Today I was hugely fortunate to be asked to talk to 100 business owners at a local breakfast meeting. It’s also a daunting task and perhaps a thankless one, when it’s so early in the morning. The caffeine really hasn’t quite kicked in yet and some attend because they feel they have to. But I really like getting my message out to business owners that they can ‘be brilliant’ by changing their mindset of their business by not being being busy, in it.
Although you only get the people who were appreciative of it coming up to you afterwards, I think it went down quite well. Some said, “Very different from what we normally have…”; some said, “you managed to get the word ‘sperm’ in by 7.30am, well done…” and some said they were surprised by my use of ‘beaver’ and ‘flange’; all quite innocent I promise you.
But I’m going to share with you why I wanted to speak at this event.
Locally, it’s one of the largest. But it’s also one of the networking speaker events that has fallen to the, “If I’m going to stand here and talk to you for 40 minutes, you’re bloody well going to buy from me” style of presenters.
If you’re one of those people; good luck to you.
I’m not and here’s why….
- When you look at the description of what is being talked about, that’s when people make the decision to come to the event and come and see you. If you’re talking about ’10 Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Amazing’, then you should be talking about just that. But not only that. Surely you’d want to put your own positive spin on things? A little nugget that people can go away and action that day. If you stand there and give us 5 Tips and want us to come on your workshop or take out your monthly coaching programme for the other 5, I’m sorry, but people will feel very short changed.
- I recently attended the Marketing EXPO at London’s EXCEL Arena. In every workshop, I watched as people spoke at their laptops where the presentation was coming from. I watched them as the droned on about stuff most people that have a fair understanding of Google searches would already know. Each one finished with at least, and I think I’m being conservative here, a 10 minute sales pitch at the end. Why? You’ve just told me what the last guy said; and the last guy and the last guy. Why would I buy from you as you haven’t even taken the time to learn what you are meant to be talking to us about. I’ve not been left with that, ‘I didn’t know that’ moment or the ‘I never thought of it like that’ moment. That my friend, devalues the time and effort I spent to get to this event.
- I have seen speakers give me little nuggets. And I genuinely appreciate them. I also appreciate they too are in business, but if you have to sit through an over extended advert about their products and services, then it unfortunately de-values the nugget that I’ve just been given. It would be like a heating specialist coming around to fit draft excluders because you asked him too, yet he talks about a new boiler for 40 minutes and doesn’t fit the draft excluders properly. It devalues what you’re talking about and people will quickly forget the information you’ve given them because they’ve been ambushed by a sales pitch.
- A continuous pitch throughout a presentation could quite easily damage your reputation, even before you’ve got one. I sat through a social media related presentation some months back, where literally every 3 or 4 minutes the presenter would say, “I did a workshop the other day…”, or “When I do my 1:1 coaching…”. The people I sat with were writing on their phones, “Do you think he does training by any chance????”. Now I didn’t know him. He may well be an expert in his field and that’s great. However what he did do was, come across as a Double Glazing Salesman, especially when he was using his own profile as an example. Some might call this selling, but there are limits before people realise they watching an extended advert for their goods or services.
The reason I think people should try not to sell when they’re asked to presentations is a very simple one. You’ll be different because you’re not selling. People have become conditioned to expect it. At the networking events I’ve attended where selling is the biggest thing, numbers are falling. The audiences that people can reach are dwindling because quite simply people don’t like being sold to.
If you’ve got a message or something valuable people will want, talk about it. Don’t sell it. People buy from people. Fact. It doesn’t take another viewing of Simon Srineks TED video to tell you that.
Fact’s tell…stories sell. If you’ve got a great story about helping people in their business, that’s the way to go. It’s your story. No one can ‘tell’ your story like you can. And no one should.
I’m not even saying that people shouldn’t sell their courses and services. What I’m saying is that unless you treat the audience with respect and show them you appreciate their time and effort in coming to see you, then you’ll just have a disengaged audience that thinks, “You’ve go a solution for a problem I don’t really think I’ve got.”