Eliminating the Pain of Proposals, Presentations and Price-Setting

In my earlier days as an Executive Coach, I used to write proposals for potential clients who wanted me to come in and deliver leadership training to their managers.

When you’re looking at how to sell services, proposal writing can be a very tedious process and can also be a huge waste of time if the client chooses not to move forward. Then there’s the whole price-setting thing where we often try to customize the pricing and this adds to the tedium of it all. Sometimes we get as far as making a presentation to the decision-makers only to be put on hold while they take months to decide if they’re actually going to buy.

Here’s are 3 key tips on how to speed up the process and cut-out the tedium and time-wasting aspect of writing proposals, doing presentations and price-setting in these situations.

A must-have BEFORE you write anything

The biggest mistake I see in writing proposals and presentations to a prospect is the business owner has no clue what the prospect’s decision-making process is. So before you write a single word in a proposal or presentation, ask one very key question to your prospect: If we do a proposal and you agree that this is exactly what you were looking for, what would happen next?

You would typically find out things like:

* whether they’re even ready to make a decision right now (and if they’re not, why bother spending time on a proposal OR you realize this is not a rush)

* who is truly the decision maker in which case you’d want that person involved from the start or find out what the key decision makers would need to know to make a decision.

* how long it may take to reach a decision – so you’re not caught off guard.

Another key question, by the way is along the lines of a needs-assessment. Before drafting any proposal, you’d want to be sure you truly have a deep understanding of the true needs of your prospect. You’d want to build that into a powerful proposal or presentation.

Setting Your Pricing

It may seem really considerate to customize your services to each client, but my guess is if you take a look at all the work you’ve delivered to this point, there’s not a whole lot that’s different. So rather than customizing to each client, sit down and evaluate the history of what you’ve delivered so far. I’m willing to bet you’ll discover a trend in the types of services you provide.

So based on the trend you see in your history of client work, try presenting, say, only 3 choices. A low end offering (your lowest price), a middle level offering and a high end offering (your highest priced offering). And when you present your offer, present it with confidence. Share that your packages are based on what they’ve shared as their key problems and needs.

For example, when I did Executive Coaching, I had 3 options: workshop only, workshop plus group coaching, and workshop plus private individual coaching for a certain number of managers. That was the trend I saw when I reviewed the “customization requests” I was receiving.

Proposals/Presentations based on set packages

As mentioned above, 3 levels of offers are typically fine. You could have more (say 5 or so) depending on the type of services you provide. The beauty of having set pricing and packages is you can also have set proposals and just do very minor tweaking to the specific problems identified by your client.

This would save you a whole lot of time on the proposal-writing part. But remember, avoid jumping into the proposal-writing phase without first understanding the needs of your prospect and also the decision-making process.

Why You Need a Portable Banner for Your Presentations

Portable banners are a great addition for those people that need to give presentations often. See the reasons why you need one for your job.

Do you often have to give presentations to people? Are you a client facing sales executive? A university recruitment officer? A charitable association? If you’re often giving presentations, then you might like to consider a portable banner for use during your talks. They can be used effectively to drive home your message, highlight your brand, or provide extra information to your audience.

What are the benefits of using a portable banner for your presentations? Check them out below.

1. They are easily transportable

Unlike cumbersome traditional style paper banners, portable banners are just that – highly portable! They only weigh a few kilos and each comes with its very own carry case that makes carrying it from the office to the car and the car to the presentation space extremely easy to do by yourself. It easily fits in the boot of your car and takes up just a limited amount of space.

2. They grab attention

Even before your presentation, if your banner is set up, it will draw the audience’s focus to your branding. Make sure that you set up your portable banner well in advance of your presentation for maximum effect. When people start trickling into the presentation area, their eyes will be drawn to your banner, and it will set the scene for what’s to come.

3. They show that you are professional

Professional people are always well prepared. For presentations, this means thoroughly knowing your content, having props to keep your audience interested – like slideshows, handouts, banners, etc., anticipating audience questions before your presentation, dressing the part, researching your audience demographic, etc. The more professional that you come across, the more likely people are to believe in what you are saying.

4. They’re easily switchable from presentation to presentation

Do you often give presentations on different topics? With a portable banner you can easily switch out the banner sleeve to put in new content. This means that you can easily travel everywhere and give presentations on multiple topics all without having to purchase a whole new banner stand each time.

