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Transcript of How to Give a Great Business Presentation

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John Jantsch: Hey, this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by rev.com. We do all of our transcriptions here on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and using rev.com, and I’m going to give you a special offer in just a bit.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Michael Port. He is an actor, speaker, trainer, and author. Of course, many of you know his book, Book Yourself Solid, his more recent Steal the Show, and he’s also the co-founder of Heroic Public Speaking, an organization that is really, I think, revolutionizing the training of public speakers and presenters. So Michael, thanks for joining me.

Michael Port: You are very welcome. Thank you for having me.

John Jantsch: So, I always like to start with a hard question. You train a lot of public speakers, so what’s the one thing that you have to work on almost everyone?

Michael Port: There isn’t one thing, unfortunately, I wish … if there was just one thing I needed to work on for everybody, that would be great. But I would say this: if I was going to give you one of my top choices, I would say staging, meaning where you go on stage, when you go there, and why you go there. Because what we see in presenters, generally, is one of two things. Either they’re pacing back and forth like a caged animal, and they’re wearing a path in the rug, or they just stand in one place frozen like a deer in the headlights. And one of the things that is difficult for an audience is the sameness. So, audiences often are most compelled by contrast, changes, things that are different. If you went to listen to Yo-Yo Ma play the cello, arguably our generation’s greatest cellist, and he played the most beautiful note in the world, but then he played it for three hours, just that one note, you’d run screaming out of the theater.

Michael Port: And so if the audience is forced to watch you pace back and forth for the length of your speech, they’re going to start getting lulled into sameness. And no matter what you’re saying, even if what you’re saying is different, it’s going to start to seem the same because what you’re doing with your body is the same. And the same thing is true for if you’re just stuck in one place, like a deer in the headlights, everything that comes out of your mouth will seem similar because your physicality is similar.

Michael Port: So, when we do surveys with the people that we work with, and we work with entrepreneurs who want to book more business through speaking because they know it is such a phenomenal way of advancing their brand and demonstrating credibility, and we work with professional speakers and people who are on that track, and of course we work with executives, professionals inside organizations who know that their ability to communicate is one of the major factors in their advancement inside that organization up into higher levels of leadership. And when we ask people, no matter how much experience they have, no matter which category they’re in, how they feel about their skill with respect to moving on stage, or if they’re in front of a big conference table, or even just a group of 20 people, they always score themselves the lowest across the board. So, that’s generally where we’re able to make the biggest impact, the fastest, so that the audience is getting a visual experience of the material from the speaker, not just an intellectual experience.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think most people … well, not everyone does this, but I think most people would say that the big job is to create the content, is to have your ideas concise, and make your point. But I think people probably terribly underestimate the performance aspect of even that conference room presentation. Is that something that … I know it’s because I know you’re training. I know that’s something you work with, but is that something that has to be an intentional part, you believe, for a presentation to be better, that physicality as you call it, has to be an intentional part that’s built in just like the words?

Michael Port: I do. And I think that the word performance or performing can be provocative because if you don’t see yourself as a performer, you may think that a performer is inauthentic, or that performance is inauthentic. And in fact, that’s not the case. What we see in the best performers in the world are the most honest performers, meaning they bring honesty to the stage. But of course, there is such a big focus on authenticity, but authenticity is something that actually can be problematic because, let’s say you are going to give a presentation and you’re sick, and you’re exhausted, and you missed … three planes were canceled on the way there and you haven’t slept in the last day. Well, the last thing you might want to do, actually, is give that presentation. So, if you’re completely authentic, you might walk on in front of the group and say, “Listen, I’m really pissed off that I’m here, I’m sick, I’m tired. I don’t really want to do this, but you know what, I got to do this cause I know it’s good for my business or my boss sent me here to talk to you. So, I’ll just push through it, and then I can’t wait to be done, go get a drink, and go to sleep.” That’s completely authentic. But that’s not necessarily what you’re there to do. And I would venture to say that most people would never, never start a presentation like that.

Michael Port: So, we are always performing in one way, shape, or form if we are trying to get people to think differently, feel differently, or act differently. And the reason that we’re performing is because, in order to get people to think differently, feel differently, and act differently, then we need to make very conscious choices about the actions we’re playing, how we want them to feel, what we want them to do, what we want them to think. And anytime you’re making those conscious choices, you are performing. And so even if you’re trying to get your kid to calm down because they are six years old and they’re throwing a tantrum because they want something that you’re not going to give them, like cotton candy, well you’re going to get really, really clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you know what you’re trying to accomplish, then you’re going to choose tactics that you believe will help you accomplish that objective when you speaking to your child.

Michael Port: And so we do this regularly throughout our daily lives. And if we are asked to make a presentation, or we ask to make a presentation, then I think it stands to reason that we would be well served by spending even more time focusing on our objectives, our super objectives for the overall presentation, and then our minute by minute by minute by minute sub objectives as we’re moving through all of that content, and making sure we’re very, very clear on how we want them to feel, what we want them to do, and what we want them to think. And then we’re going to play actions, and make choices, and use different tactics to accomplish those objectives.

John Jantsch: It all sounds like a lot of work. I think I would just give him the damn cotton candy.

Michael Port: Now, I know you as a father, I’ve met some of your daughters. There is no way you are the “I’ll just give you the cotton candy” type of dad, because you had higher expectations for your kids than that. And of course, we’ve all just given in and said, “Here, eat the damn cotton candy because I need to sit down. I can’t take it.” But for the most part, when you have high expectations for the people around you, you’re going to do the work that is required to lean into those expectations. And the amount of work that you put into a presentation, I think, should be directly proportionate to the stakes of the presentation. So, if the stakes are not very high, if you’re going to give a five minute presentation to your kid’s sixth grade class, you could probably go in there and wing that. But if you’re asked to give a 60 minute presentation to people who could have extraordinary influence over your future, the stakes are going to be higher. And to me, I would want to work more on something that has very high stakes.

Michael Port: So yeah, I think there is a lot of work that goes into producing something that is world class or best in class, and if that’s important to you then you’re going to do that kind of work. So, I don’t shy away from the fact that it does take a lot of work, I think, to be really, really quite effective as a performer. And I think one of the reasons that we don’t think it takes that much work is because we speak all the time, and often the things we’re talking about when we give a presentation are things that we’re used to talking about, sitting at a table one on one with somebody or just chatting in the hallway. But just because we have experience with something, doesn’t mean that we are able to present it in speech format to a large group of people in a way that’s going to be extremely compelling.

