You’ve made the cut! Your proposal was selected, and now you’re on the short list to present in person. You get the call on Thursday; they want you and your team at their place next Tuesday for a 45-minute presentation.
NOW what do you do? Two business days to prepare! If you’re like most midsize companies (without a dedicated capture team), it’s a scramble. Make your travel plans, assign somebody to work up a Power Point deck (cut-and-paste from the last one), send it around by email for review, have a phone call or two, and hope that everybody gets there on time, the buyers show up, and the projector works! This process is especially true if you are a distributed team, working in different locations in different parts of the country or the world.
What a recipe for failure. Have you ever been the first choice on paper only to lose your advantage in the presentation? Even ONCE is too often for that to happen.
That’s why it is critically important to rehearse—I mean, really rehearse. Like actors stage rehearsals in front of an audience, or speakers rehearse out loud, or debaters practice at their podiums.
In my next 10 posts, I’m going to explore ten reasons why you should rehearse. And I’ll give you ideas on how to do it productively. Here’s a quick look at my reasons:
10 Reasons to Rehearse (and how to do it)
- Own the meeting. I know it’s at their place, but there are many graceful ways for you to be in charge.
- Ditch the slides. Ouch! Do you dare? Biggest single improvement you can make. At least, learn to use slides differently.
- Forget nothing. It’s true! Even without endless bullet points full of words, I can help you remember all of the important points you need to make.
- Prepare for tough questions. What will they ask that you hope they won’t? Get those questions out ahead of time and rehearse your answers.
- Bite your tongue. Somebody may really get your goat. Or target the most nervous person on your team. How can you be sure everyone keeps their cool?
- Display confidence. Maybe you’ll still be nervous, but you will appear confident if you’ve had a real rehearsal.
- Get feedback. What good is practice without an audience? It’s like your golf swing—continued practice without an instructor will just make your slice more predictable!
- Eliminate fears. Big company buyers are afraid of you. Nothing reduces their fear like a polished, professional presentation from a well-rehearsed, trustworthy team.
- Become a team. Understand perfectly who is orchestrating your team’s presentation, who will present what, how you will handle questions, when to be still.
- Nail It! With the proper rehearsal, you can blow your competition away. If you’ve ever come in second, now is the time to improve your rehearsal process to come in first, consistently.
Of course it’s scary to get feedback, but how much better to get it from friends and colleagues than directly from disappointed or confused prospective customers? I hope you’ll check in for this blog series about how to land more big sales with better preparation, including rehearsals.
As a special feature of my blog series on rehearsing your presentations, I’m holding a free webinar with Darik Volpa, CEO of understand.com, who provides a video role play training platform called Rehearsal. My friend Alice Heiman introduced me to this exciting new service, and I’ve been using it in sales training simulations for the past few weeks. Here’s a way to make role play training cheaper, easier, and better! No awkward training sessions where you fly everyone in and then put people on the spot. Instead, everyone can rehearse scenarios from their own desk or home office, in complete privacy, until they’re ready to submit a response for feedback from a coach.
This FREE webinar is on Thursday, May 29, 8 am Pacific time, 11 am Eastern. It’s not a marketing excursion—just a pure demo of capabilities and uses from the founder.
Please note: The Whale Hunters, Inc., has become a licensed reseller of the Rehearsal platform. I trust you know us well enough by now to understand that we do these things VERY sparingly, and only with services that we personally love and use. This is a great tool for whale hunters!