Connecting to Your High Stakes Audience in 8 Minutes: Emotionally and Intellectually

Are you confident your sales presentations are more compelling than your competition?

Do your sales presentations connect to your audience intellectually AND emotionally?

My friend Joe, a sales manager for the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, called me for help. He was confident in his one-on-one salesmanship, but he’d lined up an eight-minute presentation to a 10-person convention committee considering his property for an association event — and he was nervous. They’d be staying in the hotel for two days, and he’d have a chance to wine and dine them a bit so they’d know him before he spoke. But the possibility of losing a $500,000 sale to a San Diego competitor loomed large in his mind.

“Joe, let me get this straight,” I said. “You have eight minutes to make half a million dollars? That is $1,041.67 a second, even when you pause. Left to your own resources, how had you intended to start your presentation?”

Joe replied, “I am so excited to be showing you our hotel. I hope you have been well looked after. I am confident your association members will love being in San Francisco.”

I couldn’t help myself. “You have just wasted $20,000 worth of time and not said anything!” I said. “Why don’t you try this approach…‘Welcome and thank you for the opportunity to show you our hotel. In the next eight minutes, you will decide the best decision you can make, for your association and your members, is to bring your convention to San Francisco and the Fairmont Hotel.’”

Note that there are seven “you” or “yours” and only one “Fairmont” in the opening statement. That is an emotional connection and a very high “you-to-I” ratio.

You-Focused Language
You-Focused Language = Connection

Next, Joe had to address the competition, without saying anything bad about them. This is where he needed to make an intellectual connection — injecting logic that would make them think. My recommendation was to say, “San Diego is a magnificent destination and you should go there another year. However, your best choice for this year is San Francisco because…” and then list six specific reasons, supported with vivid examples and stories, why the Bay Area was their best choice. (Remember, he was not selling his hotel — that sale was made — but rather the location.)

Joe closed his presentation with emotional content as follows: “Rest assured, the 538 associates of the Fairmont Hotel will be here to serve you. Imagine years from now, when your attendees are sitting around a convention hotel lobby reminiscing about the best conferences they have attended, and they remember their favorite, in San Francisco, at the Fairmont, when you were the planning committee.”

The formula is simple: Logic makes you think…emotion makes you act. Together, they’re an unbeatable combination.

Yes, Joe did make the sale.

Companies hire Patricia Fripp to help them drive sales by perfecting their important conversations and presentations.