In reality, you are presenting all day every day in everything you do. If you’re going to do something, you may as well be exceptional!
What we’re going to cover in this blog focuses on…
Three main topics:
- What’s an Exceptional Presenter?
- Preparing to Present
- The Art of Presenting Powerfully
When most people think about presenting they think about doing a seminar or making a speech to a crowd of people. Presenting itself is a much broader topic.
Think of these situations where you are actually in presentation mode even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it:
Casual conversations, counselling, fundraising, keynote speeches, introducing people, sales meetings, negotiating, hosting an event, talking with peers, listing presentations, cold calls, voicemail messages, customer service, first impressions, sales calls, networking, conference calls, mentoring, even coaching and mentoring, etc. etc. etc.
As a real estate Salesperson there’s even more situations… lead generation, lead follow-up, showing property, listing property, negotiating offers, talking to other Agents, etc.
Let’s be clear before we start this in-depth review…your audience can be one person, two people, or 100 people… it doesn’t matter – you’re still presenting.
Why is it so important to be an Exceptional Presenter? Because that’s how you communicate… that’s the essence of how you conduct your life every waking moment… the only time you’re not communicating is when you are sleeping! May as well do it extremely well, right? Here’s my mantra…
“The quality of your communication determines the quality of your business”
Look at this Example… every year the Wall Street Journal publishes its corporate recruiters survey. These recruiters are the people who interview and hire MBA students. Recently the recruiters rated the job applicants on the 21 most important attributes. In other words, how do they make the decision on who to hire?
They rated communication skills, ability to work with others, personal ethics and integrity, work ethic, problem-solving skills, leadership potential, etc. etc. etc. Not surprisingly, the #1 item used in deciding who to hire at 89% on the importance scale… was communication and interpersonal skills. Number one!
Author and presentation expert Timothy Koegel (“The Exceptional Presenter”) says that 80% of presenters are below average, 10% are average, 5% are good to very good, and 5% are exceptional. Bottom line… if you want to get exceptional results then you need to be an Exceptional Presenter!
When presenting, follow this simple 3 step formula :
— tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them.
Following that line of thinking… here’s the first part.
Part One… What Makes an Exceptional Presenter?
For openers, be reminded that presenting is more than just words… it is both verbal AND nonverbal communication.
Dr. Albert Mehrabian at UCLA researched communication at the highest level. His research revealed that when communicating…
7% of the audience’s perception of your message is determined by your words
38% by your voice
55% by nonverbal messages
The words themselves are only 7% of the overall message communicated!
That’s why when you are speaking on the telephone… you need to be doing exactly the same things physically that you would do if you were face to face. … hand motions, facial expressions, gesticulations, smiling, etc. Make no mistake, your physicality is coming through the phone almost as powerfully as if it were visual.
Here’s another critical insight. Use this mindset from now on…
“Your job is to make the audience feel safe”.
When they feel safe they feel comfortable, when they feel comfortable then they are more open, and here’s the important part…when they are open then your message becomes much easier to digest. You become a better communicator. At no point do you want your audience to feel confronted or… “unsafe”.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of exceptional presenters:
- Comedian Jimmy Fallon… what are his characteristics that stand out?… he’s humorous, his presentation is always fast-paced, he’s smooth in his delivery, and he always appears very relaxed in the environment.
- Past President Bill Clinton… the experts say that Bill Clinton is one of the best presenters of our modern time. What they say about him is that better than anyone else he “works the room”.
He is calm, extremely well poised and he smiles a lot. One of the techniques he uses better than most is how he uses eye contact. Bill Clinton will pick out individual when speaking and focus on them for 3 to 4 seconds while speaking.
You can do the same thing when you are making a listing presentation. You don’t need to have a large audience to use eye contact to your advantage. Everyone says they have great eye contact… the truth is, very few people do. To be able to look someone in the eye and make two or three important points without averting your glance takes practice.
Here are the six characteristics of an exceptional presenter… they are organized, they are passionate, engaging, natural, they understand their audience, and they practice. Let’s look at these items one by one:
1. Be In Control
Exceptional Presenters take charge. Looked poised and polished, sound prepared and in control. Don’t waste time, make sure that your message is well structured and clearly defined. You’re not there to overwhelm people – just inform, entertain, enlighten, and in the case of real estate Sales… comfortably persuade.
2. Be Passionate
Your energy (positive or negative) is persuasive and contagious. Make sure you are communicating the right message. Exceptional Presenters exude enthusiasm and conviction. If you’re not excited about your message… why should the audience be excited?
This is not about jumping up and down… it’s about speaking from the heart and leaving no doubt as to where you stand on your message. As Jim Rohn said…”It’s pretty tough to inspire others if you’re not inspired yourself.”
3. Be Engaging
Do everything in your power to engage each audience member. Build rapport quickly and involve the audience early and often. If you want to earn respect – you must first connect.
