Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love. The RV is parked just outside of Philadelphia where we will be visiting friends, family (my mom turns 94 this month), and neighborhoods we ran in. And eating soft pretzels.
Our last conversation about working for a retiring BVFLS icon got some traction from quite a few of you. One reader wrote back, “We should always be planning for our next position.” Yes, we should. I’m a Boy Scout so the “Be Prepared” motto comes to mind. Do your homework … have a sit-down with the icon … make an informed decision. It’s your career.
On to this week. Last Friday, I spoke at the ASA Philadelphia Chapter Spring Business Valuation Seminar about building/growing a BVFLS practice. It was a reminder that when you speak to an audience of prospects, there are things you can do to ensure your presentation helps you to land new clients.
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
Clients love options and certainty (just like you do).
Find a way to give them what they want (just like what you would want).
Will you be speaking to a room full of prospects any time soon … prospects at a professional firm, industry gathering, or trade organization?
Speaking to 1-to-many audiences like these falls between the extremes of 1-to-1 meetings and 1-to-masses social media, except it is both efficient and effective. Efficient because you could be “meeting” with anywhere from 5 to 500 people at the same time. Effective because you can broadcast your message to potential clients who have a need for your services and who will hire you if they think you can help them.
If you have a “high-converting” talk.
So here are 7 secrets I’ve learned to make sure you do.
#1 – It’s not about you
You should probably get rid of or move your opening slides if they speak to who you are, the designations you have, the companies you’ve worked with, and in general, how great you are.
These slides do not create value for your prospects. Once the prospects know your perspective about the issues and challenges they are facing, they know what they need to know about your firm.
#2 – Set the stage
So set the stage … what are you presenting and why should your prospects care? What will the prospects get from your presentation? What problem will you solve today? What can they take away and start using tomorrow?
Offer some quick facts or tidbits that will grab your prospects’ attention. Example: It is expected that the new corporate tax rates in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act will increase the value of businesses in this industry by x%. I’m going to show you why and [explore what impact that may have on your estate planning] [explain why 2019 may be the best time ever to sell your company].
#3 – Tell a story
A great way to engage your prospects is to pull them in with a story they can identify with and that builds your credibility. My story is how I started traveling in the RV. When the audience hears that story, they believe I can help them build/grow their BVFLS practices. They want to learn more.
So why do you do what you do? What got you started? How has that led you to the clients you serve now?
#4 – Share insights, not information
Share the insights you have about the practice area or industry niche of your audience as a result of you having performed the research or crunched the data. Let them know you know everything they know … and some stuff they don’t.
And those insights … neuroscience proves people buy-in and buy based on emotion, not logic. So use stories and visuals that help your audience feel something. Use slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them.
#5 – Provide a standalone outline
So how do you pass on all of your hard-researched information? Create a written outline as a leave-behind. But don’t pass out this document at the beginning. If you do, people will read THAT while you’re talking and ignore you.
When you start, tell the audience that you will give them all the details of your presentation after it’s over so they don’t have to try and write down everything you say. This allows them to sit back and take in the emotional and intellectual points of your presentation.
#6 – Offer one or two case studies
Your prospects want to see how you championed a project that would similar to their problem. Here are the five notes you need to hit:
- What was the problem.
- What was your perspective on it.
- What alternatives did you propose and why.
- What solution was chosen and why.
- How did it turn out.
#7 – End with a call to action
What would you like your prospects to do now? Download your white paper? Grab your toolkit? Sign up for your newsletter? Schedule a call with you?
Tell them exactly how to do what you want them to do.
It is easier to put together a presentation like this if you specialize in a practice area or an industry niche and part of your service to existing clients is keeping your finger on the pulse of what is going on in that area or niche. I give this 1-page Journal of Accountancy article to every one of my coaching clients … please read it.
And notice that you won’t have to create a new slide deck from the ground up every time you land a new speaking gig. That’s because your presentations should be to the same/similar audience (the prospects in your practice area or industry niche) and you only need to update your deck for new data.
For example, do you think Roger Grabowski creates a new slide deck for every BVFLS conference presentation about the cost of capital? Of course he doesn’t.
In real life
Remember, the primary goal of these presentations is to get work! To do that, you give your audience the what – what they need to know. Also give them the why – why it is important to them.
But don’t give them the how – how to do it. Because the audience is not going to replicate what you do; they are judging whether you can do what you say you can do. And assuming they judge that you can, and that they need you, they will hire you to do the how!
10 ways you can do better with PowerPoint (must read)
Reading that can help
14 PowerPoint Presentation Tips to Make Your PPT Designs More Effective by HubSpot
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds
19 Powerful Presentation Stats to Transform Talks in 2019 by Nancy Duarte
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte
Five Best Online Presentation Creation Tools by Lifehacker
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.