Public speaking produces more fear and anxiety than death, according to the “Book of Lists.” But delivering a seminar presentation is a fast, cheap way to earn trust with your audience and increase revenue, profits and clients. And IT professionals who overcome this fear will ultimately win more sales.
Why Seminars Are Powerful Tools For Promoting Your IT Services
Done right, presenting at a seminar can land you big-ticket IT services sales in a short time period. I’ve repeatedly secured well over $100,000 in signed contracts from 90-minute presentations.
Compared to traditional marketing methods like cold calling, direct mail and trade shows, giving a seminar will pay off far more and faster.
You’re Positioned As An Expert
Anyone who takes the podium is automatically considered an expert with something worth saying.
This affords you some celebrity status in the eyes of the audience, which translates to respect and recognition. Positioned this way, attracting qualified IT services clients becomes infinitely easier than even the best cold prospecting campaign.
You Earn Trust Faster Than Cold Calling
Having heard you speak, your audience will feel like they know you personally and be more confident in hiring you. You can’t establish this trust as quickly or effectively through traditional marketing or cold calling.
You Have Your Target Audience’s Full Attention
The average person receives over 3,000 marketing messages a day. With so much noise, prospects have become skilled at shutting out marketing messages.
When someone signs up to hear you speak at an event or seminar, you have a captive, qualified audience who wants to hear what you have to say.
They’re demonstrating a serious interest in what you’re discussing and actively paying attention to you throughout the presentation. This makes for the perfect selling situation.
How To Overcome The Fear Of Public Speaking
The first hurdle to overcome is your fear of speaking in front of groups. Fortunately, the more you speak, the easier it becomes. But this is a chicken and egg situation. If you’re too afraid to speak, how do you get enough practice to become a fearless force in front of a room?
Your self-confidence and presentation style GREATLY impact your ability to influence an audience. This is a necessary skill to develop if you’re going to deliver seminars.
Here are some tips to ease your fear of public speaking:
Speak In Small Groups
Start out by speaking to small groups of people you know (clients and associates), or join Toastmasters. This will help to get you comfortable in front of a room full of people.
When speaking, you might fear looking foolish or unprepared. So the more you practice, the less nervous you’ll be. This is a die-hard rule that all seasoned presenters live by.
Unfortunately, MOST speakers are lackluster, boring and ineffective at selling because they don’t prepare for and practice their presentation.
Waiting until the last minute to plan your seminar presentation, then slapping together a few PowerPoint slides, is a huge mistake.
Delivering a cobbled speech can damage your reputation by appearing disorganized, nervous and uninformed. Once you become a professional, polished speaker, you’ll be able to command attention and respect from large groups of people, and the financial benefits will certainly follow.
Start by scripting your presentation, and practice on your own or in front of staff, friends or colleagues. Memorize your presentation to gain even more confidence. Putting in the extra work will ease your nerves and dramatically improve your effectiveness in front of a room.
How To Give A Seminar Presentation That Sells
Seminar sales won’t happen spontaneously; you have to align your goals and actions to earn the sale.
Before preparing for your seminar, ask:
- What is the outcome or result you want from delivering this presentation?
- How will you measure the success of your presentation?
Crystallizing your goal(s) for the presentation will improve your odds of making it happen.
As a business owner or IT salesperson, your primary goal should be to produce sales, not make people laugh or write good evaluations. To that end, your presentation must sell.
Ask For the Sale In The Presentation
Many people don’t know how to create a sales-driven presentation or are too afraid to ask for the order and compel the audience to act on their offering.
Clients often ask for my help creating a marketing plan or letter to follow up with people who recently saw them speak at a seminar. The problem is: Following up with people who recently saw you speak and didn’t buy is like closing and locking the gate after the horse got out.
Your absolute BEST chance of making a sale or getting the prospect to take the first step is at the event.
That’s why you have to clarify your agenda and make your seminar presentation sell the attendees.
Highlight The Value Of What You’re Selling
Let’s suppose you want to sell your managed IT services. With that goal clearly in your mind, you should craft your entire seminar presentation to sell your audience on the value of managed services.
Here’s what to include in your seminar speech:
- Establish WHY a business needs regular network maintenance and monitoring
- Provide case studies and testimonials of other businesses you have helped that demonstrate tangible business results
- Establish credibility for your company
- Clearly demonstrate why your IT services are superior to other managed services plans
- Recognize and overcome common sales objections
- Clearly define the measurable and tangible resultsthis system will deliver, and guarantee them
- Close your presentation with an offer for a free network audit or another valuable service that only attendees who act that day can access
A strong close at the end of ANY seminar presentation is absolutely critical. If you don’t get the audience to act while you have their full attention, you’ve lost the opportunity.
Obviously, you won’t get prospects to sign a contract right there, but you have to at least close them on the next step.
Once your prospects get back to their offices, they’re out of the buying mode and likely forgotten most of what you said.
They’ve also had a cooling-off period, and many will change their mind about being interested in the first place – classic buyers’ remorse.
If you wait to sell your audience on the next step, you’re right back to cold calling and battling through voicemail and secretaries to get their attention. Then you have to reignite their interest and sell them on the meeting or next step.
Avoid The “Consultative” Seminar Presentation
Most presenters put on a plain vanilla, educational seminar packed with product facts and features. The final slide contains their phone number, email and web address with the non-offer to “call if you’re interested.”
With this wimpy close, they should feel lucky if they get anyone interested, much less buying.
I’ve been delivering presentations to market myself for over 15 years. Before I changed my presentation to contain a strong close, I generated nothing in revenue. My nice “consultative” sales pitch didn’t ruffle any feathers or earn any new clients.
Since adding a strong close, I’ve generated millions of dollars in sales for my products and services WITHOUT having to make follow-up calls and presentations.
These sales are in my hand by the time the seminar ends. That is vastly different from getting a handful of business cards and spending weeks or months chasing down prospects.
It doesn’t matter what you sell. The exact same strategies apply to selling managed services, network upgrades, CRM systems or any other IT service or product.
Is The Fear Of Selling Hurting Your Seminar Presentation?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ll have to overcome is hidden, negative beliefs about asking for the order and compelling your audience to buy.
This is not easy and takes practice to overcome. Even seasoned, professional speakers deal with this.
If you have internal conflicts about asking people to buy from you, using a strong close, promoting yourself or asking a prospect to write you a check, you better get over it quick, or you’ll waste time delivering seminars (and marketing for that matter). These beliefs negatively impact your ability to attract new clients and persuade them to buy.
If you know you have issues around selling and asking people to buy, read the book “Zero-Resistance Selling” by Maxwell Maltz.
You might justify these negative feelings by telling yourself:
- “That’s just not me.”
- “That’s just not the way we do things.”
- “We haven’t had to use this in the past and won’t start now.”
But these only prevent you from addressing the real, underlying problem: a negative attitude toward selling and asking people to buy from you.
After all, if you truly believed in the value you bring — why wouldn’t you do everything possible to get them to buy?
You CAN deliver a seminar presentation that provides great information, happy attendees and sales at the same time. But until your bank starts accepting good evaluation forms as a form of currency, work on closing sales as your main agenda.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]