October 28, 2008

Three Secrets of Presenters: Repetition, Illusion and Self-promotion

Last week, I saw two professional presenters I saw last year last year: Wayne Cotton and Anthony Morris. They're both entertaining, knowledgable and experienced. That's why I wanted to see them again.

I unlocked three secrets:
  1. Repeat What Works
  2. Fake Uniqueness
  3. Promote Yourself
Luckily, we can easily apply these techniques.

Repeat What Works
The topics Wayne and Anthony presented this year were essentially the same as what I'd already seen. Even though the descriptions looked different. Others who saw them before made the same comments. Yet the attendees accepted the reruns. This shows that the importance of the delivery, entertainment, and how little we remember. 

Thinking  back, I've seen Stephen Covey live several times. Each time, there was plenty of overlap in the content. Some of the same videos were replayed (e.g., Max and Max, Stone).

Earl Nightingale said that if you asked him to speak, you got his choice of topic. Maybe that happens with professional presenters. They choose or influence the topic. Or they tailor a standard presentation slightly. Why not? Once honed, why tinker drastically with a presentation that works?

Fake Uniqueness
Presenters make ideas seem unique when they really aren't. Yes, there are differences but the general ideas are similar. Think of alternatives to cold calling: Precision Marketing (Wayne Cotton), Magnetic Marketing (Dan Kennedy), Guerilla Marketing (Jay Levinson), Permission Marketing (Seth Godin), attraction marketing, pull marketing, laser marketing. These different systems achieve similar results: appealing to the right clients and repelling the wrong ones. So does viral marketing (what Seth Godin calls "sneezing" an ideavirus).

Trademark your approach and you've got something that looks unique but isn't entirely. We can do the same. For example, the Financial TRAIL to taming your financial risks starts with Trust and uses experts in Risk, Accounting, Investment and Law (TRAIL). Using a team of specialists to help a client with their financial risks is hardly unique, but this particular description is.

Promote Yourself
A top advisor sells in this order
  1. Sell yourself
  2. Sell your company
  3. Sell your product/service
  4. Sell your price
A mediocre advisor does the opposite, selling price first and themselves last. I can't remember the original source. Probably someone like Brian Tracy. 

The presenters I saw sold themselves first. Through their introductions, examples and stories. You felt they were different and you would benefit from their approaches ... even if delivered by others in their organizations. We can too.


October 20, 2008

Three Lessons | Eight Cities | One Presentation

My eight city roadshow (Have You Seen IRIS Lately?) ended last week. Maybe you attended? I was helping advisors across Ontario learn more about "10-8" financial leveraging. Now I can look back and share three lessons with you.
  1. Online registration rules
  2. Expect the unexpected
  3. Attendance varies
Online Registration Rules
You may recall that I never organized a roadshow before and worried about low attendance and that online registration could flop.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. --- Mark Twain
Many more registered than expected and 64% attended.

Over 94% of attendees registered online, rather than by fax or phone. Last week at home, we received three invitations to seminars that advisors are hosting to attract new clients. They all rely on registration by phone. Why don't you let your clients register online too? Online tools like EventBrite make this professional and painless.

Here are the advantages
  • convenient for registrants
  • instant confirmation by email (which confirms that the email addresses are valid)
  • instant database and reminder emails and followup
  • scalable for larger events and multiple locations
Expect The Unexpected
When will Murphy retire? Many little things went wrong. A colleague arrived early and had many of the shortcomings fixed before I arrived. Here are examples
  • screen in a corner rather than at front in the middle
  • table too small to hold both a projector and computer
  • noise from outside the room
  • no soap in the washroom
  • change in rooms (not even the front desk knew)
Inconsistent Attendance
In Toronto and Barrie, attendees arrived early and sessions started ahead of schedule. In London and Windsor, last minute registrants attended. In Ottawa and Markham, less than half the registrants showed up but that allowed more interaction and discussions.

Overall, the tour got results. Lots of requests for followup. No time for even a short break.


October 6, 2008

How To Reassure Your Nervous Clients

This is Captain America calling.
I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
So will you catch me now I'm falling
--- The Kinks, Catch Me Now I'm Falling

I continue to ignore the daily mass media and live a low noise life. Even so, bad news seeps in. I keep getting reassuring emails from one of my two Investment Advisors. The other is completely silent, which is worse.

Life insurance clients are getting jittery too. What can you tell them?

Calming Your Clients
I remember, when you were down
And you needed a helping hand.
I came to feed you
But now that I need you
You won't give me a second glance.
--- The Kinks, Catch Me Now I'm Falling
To help you calm insurance clients, I wrote three articles for Riscario Insider about:
  1. what happens if a life insurer collapses: in response to emails from worried readers
  2. corporate governance (Globe & Mail)
  3. the largest insurers (Financial Post 500)
Feel free to use the content. The last two articles have tables that enlarge when you click on them.

The Term vs Perm Battle Continues
Have you been following the debate on Does Warren Buffett "Buy Term and Invest The Difference"? It remains my most popular post ever and shows the power of a good headline. The newest comments have Invest-The-Difference crowd more silent than usual.