Hunting Big Sales with Tom Searcy

Hunt Big Sales Blog

Insights for Finding, Landing and Harvesting Whale-Size Accounts

Latest "Meetings/Presentations" Posts

Entertaining a Customer? 10 Tricks to Make It Special

Take client entertaining to a whole new level by creating a memorable experience. Your clients will thank you for it.

Anyone can pick up a check–and if you spend much time with clients, you probably have. Breaking bread with clients is an important part of the relationship building process.

The challenge is making those interactions more than just a fancy meal.  As a small business owner looking to get the leg up on your competition, you have to make every encounter with your client a memorable experience.

Want to to take your dinner up a notch? Remember, this is work. You are creating a memorable evening, so do plan and execute it just like you would a presentation. Choose your venue carefully: Great food makes a great meal; great service makes the memory.

Here are my favorite tricks for client meals.

1. Frequent the same place. If you entertain regularly in your city, pick a great restaurant and use that restaurant for all client entertaining. You will develop good relationships with the staff. You may not get as much variety as you like–if you entertain often, you may wind up eating at the same place two or three times a week–but this is not really about you.

2. Work with the manager. I do not make reservations, discuss table selection or make event arrangements of any size with the receptionist. I call the manager directly and work out my details with him or her.

3Know and request your server

Posted by admin in Inc.com, Meetings/Presentations.

Meetings a Waste of Time? 6 Smart Ways to Fix Them

Team meetings cost you more than you think. Here are 6 ways to get the most out of them.

Meetings are energy and time vampires. Sales people estimate they spend up to 40 percent of their time in internal meetings. Internal meetings! That means they are not prospecting, networking, presenting, writing proposals, closing or serving customers.

Of course internal meetings are necessary–but just how necessary? If you want to drive up productivity in your business, follow these simple guidelines when you have your internal meetings:

1. Value the Meeting

At the start of every internal meeting multiply the number of people in the room by a set amount of money per person and the length of the meeting and then write the amount on the board: “This is a $XXXX meeting.” If the average employee’s productivity (not wage) for a company is $100/hour, then the math is easy.

People forget that there is a large opportunity cost to every meeting. The point is that meetings are an investment: know how much and everyone may be more cautious about the investment.

2. Declare a Desired Outcome

Before you get started, state explicitly: What is supposed to change at the end of the meeting? Are we taking action, hiring someone, firing a vendor, determining a strategy, agreeing to fund an initiative, modifying a policy?

When you bring people together, it should be to change, develop, stop or start something.  Informing, keeping in the loop and getting everyone on the same page are bad reasons for meetings.

Posted by admin in Meetings/Presentations, MoneyWatch.

What you need to know to run the next successful annual sales meeting

New blog on MoneyWatch today.  Enjoy!

Posted by admin in Meetings/Presentations, MoneyWatch.

Check out this week’s blog on BNet – 3 Jedi Mind Tricks For Your Next Presentation

Go to CBS’s BNet for my latest blog post.  Love to get your feedback!  Thanks for reading!

Posted by admin in Meetings/Presentations.

Pitch Anything

I read a lot of books in my line of work, but as you may have noticed, I recommend hardly any. However, the best book I have read on selling this year so far is Oren Klaff’s “Pitch Anything.”

When I first heard from my friend Daniel Waldschmidt that I “…had to read this book, it is the best ever…” I was immediately skeptical. I have a lot of respect for Daniel, but he’s a superlative guy and things are measured at “worst” or “best” only with know other evaluation scores considered.

But, he was right.

Klaff takes the reader through his core ideas of gaining the upper hand in tough sales presentations, recognizing dead-ends and idea-stealing meetings. As well as how to keep your composure when the buyer is hoping to break it. Trust me, it’s not all negative and fighting for your life skills training. However, Oren comes from the world of pitching ideas to the jaded venture capitalist and private investor market and these guys are “Shark Tank” on a cocktail of steroids and RedBull™.

If you sell complex deals to very senior executives, you want to download or order this book today. I am working through my 2nd reading of it, (never do that), and I have highlighted something on about every page.

Oren’s site is: http://www.pitchanything.net

You can buy “Pitch Anything” on Amazon:

 

Posted by Tom Searcy in Meetings/Presentations.

Managing the Meeting Monopolizer

Why is it that the least important person in a presentation can hijack the entire meeting? You have been in these sessions when you are in full presentation and a person in the meeting starts the “challenging question” interrogation. It can sound like this-

  • “Don’t you think that your approach costs too much for a company our size?”
  • “How do you expect to integrate with our proprietary system if you have never worked with it before?”
  • “What real and direct background do you have working in our industry?”

You’ve heard your own examples, I’m sure.  Regardless of the challenge, it often comes in the form of a challenging question, it happens before you have had a chance to complete your presentation and it could de-rail the entire conversation. These are pivotal points and if you handle them the wrong way you can burn through precious minutes in your allotted time, look defensive and weakened in the presentation or get trapped into elevating a trivial point into a major issue.

Here are a few strategies to deal with this:

  1. Defer – The easiest one is to defer answering the challenge until the end of the presentation by saying, “That’s a good question, I believe we address some of what you are asking in the balance of this presentation. I’ll make certain to circle back with you at the end of the presentation to make certain we address anything left unanswered.”
  2. Isolate – If you have a persistent provocateur, I encourage a different approach.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Meetings/Presentations.

The Truth About Christmas Letters and PowerPoints

Yes, it’s January, but the PowerPoints I’ve been going through in the last eight weeks have me flashing back to the Christmas letters I was reading just a few weeks ago. You know the ones. Each letter is filled with an update from the family that sent it. The letters typically fall into three categories: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let’s take a look:

  • The Good.Lots of photos, little text, only high points. Leave you feeling like you miss the people and you want to re-connect. The feeling reminds you why you like them.
  • The Bad.One photo. No text. Standard “Happy Holidays” with ink-jetted signature. Gives you the feeling of a bad stand-up brochure for plumbing or painting services.
  • The Ugly. Two pages of 6 pt font text, outlining every event of the year including the dog’s de-worming. Possibly a photo thrown in for good measure, but it is posed in front of the obligatory fireplace with the Mr. Potatohead smiles in place.

 

The parallel to PowerPoint presentations is hard to miss. The best ones have the following characteristics:

  • Short and sweet.I mean less than 15 slides total. Trust your audience and trust your presenter. Your audience will fill in with questions and its own understanding some of the gaps. Your presenter is there to tell a story that brings your slides to life.
  • Low text.Why did you send a presenter if people are supposed to read the text? If you don’t trust your presenter to get it right, I suggest you train him or her better or send in a different presenter.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Meetings/Presentations.

Podcast: Pitching Steve Ballmer

I recently had the opportunity to interview Simon Kelly, COO of Story Worldwide. Story Worldwide is a brand storytelling company that creates loyal consumer audiences for some of the world’s most-recognized brands, including Lexus, Unilever, Coty, and UPS. In this animated interview, Simon tells me the one about pitching a deal to Steve Ballmer—one of the toughest customers around. This story includes preparation for the big presentation, “the tough question” and being called “stupid” by the man himself. It also includes winning Microsoft’s magazine, moving to the states from England, and some tips to take into consideration when the nicest thing you can say about the prospect is that he’s a “hostile witness.”

Listen to the podcast HERE!

Posted by Tom Searcy in Meetings/Presentations.