The power of impressions.

Imagine you have only five minutes to make a positive impression, in front of 200 people! How would you do that? What would you say? How would you prepare?

Recently, I had the good fortune to attend the Women in Retirement Conference, held in New Orleans several weeks ago. (Queue the beignets!)

This was my first WiRC event. It was phenomenal! The attendees were leading female advisors and TPA business owners from across the U.S. They were focused, passionate, warm and welcoming to a new-comer like myself.

As part of the agenda, the sponsors were asked to craft a five-minute session to offer up their “Big Idea.” These presentations were timed with five sponsors on deck at a time.

When the speaker from Capital Group | American Funds stepped onto the stage, she was an ultimate professional. And as a speaker, this occurred to me: I have never seen anything less from any member of the American Funds team. From five to fifty minutes, five to five hundred audience members, they are consistently prepared, articulate and ready to rock. In a nutshell, they understand the power of impression. And, they honor that opportunity.

When I mentioned this to the presenter, she shared she had practiced the evening and morning before. For a FIVE-MINUTE presentation. She practiced. There was no winging it.

Makes me wonder what their multiple is? A five-minute presentation requires how many hours of practice? The impression left no doubt that she was a professional who respected the stage – and the audience – enough to practice, and then practice again.

Every opportunity for a first impression is powerful. From your presence, to your handshake, to your business card and beyond; all are an opportunity to be on stage. Are you going to wing it or prepare?

Happy 2020! Time to quit marketing

Confession. You don’t have to quit marketing completely, but it’s highly likely sales are crucial to your organization. So instead of thinking marketing, think sales enablement.

Sales enablement is the process of equipping your sales team with the strategic resources they need to excel, from tools to technology to content and beyond.

Sales is about making the deal, marketing’s job is to help make that effort happen. Marketing sweeps the path for sales.

How might a sales enablement plan shift your thinking about your 2020 outreach?

As an example, everyone knows follow-up is the name of the game with 80% of sales requiring five calls after the meeting, yet 44% of sales reps give up after one additional follow-up. What materials and information are you creating to assist in the sales follow-up? (No one wants a call that continues to say buy, buy, buy.)

Since your outreach is thin on the budget, why are you wasting your cherished resources on something you know does nothing to close the sale – a pretty brochure? Yes, your sales folks may say they need a brochure, perhaps they really need a one-page sell sheet and a simple and informative white paper instead (to help with follow up). Even better, this information can be repurposed into an educational presentation, website lead magnet, contributed content to an industry newsletter and more.

If cold calling is mostly dead, warm calling is where it’s at. In fact, 89% of top performing sales people say online networking platforms are growing in importance as a way to warm up calls and enable sales. This means your social selling efforts must be intentional and focused. Map out ways to stay top of mind.

Finally, this article is packed with statistics and ideas on selling smarter in 2020 – such as on average, sales people made far more calls in the last month of the quarter than the first two. Idea: Front load your outreach efforts to land in the first two months of the quarter, and possibly find space above the noise.

Cheers to the New Year and your sales enablement success.