Presentation Skills: Preparing the Field

Two often when a group presentation is made to prospects, the solution is delivered too early. It is like a farmer planting a field that hasn't yet been prepared. A presentation should identify the fear the client has and the problems the client faces. You should lay the groundwork by plowing up the ground, then tilling to chop up the dirt so that later when the solution is cast on to the ground, as seeds out into a field, they are cast to a ground that is ready to receive the seeds.

If you try to present your solution in your initial presentation, you waste it, like trying to seed unprepared ground. There is no trust. There is no understanding of the need or problem they have to solve. There is no understanding of the fear that leads to their discomfort.

First, understand and establish the purpose of your presentation: education, information, or new clients. make sure that this purpose is present throughout your presentation. Too often advisors conduct group presentations with the intention of creating new clients, but are caught up in the information delivery and then wonder why few scheduled any follow-up meetings. The "purpose was lost in the presentation." Know your purpose and stay on topic.

Second, focus on the problem and the need: the volatility that exists in the market place, the future return of another 2008, the myths of the marketplace, the fact that most solutions will not work again, and most of all the audience's need to become and remain retireable.

Third, once the need is established, a Relationship Conversation is needed to identify their future and better understand their desires. Are their dreams important enough to them to be the destination they want to go after. If they are, then we need to build a bridge to get to that dream to get you from where they are to where they want to go. That is going to require an action plan. To build the action plan we need an analysis to build a road map from where they are today to where they want to be in the future.

Fourth, confirmation of their trust by others. While you are preparing the analysis, the prospect talks with two advocates to answer questions concerning what it is like to work with you. Third party confirmation is a necessary step.

Now the field is prepared to receive the seed of your solution. Here is where you present your solution: after trust is established, their problem is clarified, their goals are identified, and their trust is confirmed by others.

What you've done in your initial presentation is laid the foundation for the need for them to come in for that analysis. So before you can give a solution you must understand them at a deeper level and be able to connect the solution to their real situation. Too often, people deliver the solution up front when the ground is too hard and unplowed and untilled, and the seed dries up and dies.

Now when they come in for the third time, once at the seminar, once for the conversation, and now for the presentation of your solution, the soil is prepared to receive the seed of your solution.

Remember: Know you purpose and prepare your prospect, before you present your solution.