5. They provide a lasting impression

During your presentation, your audience may not have a whole lot to look at besides you! Having a banner beside you will draw the eye at multiple times throughout the presentation. If you include either a website, or some important details on the banner, then your audience are likely to remember them, simply due to the amount of time that they have spent looking at the banner throughout your presentation.

Equine Christmas Presents

Whether you call yourself a horse lover, an equine person, or some one who is enthralled with the equine world, whoever shops for you for Christmas, is bound to have an easy time.

Those who are shopping for equine gifts, or horse gifts for Christmas don’t have to go very far. Your Internet is your best bet to find unique, creative, and as well as useful gift for the horse lover. You’ll find that if you punch in certain search terms such as equine gifts, horse gifts, or even horse and rider tack and equipment you’re going to find a variety of different sites to choose from.

Handcrafted Christmas presents are always a joy, and if it’s someone in the horse world, you’re going to find a wide variety of useful and creative gifts available. You’ll find equine and horse related handcrafted items for the home, the barn, and even the yard. Whether it’s a horseshoe hat rack, or furniture cover made out of Western-style material, handmade salt and pepper shakers, napkin holders, or even fireplace tools made out of horse shoes, handcrafted western items are beautiful and easy to find if you use your Internet connection.

Of course, it’s also easy to find horse related gifts for your equine friends. Whether it’s a fancy saddle, high tech horse pads, or an automated watering system, your horse can enjoy a variety of different items and all can be found on the Internet. Believe it or not, you can find fencing, stall doors, horse watering and feeding equipment, as well as a variety of different supplements and horse snacks.

You’ll also find a variety of different horse snacks that are hand made. Some of these snacks are going to be totally organic, include vitamins and minerals, but you can bet that they’re all going to be tasty for your horse. Look for those handmade horse treats that include a variety of different natural substances. Natural horse treats are a great way to add vitamins and nutrients your horses die at in a tasty treat. Make sure you read all the directions and don’t overfeed horse treats at anytime of the year, but especially those with supplements.

You’ll be amazed at the availability of equine equipment, horse tack, riding apparel, as well as home, yard and garden horse decor all on the Internet. Enter in a few simple search terms and you’re going to be overwhelmed with the variety of horse sites available for gifting those of the equine persuasion. Believe it or not, you’re going to need to limit your search terms by either using terms such as stable, home decor, or other simplistic terms to limit your search.

Searching for horse gifts, equine gifts, horse riding apparel, or even apparel for the horse themselves doesn’t have to be difficult if you use your Internet connection.

Only the Present Equals the Future

Before I begin, these are more than pretty words, this is the reality of the situation. Indeed, to win we must be so conscious of the present and disregard all negative past psychological factors in a deep way. If the past were a barometer for the cold hard cash of now and the promissory note of the future, then we would either always never make mistakes or always make mistakes. Sure, only the actions of now can equal the future. Logically, the past only has a psychological effect, not an actual effect on the present. How we use our knowledge is most important. For example, when in the now, the most profitable actions come from the same place known as the now when the concentration and consciousness is high. What matters more than positive and good objective overall profit and genuine winning? Nothing. What do I mean by positive and good objective overall profit and genuine winning? Well, I mean happiness, satisfaction and honest winning all around. I did not say “perfect” or “uniform,” please note that. I mean according to each individual and their reality measure is it an ideal of any sort.

“Within the cause is the cure” is an old saying, but, as basic as the premise of this article is, that is the reality of the situation. Look at the cause instead of the effect and you may get somewhere with it. Do not dig deep, dig genuinely deep. The farce is that the effect is everything, and the cause is just the cause. No. Within the cause is the cure.

So, possession is only effect, use creates causes unlike what we are taught usually by self help books. Anyone can have a book or article, but when you read it and apply it, that is when the idea genuinely has power. To my way of thinking, everything is turning right side up in this article. Right down to it, reality is more than foolish waiting for an effect, it is being at cause that is the ideal. At times, I am guilty as everyone else of being affected by the past in a negative psychological way, but the only difference is that I catch myself before becoming an effect rather than a cause of the good that I want or I kill it where it starts as my own cause and effect in the right order ultimately. When it is positive, I can honestly say let it happen, but when it is negative, I say kill it before it grows. That is my point in this article. Only the present equals the future in an objectively logical way. So, sure, I am filling this article with some pretty sounding phrases for those who do not take what I am saying about reality to heart, but, this is indeed more than just pretty phrases and feel good “nothing” words. This is the way it all works. Live in the now and you have your power.

