How Public Speaking Can be Easy, Fun & Sales Creating
Discover in 15 minutes what took Bill Harris 3,500 speaking events and two wedding toasts to learn, refine, and almost master.
Despite many of the most successful insurance professionals attributing their success to client appreciation events, client seminars, or boardroom presentations, 95% of all insurance professionals will NOT give a group presentation in 2017-2018.
In this NAFA article, you will see what took me 3,500 seminars and web conferences, and two wedding toasts* to learn. Sit back and relax; you are about to discover what few people know: how public speaking can be easy, fun, and sales-creating.
Let’s begin with what I had to learn AFTER I froze in front of an audience in 1981 and after I tried unsuccessfully to back out of a boardroom presentation in 1978.
Proven Strategy #1: Do 3 Simple Things
Sadly, far too many insurance professionals think they need a special presentation to maximize their success at group presentations. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
In order to have speaking success, you only need to do three things. In fact, you also need to do these same three things to have a successful one-on-one point-of-sale presentation.
- Be likable You need some of the attendees to say to their spouse during your presentation. “Isn’t he nice!” or “ I like her, do you?”
- Give them 2-3 unforgettable ideas. You do NOT need a PowerPoint with 40 pages, but you do need Jill to say to Jack as they are driving home, “Wasn’t that interesting when Mr. Harris showed us the life expectancy chart where a couple age 65 had a 45% probability that one spouse would still be alive to age 90?” (and a 18% probability to age 95). OR “Did you see that Social Security chart that showed that in 1945, there were 41.9 workers paying into Social Security for every one Social Security beneficiary but today, there are only 2.8 workers. Guess, we have been relying on Social Security too much.”
- Help them realize that you can help them retire more comfortably. You want them to believe that you can help so they’ll schedule an appointment with you.
With a little exaggeration, you can have speaking success by talking about your favorite NFL team 90% of the time as long as you
- are likable,
- give them 2-3 unforgettable ideas, and
- convince them that YOU can help them
Proven Strategy #2: Public Speaking is Just Like a Phone Conversation
Do NOT try to memorize your presentation but DO prepare talking points. Over the years, my talking points have been gone from being on overhead transparencies, to slides, then on 4-8 TVs depending upon the size of the ballroom, then on a DVD-ROM, then online, and now our talking points are in hard copy personalized booklets for each attendee. Regardless, in every instance, I spoke to the attendees as if it were just a one-on-one conversation, just between them and me.
Proven Strategy #3: Public Speaking Has Little to do With You but Has Everything to do With the Audience
Before every presentation I give, I first reflect on how the audience will benefit. For example, we used to do a lot of client seminars. The night before every client seminar, and the next morning too, I would quickly jot down on a legal pad the 10 plus ways they would benefit such as:
- They will begin thinking about their retirement money regularly
- They will diversify their retirement money among several retirement-saving alternatives
- They will potentially be financially and emotionally independent, etc.
Today, I do live meetings across America, plus web events for insurance professionals. Again, before every live meeting and web event, I again reflect on how the audience will benefit. For example, for insurance professional meetings, I might write down and then internalize what they will learn such as:
- Which types of prospects are most like to say “YES” to them – which might make their next vacation more unforgettable
- How to get referrals – which might change the type of college their children attend
- The Tri-Power of Fixed Index Annuities – which might empower insurance professionals and their clients with financial and emotional independence at retirement
- Why MYGA sales should be 1,000% greater – which might help everyone diversify more effectively
- Proven needs-based sales presentations etc. – which could convert many insurance professionals into Solutionists.
Proven Strategy #4: Treat Attendees Like They Are Guests at Your House
Treat attendees at your client appreciation events, client seminars, or when non-profit organizations book you, to speak as if they are guests at your house.
If you attended one of our live meetings, you have seen me try to shake hands with many of the attendees, try to remember their first name, and call them by name during the meeting. However, I never ask them a question where I expect an answer from them. In other words, I do ask questions but I also give the answer almost immediately after the question. Sometime I will explain how I once unintentionally made one attendee feel dumb by asking a very easy question to answer. It still bothers me today that I made that rookie mistake in 1992!
Proven Strategy #5: Know Your Desired Objective and Ask for it 100% of the Time
At client seminars, the desired objective is an appointment. At client appreciation events (CAE), the desired objective is a) an annual review a week or two after the CAE, and b) to get more info about the guests your clients invited. At boardroom presentations, the desired objective is twofold: Firstly, for the attendees to verbalize what they liked the most about your product or service AND secondly, the one change they would like to make to your product or service; in other words, get the objection surfaced, then isolated, then addressed.
Proven Strategy #6: Do Not Stand Behind the Podium and Please Smile
Do not allow the podium to create a barrier between you and the audience. Walk around the room. Be engaging. Talk about things that truly ignite your passion. Smile but only when you feel like smiling. There is nothing worse than a phony smile so use questions, phrases, or words during the event, maybe 2-5 times, that always get you to smile.
Proven Strategy #7: Anticipate in Advance the 3 Types of Killer Questions
In other words, be ready for that potentially killer question during the 5 minute Q & A period at the very end. Killer questions can be one when a) you do NOT know the answer, b) when the question deserves a long answer, or c) when the question is a negative question or statement. Effective today, YOU will be able to handle any question! For example:
- Question when you do NOT know the answer: “I do not know that answer but my CPA (or the President of the insurance company) will know that answer. I will call them tomorrow morning, get the answer, and call you with the answer tomorrow afternoon. OK?” Or you can say, “Rather than give you a partial answer, allow me to research it further. May I call you tomorrow afternoon?”
- Question that deserves a long answer: For this one you want to have a sincere smile and say, “So this seminar does not last an extra hour, may I call you tomorrow with a long detailed answer?”
- Question or statement is negative: “Sorry that you had that experience but you will NOT have that experience with me.” Or, “Sorry that you feel that way, but that is what I love best about America. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Next question!”
Proven Strategy #8: Do Not Talk Politics
Do NOT talk politics at seminars, at the point of sale, or on social media UNLESS you want to reduce your clientele or prospects by as much as 50%! For example, when you discuss Trump or Clinton, 50% of the audience says, “Of course, everyone knows that!” The other 50% thinks that you are wrong or possibly crazy. In other words, you can’t win unless you stop talking politics.
Proven Strategy #9: Never Turn Your Back to an Audience
We have seen far too many speakers turn their back to the audience and read what is on the screen behind them. If you have to read something special, print it out instead. Please do NOT dis-engage with the audience by turning your back to them.
*In the opening paragraphs, we mentioned the speaking experiences of 3,500 events and two wedding toasts. While I am very proud that I have paid the total cost of one wedding and the entertainment and honeymoon expenses of another wedding, I am very hopeful that by forcing references of two weddings toasts into this business article will allow us to make both weddings TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. (At live meetings, it is a guarantee laugh, but speaking and writing are two different flavors of ice cream. This is meant to be read as a joke.)
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