Early in my career as a real estate Salesperson I lost a listing because during the presentation I didn’t connect with the decision-maker. Later, when I asked why she told me, “When you came to see us, you barely spoke to me… you didn’t even find out that I actually own the house – not my partner!” Wow…that was embarrassing, I wasn’t engaging the homeowner. You can be sure I never made that mistake again!
An Exceptional Presenter’s style is very natural. Your delivery must have a conversational feel to it – it needs to “look easy”. Not only is this much more appealing to the audience, by being natural – by being yourself, the confidence you demonstrate increases dramatically. Your displayed confidence is also part of helping your audience “feel safe”.
How would you like to present without doing a lot of memorizing? As revealed in our “All the Right Words” Scripts and Dialogues package for selling homes, the best approach is to:
Identify the CORE of your message and then build a comfortable conversation around that message.
Don’t worry about memorizing every single word. Use your own natural style to communicate. By doing so, it totally eliminates the challenge of “sounding scripted”.
5. Understand Your Audience
Learn as much as you can about your audience before presenting. When working with a home Buyer or a home Seller find out their needs and wants in your initial telephone conversations. Use a thoroughpre-qualification script.
The more you know about the audience, the easier it is to connect with them. Keep referring back to their motivation. Let them know – that you know – what’s important to them. This improves your connection significantly.
Those that wing it invariably miss some of the subtleties that asking all the right questions does not miss. Making assumptions always leads to mistakes and failure to make the sale. Once you understand what they want then your presentation becomes much more meaningful.
Exceptional Presenters take the time to practice over and over before the actual presentation itself occurs. Like it or not, you must take the time to practice.
Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino has reported that his approach to taking on a new movie script is as follows…”I read the scene to myself 5 times, then I read it out loud 10 times, digest the message, and finally I practice it 100 – 125 times!” It certainly works for Al… no arguments there.
Author Tom Peters sums it up this way… “Those who practice improve. Those who don’t, don’t.”
Bottom line — If you want to be exceptional you must pay the price… one of the prices that has to be paid is to practice over and over and over.
Bonus Idea: The only way to make sure that you practice sufficiently is to set aside the time to make it happen. One of the best times is very early in the morning before anyone else is up… before your mind gets cluttered with all the daily activities. Experience tells us that you will get a lot more done early in the morning and you will remember what you are learning much faster.
Presenting powerfully is a learned skill. You now have inside knowledge for what it takes to become an Exceptional Presenter. The 6 characteristics we have just covered can easily be adopted. You can start taking these on right away.
The next part of the journey involves being prepared well in advance of your appointment. Here’s how…
Part Two…Preparing for the Exceptional Presentation
There are two keys to preparing any presentation…big or small, no matter the size of your audience…
a) Develop a Structure around Your Overall Message
Have an agenda. This allows you to frame your objective, cover all relevant material, and then transition smoothly from topic to topic.
Critical Point: this agenda allows you to begin strong AND finish strong.
b) Look Organized
If you don’t look organized the perception will be that you didn’t care enough to prepare. You create a negative impression right from the start! If ever you’ve had a situation where you “started off on the wrong foot” you know how difficult it is to turn things around once you get going. I liken it to pushing a rock up a hill.
If you use voicemail messages as an example, it is easy to relate to both these points. Have you ever received a voicemail message from someone that went on and on and on forever?!
How receptive were you to their message and their communication style? They just rambled on and on. It was obvious they didn’t know what the real message was when they started talking. No structure and not organized – a bad formula.
Bonus Tip: in the case of your listing presentation… the part about developing structure and looking organized starts with the pre-qualification script. The pre-qualification script is quite possibly the most important script you will ever use. It sets the stage for everything else you do in your relationship with the customer. It certainly is a critical part of making your face-to-face presentation dynamic.
Here now are the…
5 Critical Components of Preparing for a Presentation
A very successful approach is to prepare by visualizing everything in advance…right from start to finish. Here’s the roadmap, in this case, let’s tailor it around your listing presentation:
Begin with a Purpose
Begin with the end in mind. If you internalize the purpose of your presentation, you will find it easier to keep information relevant. You will also avoid getting off-track and losing direction.
From your perspective, the purpose of your presentation is to list their home today for the right price, under the correct conditions (IE: term, inclusions, commission, etc.).
Present the Meeting Agenda to the Seller
Give the audience a 30,000 foot view of your agenda…here’s some examples:
— What we need to accomplish in the next hour is to agree on a strategy to get your home sold for the most amount of money possible and get you moved to Phoenix.
— My objective this afternoon is to help you understand the current situation in the marketplace. Once we have done that weekend then establish a realistic price for your property. The next step then is for me to show you all the strategies that we do differently to get top dollar for your home.
— My goal is to help you achieve your goals. To make that happen, I want you to show you what it is we are doing that is so effective in getting homes sold.
Follow a Logical Strategy
The first issue is to understand their motivation…3 basic items:
Where do they want to move?