Michael Port: So, we work, as I said, with people from all different industries and all different levels and we’ll often work with folks who come out of very, very high positions at big name marquee type companies. So, they have extraordinary expertise in their particular area and they have a personal brand reputation that is really impressive, in part because of the work they did at these companies in the past. And so, because they feel that they are experts, they feel like they should just be able to talk to the audience just for 60 minutes and the audience is going to get so much value from it.

Michael Port: But the fact of the matter is, when you have expertise in something, you’ve often forgotten more about that particular topic than most people in the audience know. And so, because so much of it is so intuitive to experts, they often leave really big gaps in their material that they assume the audience can fill, but in fact the audience has trouble filling. Or they make the material overly complicated because they’re so interested in all of the nuances of all of that material. And to them it all makes sense, but without the same kind of context that they have, it’s harder for the audience, even if they’re sophisticated, intelligent, experienced folks. Sometimes it’s just not enough. So, it tends to take a lot more work to produce a really great speech than I think people realize.

Michael Port: And then one other thing I want to say about this is sometimes people push back and they say, “Well, I don’t really want to do rehearsal on a speech because I’ve tried it in the past and it doesn’t work. It makes me stiff, or I feel slower, stodgy, I just don’t feel like I’m on my game.” And that is an absolutely accurate assessment of their experience. I’ve seen this over and over and over again. And the reason that they felt stiff or like they were off their game is not because they did rehearsal, it’s because they only did a little bit of rehearsal. Because when you do a little bit of rehearsal, generally what happens when you’re trying to present, instead of being in the moment, you’re trying to recall what you had worked on in rehearsal and repeat it. But what happens is you’re now in two different places, and what great performers do is they know their material so well that they can completely forget it before they walk on stage and allow it to come to them in the moment, so that, to the audience, it feels like it’s the first time it’s ever being shared or delivered and it feels relevant and spontaneous.

Michael Port: But you get that spontaneity when you are able to mix both preparation and improvisation, but just winging it is not improvisation. Just winging it is just making it up as you go. And I know we think that if we get into a high state where we have a lot of adrenaline pumping, that we think we’ll rise to the occasion, but the military tells us that we usually don’t rise to the occasion. We fall back on our training, because when the stakes are high, and when adrenaline is pumping, when things are moving fast, then in order to be able to deliver what’s needed in that moment, it’s got to be in your bones. If we have to think too hard, then we tend to feel slow, stiff, and out of step.

Michael Port: Just like if you said, “Listen, Michael, I’m going to … I need some help fighting in Syria right now. I know you don’t have military training, you don’t know how to use the comms. Actually, you don’t even know how to use most of the weapons that we’ll use. I know you’ve never done any kind of training whatsoever, but I’m sure you’ll rise to the occasion as soon as we put you in the firefight.” Oh, I’m going to die. It just … I’m going to be dead, and the stakes are higher there because it’s life or death. On the stage, it’s not life or death. So, you feel, “Okay, well if I don’t kill it, well I’m not going to die.”

Michael Port: But you probably are missing some extraordinary opportunities because if you’re an entrepreneur … look, there are some core self promotion strategies. There’s networking, direct outreach, referral strategies, there are web strategies, there are writing strategies, and of course there are speaking strategies. And there are few strategies that give you more credibility than being given some sort of platform from which to speak. And if you’re given a platform from which to speak, I think it is a great honor. And so if you’ve got 50 people in the room and you take an hour, well that’s 50 hours of time that someone has given you. And to me, there’s a great responsibility. I have an enormous amount of reverence for that stage, for that platform, and for the people in the room. And if our job is to focus entirely on serving those people, helping them, not just looking good ourselves, but focusing on producing results for the people in the room by solving their problems, actually, public speaking gets a lot easier, because you’re not as self absorbed herself to centered. The self absorption and the self centeredness is what produces the anxiety, but if you’re not focused on yourself and you’re focused on solving their problems and helping them produce results, you tend to be actually much more relaxed.

John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by rev.com. There are so many ridiculously valuable reasons to order transcriptions. You can write entire blog posts. Heck, you could write an entire book by just speaking it and having rev put together a transcript that you can then just bring on home. I mean, if you want to record a meeting so that you have notes, again over and over, there are so many good reasons. If you just want to take notes when you’re listening to something and you just want to record those notes and get it, it’s amazing what the reasons you can find for doing this, and Rev gets those transcripts. As I said, they do our podcast, they get those transcripts back to you lightning fast, and I’m going to give you a free trial offer. If you go to rev.com/blog/dtm, and that’ll be in the show notes too, but you’re going to get a hundred dollar coupon to try them out, and I suggest you do it.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I think that in my speaking, that was a huge moment for me was to realize what am I here to give as opposed to how am I here to entertain them? Especially in … I built my entire business, I tell people this all the time and I trained consultants on this all the time, doing what I call speaking for leads. And because you’re absolutely right. For a consultant, a professional service provider, I mean really just about any industry, it’s probably the most potent way to kind of move somebody from knowing you, to them liking you, to them trusting you, to sort of trying you because they’ve now seen what it’s going to be like to work with you. So, it’s like you move that customer journey so fast with with this tactic.

Michael Port: That’s right. And you know John, the expectations for speakers differ. So, if you are going to present to a group of 30 people at a business networking event or a Chamber of Commerce, or some other place where your target market is gathered, well they may not expect you to come in and have them rolling in their seats. They’re expecting you to solve their business problems as they relate to your expertise, and their immediate needs. But if you want to be a $30,000 professional speaker speaking at big conferences where your job is to set the key … strike the keynote for 5,000 people in the room, well then the expectations are going to be different. And there will be a higher level of entertainment value expected.

Michael Port: Now, if entertainment value is not expected, but you can still deliver it, well then you really stand out. So, if you can solve their problems, if you can deliver exceptional transformational experiences for them because you’re offering them solutions to things that really frustrate them and challenge them, and you can entertain them at the same time, well then you’re in a league of your own, especially in those environments where the entertainment value expectations are actually low.

Michael Port:  And look, give yourself some credit because you’re pretty darn entertaining. You really are. You’re witty, your sense of humor is dry, and you, I think, are fully self expressed when you’re presenting and you do it in your way. And that’s what’s so important. There is no one style that works for presenting. And any time you try to present like someone else, you’re setting yourself up for failure because you will never be like somebody else. And if you focus on amplifying the most compelling parts of your personality as it relates, again, to solving the problems for the people that you serve who are in the room at that time, well then you can create a style that you feel very comfortable with and really, really shows off your personality. Because there are no expectations with respect to how you’re supposed to be as a presenter. What they’re evaluating is, “Did this person help solve my problems? And do I feel like I can produce a better result because I heard them? And did I enjoy myself while I did it?” If you’ve got those three things, you’re good to go.

