Tips for Making a Sales Presentation to a Group

As a free agent, independent professional, and/or freelancer, we are often asked to present a summary of what we offer to a board of trustees, several officers of a company, leaders of an organization, or members of an association. Dealing with more than one person can create a plethora of different considerations and approaches before reaching a successful outcome. In this article, I share some of my experiences with group presentations — what’s worked for me and what to watch out for.

Find out as much as you can before meeting with a group. I do a good bit of work for non-profits. These corporations all have vocal boards of trustees to whom they must answer when the spending of a considerable amount of money is involved. The more information I have about the corporation and its leaders, the better. If possible, I try to connect before the “big meeting” with the executive director and find out exactly what they are seeking and how much they are planning to spend — most non-profits, for example, vote on a yearly budget at the end of their fiscal year, so know exactly how much they have ear-marked for a project.

Others are putting out feelers to find out how much — or how little — they should set aside for the project. Oftentimes, there is background information you can discover. A lot of proposed projects have been in the works for awhile and have quite a history. Ask lots of questions and do all of the research possible. For example, I just finished an extensive website for a group that I discovered had initially talked with and had been turned down by many of the big design firms in town. I believe that I got the job because I was willing to take the time to meet with their board, listen to their suggestions and do the custom work they desired.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. No matter what kind of presentation you are making — whether to two people, twenty people or two hundred people — proper preparation is the key. First of all, know what your goal for the meeting is and have a plan and strategy ready. Write down the information you want the group to know about you and your services by the end of the presentation. What makes you unique and why should they hire you?

Realize that just telling them this is not going to work. You must create the right questions to ask them so that they will ask you the right questions. This is the way you will discover what it is they are looking for and whether or not you can help them get it. The operative word is “help.” When others feel that you care about them and their problems, that you are on their side and ready to help, they will be much more willing to open up and form a bond with you. You will also learn what you need to do to please them.

How to choose the best corporate gifts in an organization in an efficient way

As a business owner, you should know that it’s important to stay on top of your business’s holiday gift-giving. Think about gifts that will stand out and make an employee feel like they are being recognized, or bring pride to the company as a whole. It’s also important to consider different budgets, departments (e.g. accounting, sales, etc.), and the number of people you will be giving to. The question is how do you choose the best corporate promotional gift, corporate gifts for your employees?

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while buying gifts to communicate your appreciation to the team:

V Know what your budget is and stick to it.
When purchasing gifts for your employees, make sure you know your budget and stick to it. It’s not uncommon for a small business to have a tight budget during the holiday season; this tends to happen when a business is still recovering from year-end or they are trying to save up for the next year. When you’re on a strict budget, it’s important to pick out thoughtful and cost-efficient gifts.

V Consider a custom-made gift.
For those who have a larger budget, it’s best to consider purchasing custom-made gifts for your employees.

V Be timely
For every reason, be on time with your purchases. Not only because Christmas is a season of giving, but also because the office team needs to see their gifts at the right time, especially if it’s going to be a long looming holiday. If you’re still thinking about what to buy, it might be too late.

V Be original
Don’t go for the usual flowers and chocolates or custom mugs that are available everywhere for this holiday season. Instead, go for something that is a little more personal and creative. Your employees will appreciate the effort you put in to find a present that speaks to their interests and styles.

V Be meaningful
Just because you’re running a business does not mean that your employees don’t deserve to feel appreciated. In fact, it is even more important to show appreciation for a team that has not only put in their time and hard work, but also their interest and efforts in making the workplace better.

V Be thoughtful
When you get so caught up in planning holiday events and dinner parties, it’s easy to forget that the gift you are going to give should be something they actually like or will use.

How gifting can vary to each person in an organization:
If you’re looking to make a fantastic impression on your next client, employee, or business partner with a corporate gifts, it can be tough to know where to start. With so many choices available, it’s difficult to know what will be the most appreciated by each individual recipient. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for how to choose the best corporate gifts for each type of person on your list!

V Employees
Corporate gift options for employees can vary a lot by industry. If your company has an extensive product line, you might consider purchasing a corporate gift that showcases all of your products. You can also consider giving gifts like mementos from a recent trip or a promotional item from the company that was most useful to the recipient.

V Business Partners
When it comes to business partners, corporate gifts for people in business will often be those that reflect their professional accomplishments and experiences. Give a gift that showcases their achievements and provides a way for them to remember their work with your company. You can order personalized mugs, glasses, or books that contain photos and details of the work they’ve done.

