It’s your turn to give a presentation to your networking group. Whether it is your first time or your twenty-first time, you are probably thinking what can you do to sell you to your sales team?
These groups go by different names; BNI, L-Tips, Powercore and a host of others. They all follow the same general format. Each member stands up, gives a 30-60 second commercial about their company, and shares what would make a good referral for them. On a rotating basis a member or two (depending on time) gives a 8-15 minute presentation about their business, who they are, what they do and who would be a great gate-opener or a referral for them. Then referrals are shared, testimonials are given and the meeting comes to an end.
I want to help make your next presentation shine by sharing a recent experience when it was my turn to present. Members in my particular group had never experienced a presentation like mine and several told me after the meeting that I had hit a home run:
- Arrive early – Even if you presented in a particular location before, you want to get familiar with the layout of the room; check that the A/V system works with your computer; maybe use the time to plant some gifts.
- Write your introduction – Have someone else in the group introduce you. I did mine as a top ten list and the final item on the list read “If you look under your seats right now, three of you might find something special.” Hence the pre-planted gifts during my early arrival. This served two purposes. It got my audience up and moving and allowed for a good transition for me to begin speaking.
- Practice, Practice – And practice some more. No matter if your topic is about the benefits of using a travel agent; family travel; or getting interest in your seminar at sea; you have to know this material like you know the back of your hand or which pant leg goes on first in the morning.
- Know where you are going – One of my dearest friends and the late editor of mine from my radio days always reminded me “to write the punch line or the end of your column first.” You will find it easier to get your message out if you know where you are going. You may go off the map here and there during your allotted time, but when you know where you are going, you will get there. You have remembered to practice haven’t you?
- Use a pinch hitter – You talk about yourself and what you do every time, but do you want to know what has the greatest impact? Get someone else to sing your praises. A past client happens to own the shop next door to where our group meets weekly. About two months before it was my turn for my presentation, I stopped in to say hello. I asked if she wouldn’t mind giving me a live testimonial during my presentation. She agreed and the experience was flawless. In our allotted time, I was able to give my usual short commercial and then I did a transition by saying, “Many of you have heard from me before, but I asked one of my clients to tell you her experience working with me.” My client told her story and then turned it back over to me with a story of how I helped her in-laws when their cruise was cancelled and the importance of travel insurance.
- Join Toastmasters – There is no better organization for helping improve your speaking ability. Toastmasters’ biggest benefit for a travel agent is the lessons you learn when it comes to listening! How many times have you been so excited about a client’s trip that you fail to listen to what they are really telling you
- Take a risk – I honestly had no idea how well having a client speak on my behalf would go over with the group. I knew from speaking to her that she certainly wasn’t a shrinking violet. As a shop owner she is certainly comfortable speaking to the public daily. I had no idea if this experiment would work, but based on the reaction of the group I am glad I took the risk.
Remember the purpose of networking groups is to grow and maintain a sales team for everyone in the group. You want them thinking of you and only you when they run across someone who would be helped by your services. I hope you will find these tips on selling “you” to your sales team beneficial. Please share your tips of your own in the comment section below.
Chuck Flagg is a regular contributor to TRO and an independent owner/operator of Cruise Holidays in Canton, GA. His website is http://www.theflaggagency.com/ He can be found on Twitter @theflaggagency