John Jantsch: Let’s … because we have been focusing a little bit on winning more business and not necessarily wowing 50,000 people, because the bulk of people will never have that experience. I mean, they’ll sit across the table, they’ll try to convince somebody to buy from them. When creating presentations that are maybe primarily to get business, like I talked about my speaking for leads, what do you find the best way? Because I think this is … sometimes people can have great information and then they get to that call to action part, and they sort of stumble. It either comes out inauthentic or they don’t really get across what they’re trying to say. I mean, what’s the key to writing effective … if we are trying to get business from that talk, what’s the key to writing effective or presenting an effective call to action?

Michael Port: So, let’s back it up a little bit because as you know, the closing techniques that someone uses in say, a sales conversation are often not the things that made the sale or lost the sale. The sale is usually made much earlier on in the relationship. Earlier in the pipeline is when you’ve won or you’ve lost. But sometimes we associate something we did at the end and say, “Well, that’s why I won the business.” And of course there are certainly some tactics that are more effective than others when it comes to actually asking for the business. But if we back it up a little bit and we focus on, “Alright, well how would we … if we’re just doing a short presentation, how would we structure it? What’s important?” Well, there are five elements that we see exist in every good presentation, and I stay away from absolutes, but in this case you can find these five elements in one way, shape, or form in great presentations that you see.

Michael Port: Now, they’re not the only five elements that you’ll have in a presentation, but it’s a great way to start. And very often when we work with individuals who are promoting their businesses through speaking, or if we’re going into large organizations and we’re working with sales teams or anybody else that is out in the world presenting that brand, we’ll work them through what’s called the foundational five. And the foundational five is five elements that, if we are really clear on, then we can make this pitch, this presentation in almost any way, shape, or form in three minutes, or 30 minutes, or three hours. It doesn’t really matter because those are elements that we hit and we can expand or contract them based on the length of time that we have.

Michael Port: So number one, we need a big idea. We need a big idea. And a big idea doesn’t need to be different to make a difference, but it needs to be true for the people in the room, and it needs to be relevant for the people in the room, and interesting to the people in the room. So, what’s a big idea? Well, if I think about a Duct Tape Marketing. To me, Duct Tape Marketing is a big idea because … and I’m not an expert in Duct Tape Marketing, but I know the brand from seeing it out in the world. And I would say this, and you could tell me if I nailed this or if I’m off. I would say that this: most marketing education, seems to me, focused primarily on tactics, but tactics that are ad hoc, often disparate. And what happens is the entrepreneur is fed so many different lines of thinking that they don’t know what to do with it all because there’s no context around it. But what you’ve done with Duct Tape Marketing is you’ve created a system so that any entrepreneur can plug that system into their process, and then they have a repeatable system for booking more business. So, you’ve taken a very systematic approach to it. To me, that’s a big idea. Did I get that? Am I right?

John Jantsch: Of course. I mean, you just wrote my brochure.

Michael Port: Perfect. So, that’s a big idea, and that’s something that people will resonate with. They’ll go, “Yeah, man, I really, I just read a marketing book and it just was idea after idea after idea, I don’t even know what to do with these things. And then this guy’s saying, well no, there’s a systematic approach to it.” So, if you’re somebody who likes organization and structure and order, well now you’ve got something that you can really, really hold on to and use for the rest of your life, your career.

Michael Port: So, that’s a big idea. Then there’s a promise. Each speech has some sort of promise. Each presentation has a promise. So. What’s the promise that you’re making to the people in the room? Because the big idea is a way of seeing the world that if they adopt, will be one of the reasons they’re able to achieve the promise. And so in order for them to get this promise, they got to buy into the big idea. And our job is to demonstrate that this big idea is something that’s relevant to them, it’s interesting to them, and will produce return for them. So, if the promise is, “Well, you’re going to have more clients than your heart desires. You’re going to have as much business as you could possibly handle.” Well, that’s a promise that I think most entrepreneurs that you work with, they want … if someone can make them that promise, they say, “This fantastic. That’s what I want.” So people … if they listen to your presentation, and they buy into the big idea, and they go and implement it, that’s what should happen. So, that’s pretty straightforward.

Michael Port: Now, there are three more elements. Element number three is being able to demonstrate that you understand the way the world looks to the people in the room.

John Jantsch: I’m going to interrupt you. I thought you were going to tell me, but you have to buy the book to get the three adenoids, so …

Michael Port: That’s funny. No, that’s exactly the problem with most speeches is they don’t actually deliver. They just say, here’s a little tease and then that’s it. But I think if you say you’re going to do something you have to do it. It’s one of the things we see happens in speeches. They’ll say, “Okay, so there are five elements to, X, Y and Z.” Then they do three and they go, “Oh shucks, I only had time for three. Too bad. But you know what? In the back of the room you can buy …” And that’s not how Duct Tape Marketing folks do business.

Michael Port: So, the third element is being able to demonstrate that you understand the way the world looks to the people in the room. Because when you have the platform and you’re an expert, it’s the … you’re asking them often provocative questions and you’re sometimes asking them to challenge themselves to do things differently, which means they’ve got to do some work. And some of that work may be uncomfortable, either because it’s time consuming or because it means they have to change something. And if they distance themselves from you because they don’t think you understand them, even if your big idea is interesting and relevant to them, and even if the promise that you’re making is something that they want, they may opt to say, “You know what? He doesn’t really get me or she doesn’t really understand me and my business is different. Whatever they’re talking about, I mean, it probably works, but it’s not really for me.” And then they can get out of doing that work. But if they feel that you’re just knocking one pin down after another, where they say, “Oh my god. Yep, that’s me. Yep, that’s me. Yep, that’s me. Yep, that’s me. Yep, that’s me,” then they see that you really understand the way the world looks to them and they’re more likely to listen to you.

Michael Port: The fourth element is being able to demonstrate, illustrate, articulate the consequences of not adopting the big idea, the consequences of not fulfilling this promise. And often, as you know, people are more motivated to move forward when they’re trying to move away from something, something that hurts. You’re going to move your hand away from fire much more quickly then you’ll pull it out of just sort of lukewarm water. So, we want to make sure that we don’t skip over those consequences because we think that they already know what they are. We want to stoke the fire there. We want to push the buttons a little bit more.

