at www.RainMakingPresentations.com. When you create more persuasive presentations, you’ll discover why better communication means more business. Affluent’s Presentation Expert, Joseph Sommerville, Ph.D., shows you how to design, develop and deliver presentations that win you the business. Please contact him via email at Sommerville@RainMakingPresentations.com