Friday, July 23, 2010

Public Speaking: Getting The Sale

Humor can help you get the sales presentation in the first place. It will also help
you stay upbeat in the face of rejection, overcome inevitable problems that arise
during a presentation, break down sales resistance, and create loyal customers
who will buy again. Let me tell you how humor has greatly helped me.

One of the ways professional speakers gain business is to do no fee demo
talks in front of potential buyers. I was doing one of these talks for an
advertising association in Washington, D.C. After the presentation, a lady came
up to me and invited me to call her. She said my information would be perfect
for the employees at her government agency. I called three times that week and
did not get a return call. I called three times the next week and did not get a
return call. I called three times the next week and the week after that. Finally, I
got sick of calling so I sent her a funny fax.

She called back within the hour. I went down and got a $3000 contract and
another one the following month for $2000. She said my fax really made her
laugh in the midst of the constant pressure she was under and that's why she

Was my success in this case only because of the humor? No. It was a
combination of humor and persistence.

You might be wondering how I could call someone 12 times in a month and
not be considered a pest. In the first place, she specifically invited me to call. To
me that means I'm going to call her the rest of her life until she tells me to quit.
In the second place, I knew she was a fun person because I saw her really
enjoying the program where she met me. In the third place, I was lighthearted
and fun on each phone call. I used mild exaggeration humor by saying things
like, I know you've got a six-foot stack of paperwork on your desk or I'll bet
people are pitching tents in the line outside your office door.

I do all sorts of things to help land the sales call. I sing on a prospect's voicemail, I send funny post cards, E-mail, gag gifts, and foods like candy, popcorn, doughnuts, and bagels. I always send humorous notes. I want my name to pop up when they need a speaker, seminar leader, or consultant. Constant, interesting, and fun reminders will help you get the call when they have a need.

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