Michael Port: And then the fifth element is being able to demonstrate, illustrate, articulate the rewards of adopting this worldview, seeing the world differently, adopting this big idea, achieving this promise, because that’s where they want to go. So, there are, of course, financial rewards, there are spiritual rewards, there are physical rewards, there are emotional rewards. And if you know your audience really well, then you’ll know which rewards are most exciting to them that are going to get them the most stimulated.

Michael Port: Now, with that said, then the next question is, “Well, you did all of this, they love it. How do you move the conversation forward? How do you continue it?” And there are certainly lots of different ways to do it, but when I was doing those kinds of speeches earlier on in my career, I didn’t like the idea of making any kind of hard sell, because at that point, I wasn’t well known. It’s very different when you walk into a room and they already know you, they’ve already read your books. It’s a very different dynamic. If Oprah walks into a room and says, “Listen, lie down on the floor and act like bacon,” you’d be like, “Alright, sounds like a great idea.” But you know Oprah and you trust her and you think, “Well, she’s asking me to do this for a good reason.”

Michael Port: But if the people in the audience don’t know you, well, do you have enough trust to make sales offers? Because it seems to me that sales offers should be proportionate to the amount of trust that we’ve earned. And so I, when giving a short presentation, 20 minute presentation to say, a Chamber in 2003 when nobody knew who I was, I didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Okay, great. Now, you’ve got to hire me.” So, what I did instead was say, “Listen, every week I do this thing,” and I had a name for it, “and each week I would bring a different topic that relates to you, and the specific issues that you face on a regular basis. And then we, we address it, we discuss it, and it’s free and it always will be. And I don’t sell anything there. And if you love it, you’ll keep coming back. And if you can come next Monday, you’ll come. If not, you’ll come the following Monday, it’ll be there for you. And if you don’t like it, then you won’t come back again but didn’t cost you anything. And here’s how you can sign up for it.”

Michael Port: And that one strategy for me produced 85% of all business that I booked because, of course, once they’re into that environment, now you’re developing really deep relationships with them and they are starting to raise their hand and say, “Hey listen, I’d like to talk to you about working with you.” Because of course they know what you do, and if they think you have the solutions to their problems, they’re going to be looking at your offers. And if you’re in regular communication with them, then you’re continuing to nurture that relationship and make offers as is appropriate based on the amount of trust you’ve earned. So, the more trust you earn, the bigger the offers are that you can make. And so I did it in that form, because it made sense for me, given the kind of work that I did, but it doesn’t have to be in a weekly conference call or a weekly livestream. It could be something that you do one on one really, really simple just with an individual at a time, 20 minutes at a time. So- [crosstalk]

John Jantsch: And obviously that’s a bigger investment of time on your part. But I think it sends such a signal that you’re in this for the long haul. You’re not just trying to sell me something and be done. Obviously once I get to know you, I’m probably going to pay a lot more money, than I might have at that event. So, it- [crosstalk]

Michael Port: No, I mean, that’s exactly right. I mean, we’re always looking at the lifetime value of somebody that we serve. If you’re just a sort of a, like, “Okay, let me just try to get a quick thing here, quick thing there, quick thing there,” that’s one way of building a business, but it’s not particularly satisfying, at least to me longterm. And I don’t think it’s particularly meaningful to the people that we serve. And I think you make an extraordinarily important point because if you … if part of the reason that you’re on a platform presenting yourself is because you’re trying to demonstrate credibility and earn credibility and earn, I think, is really the operative word, we can’t just … we’re not entitled to credibility because of something we’ve done. We have to continue to earn it and every new person we meet, we’ve got to earn it again.

Michael Port: And as soon as we start to feel entitled to that attention or that credibility, that’s when we start, I think, just going down hill. So if I’ve got to earn it, I think it’s really important to people that we serve to see that you’re in it for the long haul, and that what you’re doing is going to be around for a long time to come. Because one of the ways that people infer credibility is by seeing your consistency. So, the more consistent you are, the more credible they will see you. And if what you produce consistently is something that will help them specifically, well that’s a pretty good match.

John Jantsch: Absolutely. So Michael, if I was out there thinking I want some help writing my speech, I want some help with the performance of that, I want some help on how to rehearse, tell us about Heroic Public Speaking and how you might be able to help us.

Michael Port: Well, thank you. I would love to. Look, heroicpublicspeaking.com has got tons of information. Heroicpublicspeaking.com has got lots of information and, of course, free tip sheets, resources, videos that you can watch. So, we try to do our best to give you a really clear picture of how we help. But we work with both corporations, and we work with individuals, and we have a 10,000 square foot facility here in New Jersey, in an adorable little town and we run really comprehensive training programs for individuals and for organizations both here on site and at their headquarters as well.

Michael Port: But the thing that I think is important to remember, is that every single person that we work with is unique, is an individual. And we do not work with the same people in the same way, which is one of the reasons that we put so much customization into our training programs, because we think that if you see somebody that we’ve worked with and you say, “Oh yeah, that’s a Heroic Public Speaking speaker,” then we failed. Each person should be unique and what you should see is the extraordinary work that speaker is doing. But most importantly, you should see transformation in the audience. But the craft itself should be transparent.

Michael Port: So, we do a lot of customization for the people we work with and we’ll work with people individually for those whom it’s appropriate. We have online courses, in person courses, short-term courses, longterm courses. We really try to serve the different types of people that we have dedicated ourselves to based on what is most appropriate for them in the timeframe that they have available to them.

John Jantsch: Well, and as somebody who has both watched you work and been been a student of your work. I mean, I think clearly, a lot of the growth that you’ve experienced at HPS has to … is really a telltale sign of the effectiveness of the work that you’ve done.

Michael Port: Thank you so much. We are very … our net promoter score is consistently above 90, and if people aren’t familiar with net promoter score, I’ll give you a framework. Bank of America … Well, so I’ll start with Apple. Apple is about a 65 and they’re a pretty popular company, and Bank of America is about a negative 27. So, you get the … you see the range there. But for us, what we’re most proud of is that 90% of the people that we serve come from referrals from other people that we serve. And that means a lot to us.

John Jantsch: And it’s just heroicpublicspeaking.com.

Michael Port: Correct.

John Jantsch: So, Michael, always great to catch up with you and hopefully we’ll see you sooner than later.

Michael Port: Thank you so much, my friend.

