In this series, we explore how best to put together a "mini-seminar." We're not talking about full-blown seminars or trade shows; we're talking about targeting prospects with a message and getting them to attend a lunch-and-learn or mini-seminar to hear more about a subject (and your product).
I don't know about you, but I have been to some stellar sales presentations. But, ask yourself what are the real differences between an engaging speaker and one that isn't.
Vendere Partners has registered over 15,000 attendees at numerous lunch-and-learns for our IT clients over the years. So, I decided to call on a Sales Engineer I know, who happpens to be a speaker. He does sales presentations all over the country at mini-seminars; essentially, he makes his living by delivering information to sales prospects about pressing business IT issues. I interviewed him for some tips on (1) how best to engage an audience, and (2) how to ensure that event attendees turn into qualified funnel opportunities. Here are some gems he shared:
1. Keep them on their toes.
I put this one first because if you stop reading now, you've at least read the most important tip. When speaking to an audience, keep them guessing to keep them interested. Avoid mundane droning, and inject levity.
2. Make them wonder what you're going to say next, and how you're going to say it.
Pop in a few anecdotes here and there with some quick one-liners that catch them off-guard. Now you've got a formula that'll keep your event attendees locked in on your subject matter.
3. Ask the audience questions.
One-way conversations are no fun.
4. Build polling into the presentation, so you can get an idea of where you're going, mid-program.
Not to be understated, this also helps you from a sales perspective to learn hotbuttons, which are a solution seller's best friend.
5. Give attendees the interesting stuff that they came to your luncheon for, the stuff that has the most value to them.
Some people want a purple marble, some want a blue marble. But, everyone wants a marble.
6. Instead of over-compartmentalizing your presentation, use the shotgun approach.
Talk to multiple points as a guideline. Though you may have a loose agenda, no one wants to feel like they're keeping up with a rigid outline. It bores your audience.
7. Thread your product or service all the way through the presentation.
Instead of going over the "informational" portion of your program and than the "pitch," talk about the subject matter while inserting your brand throughout.
8. Generally, make the presentation about THEM.
People are engaged, and wanting to hear more. Always drive at their needs in the program. Embed facts, trends, business analysis and whatever they want to hear. Speed it up and I promise, they'll listen. Ever notice that commercials today are faster than 10 years ago?
9. Depends on what you're presenting, but the sweet spot for run time at a mini-seminar is one hour.
If you have two hours of content, deliver it in one hour. You may think you sound like an auctioneer, but it keeps people on the edge of their seats.
10. Somehow secure next steps.
If possible, before they leave the venue, leave some time to qualify prospects and then connect them so that they are in the sales funnel. The final move is to get them in to the funnel, so make every effort to engage them one-on-one while they are there.
Stay tuned for the last in the 4 Stages to Successful Event Marketing series: the Follow-Up.