Seminar Presentation Skills: Tips for Making a Great Impact With Impromptu Speeches

You may, at one point, find yourself in the position of having to say a few impromptu words at your next meeting or seminar. An impromptu speech doesn’t have the benefit of being prepared, and in any case it shouldn’t sound as if it is prepared. However, you want to take advantage of your ever-growing seminar presentation skills, and further improve your public speaking skills. Our best public speaking coaching graduates use these two generic outlines to help them make an impact at meetings of all kinds.

Reporting on a Project:

Listeners and group leaders are looking for two things here: a progress report (even if there was no progress), and your reaction to it. You, as the presenter, want to be seen as an expert with something to say and the skill to say it well. So, try this short and simple approach to serve both needs.

Basic Outline:

1. Thank the chairperson for the request to speak on this exciting/important project/process/situation. Set a positive mood, and name the project in case the audience missed it.

2. Indicate that you are on top of the situation (“I just checked with the people on the ground/in the lab/team leaders, etc.”). While it may appear self-serving, the audience will be more attentive if listeners think you have the expertise and up-to-date knowledge.

3. Make a general comment about progress (“Things are going slowly/as projected/are ahead of schedule”). Then, give one or two quick details to back up your assertion. Note: As a rule, you should never say things are going “badly” unless you want input from the group, or want them to recommend cancellation. The group may only want an overall idea of what is happening. A few need specifics, so give some details to boost your credibility.

4. Conclude with an action-oriented comment: “I will bring you a further update next meeting,” “We appreciate your continued support for this project,” “Let us know if you have any further input,” “This project is ready. We challenge other team leaders to match our… ” etc. Your conclusion lets listeners know you are finished. It also gives you the opportunity to further any agenda you might have.

Commenting on an Issue:

This one requires only a little more homework because the audience will expect you, as the expert, to bring them not only a wider perspective of the issue, but also any up-to-date public or in-house reaction to it. The trap here is the time it takes to cover an issue with any depth. Hopefully, our suggestions for your format will help you make your point in a very short time.

Basic outline:

1. Thank the chairperson for asking you to speak on the critical/important issue of (name it). Set a positive mood, and name the project in case the audience missed it.

2. In half a sentence, say why the issue affects the group. You are basically telling them why they should listen. This means you will need to know why. Do it in half a sentence because time is very tight.

3. Indicate that you monitor the issue regularly by reading/on-site inspections/data collection, etc., and this is what you have learned. This reminds the audience that you have credibility, plus new information.

4. Give one or two sentences on how the issue impacts the overall community and especially the listening group. This is the meat of your message. Use your grammar skills to pack it into two sentences.

5. Indicate, with some documented backup, the trend you see evolving. This is where you show your expertise.

6. Conclude with a request to keep monitoring the situation, a request for input or assistance, or a promise to keep the group updated. Your conclusion lets listeners know you have finished. It also gives you the opportunity to further any agenda you might have.

While the details of your content will vary widely, for maximum impact in minimum time, stick strictly to the outline. If audience members have questions or comments, ask them to meet you later and discuss them. Next time you find yourself at a meeting or seminar, try these outlines to improve your seminar presentation skills. You will maintain your reputation as an expert in your field and as an expert presenter.

Investment Made Easy – Present Value Annuity Calculator

Dealing with numbers and making a sense of it can be a grueling task. Not to mention unnecessary since you already have a lot on your plate. With the ton of concerns that you need to deal with everyday, a headache computation is the last thing you need. The good news is you don’t have to tear yourself apart, just deal with placing your money on the right investment.

The present value annuity calculator is an online tool that helps you assess an investment by laying it on a series of payments that will be paid over a period of time. In addition, it calculates using today’s present dollar value so it will be easier for you to assess a particular investment’s worth. It can compute the numbers to determine the current worth, the expected value and the future worth of a financial investment.

Step 1: The first thing you need to do is to key in the numbers for the following items:

1. Annual payment or the dollar amount that is to be paid on a yearly basis
2. Annual interest rate or the percentage obtained from the annual payment, what is expected to be collected from the investment
3. Payment period or the number of years when the annuity is expected to be collected

Step 2: Go to the present value annuity calculator, a link is usually available to click on.

Step 3: Decide. Given the numbers, the present worth and an investments expected future worth, you are then equipped with the knowledge to decide where to put your money on.

How to Do a Sales Presentation

There are many aspects to a sales persons job. Product knowledge, being able to greet effectively, sales floor positioning, closing techniques. The list is far more extensive and detailed than it first appears.

The core of your job is to be able to perform a sales presentation. Not only must you be able, if you wish success, you must be excellent.