How to Give a Great Business Presentation

Marketing Podcast with Michael Port
Podcast Transcript

Michael PortToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur Michael Port.

Port is the co-founder and CEO of Heroic Public Speaking, where he trains entrepreneurs, professional and aspiring speakers, and executives on how to give a compelling speech that changes hearts and minds.

He is also the author of six books, including Steal the Show, which shares practical public speaking tips. A former professional actor, he now focuses his attention on helping businesses use public speaking as a marketing tool, and often appears as a communications and business development expert on MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS.

On today’s episode, Port shares his insights into everything public speaking-related—from combating nerves to rehearsing effectively to the elements that make up an effective speech.

Questions I ask Michael Port:

  • How much of public speaking is about the performance versus the content?
  • How can public speaking advance the customer journey?
  • What is the key to incorporating an effective call to action in a presentation?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why the amount of work you put into a presentation should be directly proportional to the stakes of the presentation.
  • How to reduce anxiety when approaching public speaking.
  • What foundational five elements are key to building a great presentation.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Michael Port:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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18 Why You Must Change Your Content Marketing Approach

Now that pretty much everyone on the planet gets the importance of content marketing it’s time to throw a wrench in the works. To remain effective with your content marketing efforts you must constantly evaluate, change and evolve!

I know you may not want to hear that, but content only provides value when it’s useful and the consumer always determines what useful looks like. As more and more content marketers experiment with content form, length, frequency, mode, delivery, and style the consumer pallet for content continues to mature and evolve and you must do so with it. content marketing

I’ve been participating in content marketing for about fifteen years now, long before we called it that, but I’ve always tried to stay in touch with the wants and needs of the reader.

My first efforts were articles placed in directories and shared in an ezine. (How’s that for some nostalgia) In 2003 I started blogging here and that’s driven a great deal of my growth for over a decade.

Over the years my email newsletter has become more of a place to filter, aggregate and share other people’s content in snack sized versions. I produced my first eBook in 2004 or so and now feature ten, including some I’ve licensed from other writers.

We now feature guest blog post two and sometimes three times a week and I contribute blog style articles to about a dozen publications on a regular basis. Social media has obviously opened new doors in terms of sharing and generating new forms of content.

I believe the future of content marketing, however, rests in our ability to evolve to a more personalized form of creation and delivery where the end reader participates in the curation and creation of the content they request from marketers.

This next step will require even more from content marketers if they are to continue to deliver value in an saturated field of more and more content. I reached out to some well-known content marketers and asked them to share how their content marketing thoughts had evolved over the last few years.

Their responses are both fascinating and informative.

Enjoy!

Online content strategy has changed over the last couple of years. The focus is still on providing value, but this has been honed even further. I see businesses being more strategic about the type of content they publish online, to build the communities they want. There’s more long term strategy in the content they produce. I see businesses blogging less often but with deeper content to create strong evergreen content relevant to their business. I see others sharing more thoughtful pieces of content to connect with the right people. A few years ago providing value might have been enough to get traction to impact your business, but it’s also very important to create the type of coherent online visibility you need to establish relationships. Combining the two is essential today. There’s just too much noise, too many people publishing the same thing. And of course you need a visual marketing strategy to go hand in hand with your written content if you want to really take advantage of social media reach today.

Cindy King
Director of Editorial
Social Media Examiner

Different people in your target audience (whomever that audience may be) have varying preferences for content format, platform, approach, etc. I always knew this to be true, but in the past two years I’ve really embraced the concept that there is no such thing as all-powerful content. No magic bullet. No reliable home runs. Consequently, I’m striving to create more and more content types native to more and more content platforms, so that there is something from me in the style and format that’s preferable to each person in my tribe. That’s why I’m doing more podcasting, videos, ebooks, slideshare and just about everything else. Instead of trying to do one thing extraordinarily well, I’m trying to do many things very good. It’s not easy, but content can’t fully succeed as the tip of the spear – you need the whole spear.

Jay Baer
Convince and Convert

In the last two years, I have changed my ideas about blogging. I used to do more video posts with tutorials but I’ve switched to posting very long text posts with a lot of screenshots as my primary blog post and then occasionally add in video posts. I’ve found that having a lot of screenshots is great for people who are scanners. Even though my video posts were usually around 3-5 minutes in length, not everyone wants to sit through them. My blog posts are typically between 1000-2000 words which is much longer than I used to write when I had written posts. I’m also focusing this year on posting 2-3 times per week on my blog rather than just 1 time per week. It doesn’t always happen but I do like when I can post more often because it allows me to post a little more variety of content. I can post one in-depth technical post about Facebook or social media, and then also post something slightly different about business motivation or more general marketing or even something more personal about my journey. I’ve found that people have really responded to my personal posts – they don’t always get the biggest amount of traffic but they definitely get the most comments and I think they are great for connecting with your readers.

Andrea Vahl

Over the last two years, I’ve attempted to add more contrast to my content. It has often been said that content is king. However, with so much content out there it can all start to blend together so I’ve been focusing on making contrast king. This way, my readers look forward to what’s coming next. There’s more anticipation and surprise and, as a result, more attention and conversation is produced.

Michael Port
Book Yourself Solid

1. Publishing on weekends – CMI now publishes posts on Saturday and Sunday, as we’ve noticed that the posts get a bit more attention with less competition on those days. 2. Audio/Podcasts – Last year, we launched our first podcast and have seen amazing results. In the anticipation of more opportunities to get access to iTunes (ala Apple CarPlay), we are in the process of launching a podcast network as part of our core content offerings. 3. More In-Person Events – A decade ago, we were under the impression that social media might lead to people less likely to travel to events. Actually, the opposite has happened. With more networking going on via the Internet, people are actually craving more in-person, face-to-face time. So over the past two years we’ve added an event in Asia Pacific, as well as five additional events in North America.

Joe Pulizzi
Content Marketing Institute

We’ve not really changed much at all with regard to our content during the course of the last couple of years. Since launching our corporate blog, we’ve always focused on just one thing: our audience. We try to write content for the blog that is informative, educational and which can help marketers (our audience) do what they do more efficiently, effectively and with fewer headaches. We try to stay on top of trends, tools, and must-know, must-consider things as marketers develop and execute their integrated marketing strategies. Much like you, we understand that relationships today are built with information, and by giving it away (information), people come to trust and rely on us as a go-to source for whatever it is they need. I use just one phrase as a barometer (and I use this when I’m on the road speaking as well): How do you know if you’re doing it right? Ask yourself just one questions: Is it good for people. If so, then you’re doing it right. I believe that applies to every facet of your content marketing and lead gen initiatives: website, landing page campaigns, blog, social, email, and is applicable both online and off.