V Clients
When it comes to corporate gifts for clients, you’ll want something that’s useful in their personal lives as well as in their professional lives. For example, purchasing a gift card is an excellent idea because they can use it for travel or entertainment that will help alleviate stress from the business. You can also consider giving a gift that reflects the company or industry they are in. For example, if they are in construction, you can buy a gift that showcases another construction project, such as a photo book of one of your completed projects.

Ending note:
In about a month, you’ll be scrambling to buy gifts for the hardworking team at your office. Instead of scrambling, In this blog, we recommended you do some prep work by considering some factors that will help make this year different from any other.

Advice for Speakers and Presenters: 7 Ways to Turn a Free Gig Into a Financial Windfall

You’ve been asked to speak for an audience. However, the event organizer or meeting planner tells you they can’t pay you. Your heart sinks knowing that speaking for free will cost you in the long run. You think of all the expenses you’ll incur – gas, parking, photocopying materials, babysitter – and speaking for free means you won’t be reimbursed for these incidental costs.

Although a free gig can eat into your bottom line, you don’t need to refuse it altogether. If you’re still building your expertise, free gigs can help you to refine your message and try out new concepts on an eager audience.

The only way you can make money if you’re speaking for free, is to sell something. You just have to. Otherwise, known as back of the room (BOR) sales, here are some tips for ensuring that you rake in the cash even if you’re speaking for free.

Develop an information product that relates to your speech. You can sell a special report, a CD or a booklet that contains detailed information from your speech. For example, I do a speech called 7 Brainless Networking Techniques to Avoid. After my speech, I encourage attendees to buy my ebook on CD called Schmooze Your Way to Success for further reading and research. Even if you don’t have an ebook or physical book to sell, there are ton of information products you can develop. Here are some ideas:
Photocopies of a 10-page special report
An audio CD containing a teleclass you led
A data CD containing a collection of reports, articles or an ebook
A booklet with dozens of tips
A DVD with a training session you did for another group
Sell something that people can take away with them. People want to buy something that they can hold in their hands and walk out the door with. Coaching sessions, digital downloads and other intangible products may be a tougher sell since people can’t hold or touch it. Opt to sell a CD, a booklet or a book instead.
Ensure that your product is inexpensively priced. If it’s too expensive, attendees won’t buy. If it’s too cheap, attendees will ignore it. Anything priced between $10 to $20 is appropriate for BOR sales.
Accepting credit cards is a must. People are impulse buyers, especially at special events. If there’s a rush to the table to buy your product and you only accept cash, you will miss out on potential business. At least 45% of my BOR sales are through credit cards. Many credit card processing companies can set you up with a telephone call-in service within 2-weeks. You collect the credit card number at the event, then you call-in later from your home or cell phone to authorize it. Simple as pie.
Mention your product at the end of your speech. Never, ever, mention your product throughout your presentation. This will turn people off. It’s tasteless to introduce a concept in your speech, and then say, “You can find a more detailed, step-by-step process in my ebook.” Instead, graciously give attendees 45-minutes worth of useful information, then at the very end, after the Q&A, pitch a 2-minute commercial for your product.
Try to videotape or audiotape your presentation. You always want to improve on your speech and being able to review it later is always helpful. Hire a videographer to tape your presentation. If you can’t find one, record your presentation using an audio recording device. Capturing a recording of your speech will do 2 things:
You can evaluate the audience’s reaction to your sales pitch. If sales were low, you can tweak it. Or, if sales were high, you can duplicate what you said word for word at other speaking engagements.
If your speech was amazing, you can package the video or audio and sell it at your next speaking engagement. Imagine how grateful your audience will feel knowing they don’t have to take notes because they can purchase your presentation and review it at their leisure.
Remember to ask if you can make sales. Before saying yes to a free gig, always get the permission from the meeting planner or event organizer for BOR sales. Most times, they will say yes to your request. In the odd event that they say no, tell them you’ll donate a portion of sales to their group. This should win them over. If the meeting planner or event organizer still refuses your request for BOR sales, you may want to rethink doing a free gig for them.
Free speaking engagements can cost you big, but not if you incorporate BOR sales into your strategy. Follow the tips above and you’ll gleefully say yes to a free gig knowing that you’ll be able to cover your costs with the product sales you’ll make at the event.