Here is a quick guide to performing a sales presentation.

1) Form a trust with your customer.

Be friendly, polite, and of course knowledgeable, for your customer. This will build trust, and trust is key to making a sale.

If you come across as a pushy sales person you are unlikely to sell your product. If you come across as friendly, honest, and willing to help with a purchase rather than push a sale, you stand a far greater chance of selling your product.

2) Back all features with benefits.

For every feature you mention about a product, you must back it with at least one benefit. The more features you can display on a product and the more benefits you can back those features with, the greater the desire to purchase you will create in the customer.

Do not just describe features, display them as best you can.

3) Ensure your customer handles the product as much as possible.

Handling a product creates “ownership” for the customer. It makes the product tangible. Let them experiment with the features as you reinforce them with benefits.

4) Address any concerns or questions.

This is where product knowledge and trust meet.

If your customer has any questions or concerns, be willing and able to answer them. Questions and concerns are the turning point in a sale. Either you address them effectively or the customer will leave empty handed in most cases.

5) Do not be afraid to ask for the sale.

Do not be afraid to ask if the customer is ready to buy when the time is right in the presentation. As much as you can not describe the product enough, you can also describe the product too much. Look for buying signs and seize the moment.

To learn more about how to perform sales presentations, please read my page on how to make sales

Improving the Quality of Your Presentation

To develop trust and rapport with prospects the salesman needs to become one with their prospect. This salesman can do this by:

1. Develop a contact management system where you write down everything that interest them each time you speak to them.

2. Ask the right questions because this helps the salesman find the potential clients sweet spot and also steers the conversation in the direction the salesman wants it to go.

3. Use stories to emphasize the benefits.

4. Sharing stories on how someone else benefited from the product helps the prospect understand how the salesman is like them with similar needs.

Stories are really powerful because they help move the sales presentation along and also helps the salesman develop rapport with a prospect. Rapport reduces resistance because it helps reduce how the prospect views the salesman.

In sales you are either delivering a presentation or your preparing for a presentation. The best way to develop rapport with a prospect to ask them questions about themselves, since it helps the salesman learn the customers needs and wants. When the salesman understands what the customers needs are then they are able to customize the sales presentation for the customer.

Here are some questions for the salesman to ask:

The scenario is the individual or potential customer is looking to replace their car. What’s the most important feature about the car that is important to you that will help you made a decision now?

What did you like about your last car that you would want to have in your new car?

Is this your personal car or will it be a family car?

Remember, people repeat behaviors and patterns when they are purchasing for themselves or someone else. A salesman wants to know how the individual made their buying decisions in the past because this is their fingerprint and how they will be making decisions on products in the future.

People buy benefits, therefore, make sure the benefits are both tangible and intangible. It tangible benefit is something they can touch and feel while and intangible benefit is something they have to visualize in their mind. Therefore, when telling a story this salesman can create a picture in the mind of the customer of how they can benefit from the product.

Finally, when putting a sales presentation together you should always be selling to the next step until you reach the close. Often objections customers have are just a stalling tactic because they don’t want to make a decision. Therefore, it is up to the salesman to acknowledge the customers fears and help them make a decision.

Creative Christmas Presents for Boyfriends

You got the usual tie, boxer shorts, cuff links as Christmas presents for your boyfriend last year but this time you are looking for something really creative to wow him. Most important on the list is your time and attention, now that we have that bit taken care of, lets now look at other creative presents you can give him this Christmas.

Gift Baskets – Yes, you are probably saying this is common stuff that everybody gets for Christmas. No, its not, especially not when you are going to be throwing in stuff that he likes into the basket. Lets look at a boyfriend who loves to watch football games on the couch all day – OK we know they are not all football fans, there is baseball, basketball, horse racing, golf, did I miss out any other sport? Yes, snooker, darts and so much more. Get a memorabilia of their favorite sport or game in the gift baskets,add video game dvds if they love interactive games, there are also really nice sports documentary dvds(which I will get to show you later) you can add to the gift basket as well to make it really special. That alone says, I thought of you specifically when I picked out these items and I am kind of interested in your hobbies(Well, maybe not, that is going a bit too far with being interested)

Now, If your boyfriend is not into sports, say he loves to party out and have a drink with the guys, bring the Christmas party home in his gift basket. The beer lovers can get their favorite brands or exquisite brands, an assortment of ales and snacks placed beautifully into a gift basket. A little indulgence this Christmas will put a smile on his face and give you that well deserved hug for your creative genius.