Shelly Kramer
V3 Integrated Marketing

“At Social Media Examiner our approach to content has not fundamentally changed in the last five years with two exceptions. We still publish 1000+ word articles that are extensively edited by a team of at least 6 editors. However, the first major change is the use of images. We custom design Facebook open graph and Twitter card images for our high profile articles to help them appear better in social. This means we have a designer create a nice image with words that will compel more clicks and shares. Secondly, we have upped the frequency of our original content from six times a week to ten. This means publishing two articles per day on most days.”

Mike Stelzner
Social Media Examiner

The last two years have been a time when we’ve experimented a fair bit with our content on numerous fronts including: 1. we’ve seen our longer form content do very well so have experimented with what we internally refer to as ‘mega-posts’ that are more comprehensive guides to larger topics. These posts are generally 2000+ words (and have gone as high as over 5000 words). While this isn’t what we publish every day we’ve tried to throw them into the mix ever few weeks and have been rewarded with great sharing, traffic and comments. 2. I’ve experimented increasingly with repurposing posts in different mediums. This has included using content previously published on the blog as slideshares and republishing older posts on LinkedIn and Google+ (usually with updates). I’ve also done it around the other way by publishing content that was still in a ‘first draft’ format to LinkedIn to get reader reactions before publishing it to the blog. 3. On ProBlogger we’ve also slowed our frequency down slightly and have been experimenting with ‘themed weeks’ where we tackle a larger topic over a series of posts over 5-6 days. This means we’ve been able to dig deeper into topics and build momentum. These theme weeks have been very well received. 4. The other major change for me has been the way I’m sharing content. I’ve put a huge effort into Facebook (on Digital Photography School) where we’ve gone from auto-posing new posts to 5-6 manual updates every day. The results of this have been amazing for us – while others are seeing reduced results with Facebook we’ve seen significant improvements in our organic reach, engagement and traffic driven from Facebook.

Darren Rowse
ProBlogger

I’ve become even more convinced of the power of brevity.

Dan Pink
To Sell Is Human

I just made a change… this week! After 5+ years of writing two posts a week, I’m now publishing content every day. It wasn’t so much that I thought “more is better” — the old way was good for a while, too. But then it became stale and I felt like I wasn’t challenging myself. Just as important, I felt like I wasn’t serving my readers well. The new blog has a lot of more frequent, shorter content, as well as a new series of Reader Stories and Profiles to highlight some of the great people in the community. So far, I’m very happy with the change and I think the readers are too.

Chris Guillebeau
The Art of Non-Conformity

I tend to go to longer content in social media and shorter content in blogs and direct response. I’m not sure why other than I use stories in social media and those tend to go longer. I don’t know that I’m using content for just education about ‘how to’ — but education about who I am and how I serve, how I live and how I see the world.

Carrie Wilkerson
Barefoot Executive

I stopped sending newsletters monthly that were long and had multiple subjects to it. I found that they were not getting read. Now I send brief single subject emails weekly with very enticing titles to get open, click thrus and shares. This has resulted in much better open rates and easier content generation.

Barry Moltz
barrymoltz.com

More Long Form Content We are gravitating away from shorter more informal “blog” posts and are investing much more in creating lengthier, more authoritative articles. There’s a glut of blog content of the short style, and while it may be shared on social media widely, it also tends to have a short shelf life. Longer, more in-depth pieces on evergreen topics tend to deliver a better ROI on the investment (time or money) in an article. In other words, if you’re going to write an article, you might as well make the extra effort to make it rich in detail and fantastic! It’s not unusual for Small Business Trends to publish pieces I’ve personally written or we’ve commissioned from others, at 1,500 – 2,000 words each, several times per week. (We publish around 50 articles per week, since we are an online magazine.) We don’t have a steady diet of long pieces, but we do a greater percentage of them today than two years ago. Here is why we do more long-form content. We find that people AND search engines tend to favor well-written, in-depth pieces. For instance, Google recognizes Schema markup for in-depth articles. But even if you don’t know what Schema markup is or don’t want to bother with it, you may just find that longer content helps your site’s engagement because (a) people tend to spend more time on your site reading longer pieces stuffed with useful information; and (b) they are more likely to explore the rest of your site, not just consume a short snack and immediately go away. Also, a page with a lot of quality content on a specific topic tends to naturally rank well in search because of the sheer quantity of information for the search engine spiders. That means more people may find your article — and your site — via search. And perhaps hire you or buy from you. However, everybody has their own style, and every site is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all. I recommend that people experiment. See if long-form content works for you.

Anita Campbell
CEO and Publisher
Small Business Trends

My approach is much different now than in years past. When I first started out with my blog in 2006, I posted ten to twelve times per week, then a few years later, I brought on contributors in order to scale the blog, while I focused on writing for business media outlets. Now, I rarely publish on social networks and only write articles six times each year when I have new research I want to push out to the marketplace. Part of this is because I believe the marketplace is changing and part of this is because I burned out from posting so much. I have so much going on now that I would rather focus my content production when I need to get something out there rather than random articles.

Dan Schawbel
Author of Promote Yourself

The biggest change for me has been that there are more outlets to share my content on. Specifically I think of Instagram. In the past the only way to share what I was seeing out in the world was in a blog post. Flickr has always been around as someplace to upload photos, but that is where it ended. There was no real community. But, using Instagram I can take a photo, tag the location and then write as little or much as I want and share it out to all other channels. I love having that flexibility and functionality right in my pocket anywhere in the world. I no longer have to take out my laptop to create and share.

C.C. Chapman

“Social media has changed the way I approach the content I create. Twitter, Facebook, et al have reduced our attention spans and at the same time increased the amount of “noise” we have to wade through, in order to get to the “signal.” As a result, I am creating more visuals and making any written content more succinct. I’m using images to gain attention, graphics to convey my message, and even my new book, Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation, is just 194 pages, spread out over 30+ concise chapters. In short, less truly is more.”

Andy Beal
CEO of Trackur

I’ve changed it all. I write once a week or so for chrisbrogan.com, instead of once or twice a day. Instead, I write my newsletter once a week, and write for private communities multiple times a day. I’m sharing a peek from outside, but only the faithful gets the payload.

