SOAPBOX: I slept with more than a thousand

SOAPBOX: I slept with more than a thousand

Please believe me when I tell you that I am not a promiscuous person, but last night, I slept with more than a thousand other people at one of Sydney’s finest five star hotels. For the devious amongst you, let me assure you that it’s not what you think.

The event was put on by a major computer company hoping to inspire its resellers to go berserk in selling its new product range.

For over two hours, these guys managed to bore their audience into a stupor. The event provided many with probably the best two hours of sleep they had had in quite some time.

But the real people that were asleep were members of the product company itself. They appeared to have no clue as to what the real problems and concerns of their clients were, nor did they have the common sense to investigate how their new product range could provide their clients positive relief.

Typically speaking, many in the audience have reseller businesses that suffer from considerable financial pressure. The industry is characterised with having extremely price-sensitive consumers. Products are sold at horrendously low sales margins of 4 to 8 per cent. Even the larger sized resellers are finding things tough in being able to handle the high levels of competition coming from the big chains.

Instead, speaker after speaker bragged about how their product line was number one in market share, and that they’re the biggest in more than 300 countries around the world. Blah, blah, blah.

There were endless monologues concerning product features, but barely anything was said about how their products could make the members of the audience more financially successful.

One boorish oaf even had the arrogance to say, “If you help us [stay no.1] we will help you”. Excuse me? Is this guy for real? There is something seriously wrong with announcing to your audience such a selfish and self-centred mentality.

Imagine if your local butcher sent out a letter to all of his clients telling them that he wished to buy a new home costing $3 million and that if his clients helped him do that, he would ensure they would receive quality meat. It would be enough to make many of his customer’s turn vegetarian out of protest.

Here are some tips for any of you wanting to hold a successful seminar or product launch.

* Think back to the best three and the worst three presentations you have attended. Prepare lists of all of the things that made those presentations either successful or crashing disasters. These lists will provide you with excellent guides as to how to make your next seminar event a success.

* Clearly define what the objectives of the presentation are meant to be. It is critical that at least one of the prime objectives should be to provide real benefits to your audience.

* Don’t plan to talk much about yourself or your achievements. People don’t care. So you’ve won the “Golden Micro-chip of the Year” three years in a row. So what? Knowing this doesn’t help me pay off my overdraft.

* Focus on how your products and services can help make your clients more successful and/or how they can help fix their problems.

* Practice, practice, practice. If your audience have their arms tightly crossed and their bodies leaning back in almost a horizontal position, you have lost them!!! Shame on you!

* People are giving up their valuable time to hear what it is that you have to say. For God sake, feed them. It is the least that you can do. There is only one thing worse than being bored and that is being hungry and bored. PS: For you tightwads out there, coffee and tea are not “food”.

In closing, let me say that I now have decided to take rotting vegetables with me to all future presentations. I have a tomato and I’m not afraid to use it!

Patrick Lumbroso is a business development expert and corporate presenter for business development service provider Patcorp Power Business Systems.

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