Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Warming Up For The Stadium Pitch

Writen by Tom Richard

Imagine standing on the field of a stadium packed with 100,000 people. Every one of them is a potential customer, and in front of you a microphone waits. Your task is to deliver your sales pitch to every single person there.

As you reach for the microphone, the murmurs subside. The stadium is silent. The vast field and towering stadium consume you like a hollowed crater. You wonder if your nerves will be heard in the echo of your words.

The audience waits, their eyes intently on you. Instant success waits on the other side of the words you are about to speak. This is your moment. Are you ready?

Chances are you would be more than just nervous if given an opportunity like this today. You would be inadequately prepared.

The reason is two-fold: you do not understand your message well enough, and you have never thought about the best way to deliver that message. Relax, both can be fixed with proper thought and practice. Once you fix these shortfalls, you'll find that developing the perfect stadium pitch is easy.

Start by taking the time to sit down with your message. Grab a cup of coffee and a legal pad and sit in front of your product. Just stare at it and ask yourself why it truly is different than the other options on the market.

Pretend you are trying to explain these differences to your mother. Use real words that are understandable and meaningful to those who don't know the nuts-and-bolts of your product.

The benefits of your product are emotional, not logical features. You provide ease of mind; you increase productivity; you solve existing business problems. Simply put, you offer the solutions that make their day go a bit more smoothly and make them more profitable when the financials are printed at the end of the month.

Translate the uniqueness of your product in simple, yet significant terms that compel your audience with emotion. Write these differences down, get to know them, and get comfortable with them. Once you clearly understand what your product does, you will know how to shape your message. Then (not a moment sooner) you will be in the position to transfer this understanding to your customers.

How do you communicate such a seemingly intangible, emotional message? Using the same stuff from your presentations in a stadium of 100,000 people would probably lose their interest and get you booed off the stage.

Use emotion that will captivate your audience like a good movie or interesting book. Like any performance, your presentation needs to grab attention, entertain, and engage. You must create an experience that will lead to a true understanding of the message you now thoroughly understand.

In true theatrical style, begin with a dynamic story about a real customer of yours. This customer should be someone the audience can identify with, one who was once in a similar situation as your prospect. How does your story unfold? Make it fun. Make it real. How did the customer realize the merits and truth of your message?

The purpose of the story is to have your audience personally identify with its characters, your customers. Create an experience that takes the audience on an entertaining journey. This journey should expertly diffuse common misconceptions about your product and help the audience understand, through the eyes of someone just like them, exactly what you are offering.

A simple, clear message that leaves your audience hanging on your every word is the type of message you should prepare for an audience of 1 to an audience of 100,000. With true understanding, your customers will come to the conclusion on their own that they too should act now to find the help, answers and solutions they have been looking for. Because of your message, they will know exactly where to find it.

Tom Richard conducts seminars on sales and customer service topics nationwide. Tom is also the author of Smart Salespeople Don't Advertise: 10 Ways to Outsmart Your Competition With Guerilla Marketing, and publishes a free weekly ezine on selling skills titled Sales Muscle. To subscribe to this free weekly ezine go to http://www.tomrichard.com/subscribe

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