Chris Brogan
Publisher of Owner Magazine

So, if you’ve made it to this point why not share thoughts on how your content marketing is evolving!

10 Why You Must Add Visual Content to the Mix

Look around these days and you’ll find it’s hard to miss the growth of sites and services that rely on the more visual aspect of our senses growing rapidly.

Sites like Pinterest and The Fancy rely on lots of pretty picture to tell stories and attract visitors.

Infographics and visualized data still attract lots of interest.

It’s a well documented fact that images get much more engagement on social networks like Facebook and Google+.

Even Twitter, land of 140 characters, has introduced a visually based service called Vine in an effort to grab a greater share of the eyeball.

A picture immediately lights our emotions and initiates a complex cognitive process that is a true wonder in the world of science.

The rise of the popularity of images in marketing and learning, however, may have less to do with the brain’s cognition powers and more to do with the reality of our own information possessing load.

Visual scanning has become a key web decision and filtering routine due to the sheer weight of what we attempt to consume.

Marketers must now use visual content strategically to invite those visual scanners to the party and simplify and illustrate more complex concepts.

visual content
An example illustration from Book Yourself Solid Illustrated by Michael Port

Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, recently re-released his popular book as an illustrated guide – Book Yourself Solid Illustrated. The book takes the core concepts explained in oh so many words and turns them into pictures that “show” the concepts.

I think the work is brilliant and certainly pushes the bounds of a “how to” book to new places. Look for others to follow suit.

Every marketer should get this book and embrace both the concepts and the way the concepts are presented as a key demonstration of the role of sight in communication.

As with all things, however, balance is still crucial. It’s tempting to look at a site like Pinterest and think all you need are images. The fact is you still need a healthy blend.

Images are bit like pastries. They are very attractive and taste very good, but you can’t live on them.

How often have you heard these words uttered? “The book was better than the movie.”

Or as many rabid baseball fans will attest, a good radio broadcast of a game beats the television version any day.

The fact remains that words and sounds can paint a far more visually and emotionally appealing picture when used evocatively than, well, even a picture. The key is that pictures tell the story immediately, while words take far more time and effort.

It’s the careful fusion of words, sights and sounds that draw in all the senses and tell the complete story that marketers must strain to build.

Adding visual content as a strategic component of the marketing mix is now a must!

1 5 Things Your Referral Sources Desperately Want to Know

Marketing podcast with Michael Port

referral education

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Most marketers are clear about targeting their marketing and advertising messages. but when it comes to referrals it seems that notion is no longer valid.

The thing is, we all want referrals, but what we really want are referrals and introductions that fit, that match what we consider our ideal client profile.

And here’s the other thing, our referral sources often are equally enthusiastic about providing referrals, but when we don’t help them understand how to do this in the best possible way, we make their job that much more difficult.

You need to think in terms of an education process for referral sources, be they clients or strategic partners, just as you think in terms of educating prospective clients.

On this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visit with Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid and upcoming Book Yourself Solid Illustrated, about this very thing.

Michael has consistently advised an approach that mandates that you get very, very specific about who does and does not make an ideal client for your business and during this conversation we talk about how to bring your “red velvet rope policy” to the generation of referrals.

Your referral sources need to know the following five things.

1) How would I spot your ideal client?

Describe your ideal client in such detail that most would have a hard time not identifying at least a handful of people that fit perfectly. Or better still, identify several actual prospective individuals or companies to use as examples. The more detail, including the types of pain or challenge they might be facing, the better prepared your referral sources are to make the right introductions.

2) How would I best describe why they should hire you?

Hopefully you have a very clear understanding of this first. I often refer to this as your value proposition or why us. Give your referral sources the actual words to use to describe how you are different from everyone else that says they do what you do.

3) What are some common trigger phrases I should listen for?

Whether you sell siding or software people probably don’t sit around with friends and discuss how they long for some siding or software. You’ve probably discovered that people talk about the problems in their lives and you’ve got to be good at translating that into the need for what you do. So, someone might say, “I sure hate painting my house every other year” or “my accountant is all over me because we can’t ever produce accurate sales reports.” These are what I call trigger phrases and you should produce a solid list of the actual things a hot prospect might say and provide this list to your sources.

4) What is your follow-up process?

Go ahead and tell your sources exactly how you intend to follow up and exactly how you would like them to be involved. This helps turn a lead into an introduction and set their mind at ease that you have a professional and valuable follow-up process rather than a hunt and kill approach.

5) What’s in in for me?

This last one may take many forms and only in rare instances would I suggest some form of monetary incentive. It is a good idea however to reinforce two things – why this is a valuable thing for them to do and how much your appreciate it. Often times connecting referral generation with non profit support or allowing them win something related to your business makes a lot of sense and can add some fun to the process.

You can create a one sheet document, web page or just informally address each in a meeting, but the key is to make it easy for your referral sources to do what they quite naturally want to do.

Friday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Friday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Mahan Khalsa

Mahan Khalsa is the founder of the Sales Performance Group of FranklinCovey, the creator of the Helping Clients Succeed sales improvement program taught in over 40 countries and 10 different languages. He is currently a founding partner at Ninety Five 5 (Less Nonsense – More Sales).  He has consulted extensively with many Fortune 1000 companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, Accenture, Aon, Mercer, Motorola, HP, Dell, GE and others.

Michael Port

Called “an uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe and a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal, Michael Port is a New York Times Bestselling author of four bestselling books including Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, The Contrarian Effect and The Think Big Manifesto. For free chapters of his books go to BookYourselfSolid.com.

Jim Connolly

Jim Connolly specializes in helping small businesses to make massively more sales and boost their profits, through common sense marketing.  As well as having one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs, he has also contributed to programs on The BBC and ITV in the UK as well as CBS in North America. .

Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is the author of the book, Cold Calling for Women. She has also created numerous self-study programs including Cold Calling College, The Miracle Appointment-Setting Script and Getting Past the Palace Guard.

Michael Schultz

Mike Schultz, author of Rainmaking Conversations, is President of RAIN Group, a sales training, assessment, and performance improvement company, and publisher of RainToday.com. Mike can be reached at mschultz@raingroup.com or on Twitter @Mike_Schultz.

 

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into new accounts and win big contracts. For more insights, download these four free sales tools.

4 I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Jim Connolly

Jim Connolly specializes in helping small businesses to make massively more sales and boost their profits, through common sense marketing. As well as having one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs, he has also contributed to programs on The BBC and ITV in the UK as well as CBS in North America. .