Chef Boyfriends – For all the boyfriends who like to compete with you in the kitchen and even think they do a better job at cooking than you, get him a Bar-be-que grill tool set to keep him busy with grilling the turkey while you invite your friends over and relax.

Ever heard of a winter kit? Much like a gift basket only this time you and your boyfriend are taking time out to have some fun together. Things to include in his winter kit – some really nice movies, hot chocolate, popcorn to go with the movies, scented candles, don’t forget a cosy blanket if you decide to spend the time outdoors.

Other creative ideas can include a flashlight, or a Swiss knife. A wrist exerciser for those who like to stay in shape, a remote control for those who love their gadgets, a digital camera, spy toys, a radio with clock or even a sports gear.

What to Do About Presentation Nerves – How to Cool Down, Chill Out and Take Control

If you suffer from nerves before you present, you are not alone. Most performers experience nerves before they take the stage. They call it stage fright–but it doesn’t stop them from standing in the spotlight. Pavarotti used to throw up before every performance. Comedians often admit to being practically tongue-tied while waiting for their time in front of the audience. Actors are no different.

That nervous feeling is simply your body’s reaction to an adrenaline rush. You may feel your heart race, your palms sweat, and your mouth dry up. You may experience anything from mild jitters to what feels like a near meltdown. And there is nothing you can do to stop the secretion of adrenaline–it is a stress-induced, involuntary, physiological reality. What you can do, is to accept it, control your response to it, and use it to enhance your performance. Because when you do, you harness the energy and focus it outward in an energetic delivery.

Keep in mind that your audience sees what you allow them to see. They perceive what you project. So even if you feel nervous, try to convey confidence in your body and in your voice–and the audience will see a poised speaker. Still, wouldn’t it be great to eliminate your anxiety so you can enjoy the whole experience?

Here are 5 techniques for controlling your nerves. Try them all and choose the one that feels right for you. Then practice it often–at least twice a day. Practice is essential because you are training your body to react to the adrenaline rush in a new and different way–a way that works for you, not against you. Practice until you are good at it–and feel the control it gives you. Practice until the relaxation response you want is automatic.

1. Deep breathing

Either lie down or sit comfortably on a hard chair. Place your hands on your ribcage at the sides. Breathe in deeply with your mouth closed to the count of 10. Then press you hands against your ribs to help empty your lungs as you exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of 20. As you exhale, think “relax”. Repeat this 3 times. Relax. Wait a minute and do it once more.

This is an exercise that requires frequent practice to have it induce a relaxation-control response.

2. Muscle contract-relax

Lieing or sitting, assume a comfortable position. Begin at your toes and curl them tightly–as hard as you can. Hold for a count of 3 and relax. Move up to your calves. Tighten and relax. Continue upwards, one muscle group at a time, contracting each group as hard as possible. When you have finished with your jaw, contract your entire body for a 3 count. Relax. Finish the exercise by clenching your fists for a 3 count.

When you are practiced at this exercise, you’ll find you can use only the clenched fists to initiate a relaxation response.

3. Visualization

It’s the old mind over matter routine–but you must make it a routine to have it work for you. Stand tall, close your eyes, and visualize yourself presenting to an audience and looking strong and confident. See yourself looking out at them and feeling in control. See the faces watching you with interest. Imagine them listening and thinking you are wonderful. Picture how intelligent you sound and how magnetic your audience finds you. See your success.

Now, do that again and again and again–until you really feel it. Do it every day. Get good at it. Feel the lightness in your body and your confidence grow every time you practice. Get better and better at establishing a feeling of control.

Call on your visualization before you present.

4. Music

Everyone has a particular piece of music–whether it is a song or symphony–that puts them into an indescribably heavenly state. Begin to listen to that music as part of your “pre-presentation routine.” As you listen to your music, repeat the mantra: I hear the music and I am relaxed. 

Practice often so you can listen to your music–and count on a relaxation response–before taking the stage.

5. A relaxation tool

Find something, almost anything will do–a special pen or a colored sheet of paper–and anoint it your relaxation tool. Pick it up and tell yourself: This is my relaxation tool. When I hold it, I am relaxed. When I look at it, I am in control. This tool is magical. With this tool, I can do anything.

Now, practice–until it works.

Everyone experiences some degree of anxiety before standing in front of an audience. (If they don’t, they generally produce a lacklustre performance.)  But when you know how to use “nerves” to improve your delivery, you can relax. Pick a technique and get control. Then go out there and knock ‘em dead.