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 1

Many business owners attract sales leads, but feel uncomfortable converting those leads into paying clients. They are not salespeople and find the whole conversion process a little daunting.

If that sounds like you, fear not, (literally.) In this brief post, I’m going to show you a way to successfully convert leads and enjoy the process too.

The reason so many businesspeople hate selling, is that the typical sales process is pressurized. Prospective clients feel pressure because, as we know, people love to buy things but they hate being sold to. Businesspeople who hate selling feel pressurized, because they know they are about to encounter the pressure of “buyer resistance”, which the prospective client uses to protect themselves.

The solution?

To make this process as profitable and enjoyable as possible, simply be yourself – Not a salesperson! You’re an expert on your industry, your company’s services and how they help people, at least you should be. But you’re not a salesperson and that’s exactly what your prospective client needs to hear, so tell them! Let them know that you want to help them make the right decision, using your experience and knowledge.

Very quickly, the pressure evaporates on both sides.

You can now focus on sharing what they need to know, in order to make the right decision. Their buyers resistance dissolves as you earn their trust, by speaking with them, rather than trying to sell them. You then explain how your service provides exactly what they need, handle their objections and let them know you’d welcome the opportunity to look after their requirements.

Over the past 25 years, I have sold many millions of dollars worth of products and services using that approach. It’s a super-effective, low pressure and extremely enjoyable way to do business.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into new accounts and win big contracts. For more insights, download these four free sales tools.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 2

Stop selling then – at least the way you think you’re supposed to. You’re rebelling against the self-serving, schmoozy, product-pushing peddlers image in your mind.

Let me offer you a different perspective. The word “selling” originated from a Swedish word that means “to serve.” As sellers, our job is to serve our customers by providing them with ideas, insights and information to help them do their job better.

So what does that mean you do with a lead? If someone downloaded information from your site, they likely have a business challenge they’re facing that can’t be addressed by their current product, service or solution. Same thing if they attended a webinar, requested a brochure, or even spent time visiting your web pages.

And, you have to realize that they’re crazy-busy. They have way too much to do, impossible deadlines and limited resources. They’re looking for someone (potentially you!) who can be a valuable resource to them.

Rather than getting on the phone to “pitch” your offering or blather about your company, you could call them up to:

  • Learn more about the business issue that triggered their action – and see if you could make a difference. You may or may not be a good fit. After sharing a bit about the business outcomes you’ve helped other customers achieve, see if it makes sense to continue the conversation. Remember, it’s about their business, not your offering.
  • Help them think about how to make the best decision for their organization. If your product/service is complex, most likely your prospects aren’t sure about all the factors they should be considering. They don’t know who to involve, the questions they should be asking, what they should be looking for.

If you can personally provide this type of value to your leads, they’ll want to work with you. And when that happens, you won’t hate selling anymore because it truly is service. You know what you do matters.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Mahan Khalsa

Mahan Khalsa is the founder of the Sales Performance Group of FranklinCovey, the creator of the Helping Clients Succeed sales improvement program taught in over 40 countries and 10 different languages. He is currently a founding partner at Ninety Five 5 (Less Nonsense – More Sales). He has consulted extensively with many Fortune 1000 companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, Accenture, Aon, Mercer, Motorola, HP, Dell, GE and others.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 3

If you hate selling, don’t do it. Forget about it altogether. Put it out of your mind. Just focus on helping people be successful in a way you can both feel good about. When you first talk with “a lead” forget about “converting them”. However vaguely or reluctantly, they have raised their hand and signaled that they may need some help. Can you help?

If there is a good fit between what they want , need, value – and what you do well, then it likely makes sense to keep talking. If there is not a good fit, it makes sense to find out quickly, declare victory, and allow both parties to move on to things that are more productive. Which is the case?

The challenge is that people don’t often start out with clear definitions of success – of what they want, need, or value. They suggest that they may want a product or service such as you provide – a solution if you will. “A solution to what?”, is the question. Solutions are only motivating to the extent they solve some problem(s) that people care about or provide some result(s) they highly desire.

If you want to help someone be successful, first find out how they define success. Diagnose before your prescribe. What are all of the problems or results they would like to address with the requested solution? Are some more important that others? How do those problems show up today and when they do, what are the consequences, both economic and intangible. If they apply a solution, what results do they expect? How will they define or measure success? If they get success, what is the payoff to them?

If the value of success is considerable, what do they feel is a reasonable investment of time people and money to realize that value? Does that fit with what you feel is necessary?

With good understanding of what they truly want to accomplish, let them know at a high level how you and your solutions might help. Together, answer the question, “Should we keep talking?”

If the answer is yes, sketch out a series of steps you could mutually take to conclude whether working together makes sense – or not. Each step should have a clear Go/ No Go decision and ideally be low risk, low investment for each party. And no is OK. If it is a good fit, then together you can do good things, have fun, and make some money. If not, it’s painful for everyone.
So stop selling and start helping people succeed. Stop converting and start conversing about whether working together can produce the results and relationships you both value.

Is that so hard?

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is the author of the book, Cold Calling for Women. She has also created numerous self-study programs including Cold Calling College, The Miracle Appointment-Setting Script and Getting Past the Palace Guard.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 4

I looked up the word “sell” in the dictionary. This is what it said:

“To persuade (another) to recognize the worth or desirability of something.”

This definition assumes value. The concept of value, worth and desirability is inherent in the definition.

Unfortunately, in our culture, the word “sell” no longer simply means to persuade someone of the value of what you are offering. Instead it carries the baggage of distrust, dishonesty and manipulation.

Too many small business owners buy into this stereotype which stops many of them from taking action. It causes them to say, “I hate selling.”

“I hate selling so how do I convert leads?” is the wrong question. The correct questions are:

1. Do you believe in the value of your products/services?
2. Do your products/services provide a benefit to your customers?
3. Are you doing the best you know how to ensure that your customers get what they need?

If you have answered “yes” to the above questions, then you are proceeding with integrity. You are not manipulating, you are not being dishonest or untrustworthy.

If you want to convert leads, look at what you believe about what you are doing. Small business owners need beliefs that support their ability to be successful. The belief that selling is a negative activity is not a belief that supports success.

Let’s reclaim the word “sell.” Let’s redefine it to mean, “to persuade and convince with integrity.” Let’s remember that value is inherent in the definition. Then everyone would understand that as long as they proceed with integrity and as long as they believe in the value of what they are selling, selling is an ethical and moral act. Then more small business owners would no longer “hate selling” and would be able to convert more leads.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here