When do they want to be there?
Why are they moving?
Once you are clear about their motivation, your agenda can take a very logical path. For example:
“Mr./Mrs. Seller, there are really only three questions we need to resolve tonight…
Q #1. Are we moving?
Q #2. How much are we going to list our home for?
Q #3. Who are we going to hire to do the job?”
This approach not only gives you terrific control but it sets the stage for the Seller. There’s no hidden agenda – no surprises. And, best of all… it helps keep everybody focused and on track.
Know the End Result
What are the benefits? The next step is to help your home Seller understand the benefits you will be showing them.
“By following the plan I have prepared for you Mr./Mrs. Seller… we will get your home sold in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money possible. That’s what you’re looking for, right?”
Develop Your Own Presentation Style
Be comfortable knowing how to communicate your message. Here’s a couple of techniques that are very effective:
a) Tell them lots of stories. Stories will engage them, it will personalize your message, and it will allow you to communicate in a much more compelling fashion.
Example…if you have a home Buyer who wants to lowball an offer, tell them a story about one of your customers that did that in the past and how that approach backfired. Stories like this will help them visualize what happens in real life.
Suggested reading: “Tell to Win” Peter Guber (it’s a great read about the value of telling stories to engage your audience and communicate powerfully)
b) Have some key phrases that become a standard part of your various presentations. They are what I call “line in the sand” statements… lines and phrases that make things very clear to help communicate your message. They eliminate doubt.
Phrases such as:
— If you remember one thing from our session today Mr./Mrs. Buyer… please remember that this is a very competitive market. We need to be sure that any offer we make is very close to asking price. This is not a time to be testing the Seller’s resolve.
— Mr./Mrs. Seller, my objective today is to help you put a strategy in place so that you are moved to Richmond before school starts right after Labor Day
— We are currently positioned as follows… of the 14 homes similar to yours that are currently on the market you are the 12th highest priced property. In order to get you moved to your new home in the next 60 days, your home needs to be priced in the top one, two, or three on the list.
By using these “line in the sand” phrases, you are making it very clear to your customer that you understand their top priorities. There won’t be any doubt that you are committed to working together to ensure their success.
You are now positioned to make a great presentation. By properly preparing using the 2 Keys to Preparing plus following the 5 Critical Components of Preparing for a Presentation you are now in a position to be in Exceptional Presenter.
Note: all of the phrases, expressions, and communication statements in this blog are excerpts from our “All the Right Words” Real Estate Scripts and Dialogues package.
Congratulations, all that is left now is to take on the techniques for presenting powerfully. Here they are…
Part Three…Presenting Powerfully
Technique #1. Have Strong Bookends
You need to “bookend” your presentation so that both the start and the finish are memorable.
The Start Bookend
It is important to get their attention right from the beginning. Start fast. The first two or three minutes of your presentation set the stage for all that follows. A powerful first impression is important.
Get comfortable saying things like… “Mr./Mrs. Customer, what we cover in the next 30 minutes just may be the most important 30 minutes in planning your next move”.
Also, having an attention grabbing opener is particularly effective. It does not need to be lengthy, it could simply be a success story from one of your recent home sales….
“May I share with you something really exciting that happened for one of my customers in the last couple of weeks? (Sure go ahead)
Well, we had this property listed over on 123 Main St…. etc.”
Tell them a story about how well everything worked out for your home Buyer/home Seller. It’s part of that “give them hope” approach. It sets the expectation that you can produce equally positive results for them.
The Close Bookend.
You also need to end strong. This is the other part of the bookends. A critical observation for you… what you say last will be remembered most. I call this a “STAR moment”… STAR stands for Something They Always Remember.
Here’s some excellent closing lines to create that STAR moment:
“Mr./Mrs. Buyer… Leave knowing this… we can find the home you’re looking for, we have to stay focused on your most important requirements. There is a possibility that there may be some compromises along the way. No home will be perfect. I’m asking you to keep an open mind on everything we look at, okay?”
“Mr./Mrs. Seller…If there are no further questions, keep in mind that we both have a list of things we need to do in a relatively short period of time. Let’s work on this together and really make this a successful venture, okay?”
Technique #2. Be Enthusiastic
Enthusiastic presenters are more persuasive. Enthusiasm is expressed almost entirely through delivery…visual and verbal. We can take a monotonous and boring topic and turn it into a passionate message simply by altering the delivery.
One of the most inspiring speeches of modern times was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. He spoke to over a quarter of a million people. The spirit of his “I have a dream” speech and the words he spoke still resonate all these years later. His speech was passion personified… there is no doubt that he was enthusiastic!
Be enthusiastic about helping your customer and the rest will follow. Just remember, when you believe it – they will believe it. There is no one perfect style for this technique. Just be yourself – with energy. Have fun and you will become a “people magnet”.
Technique #3. Be Attractive.
Being attractive clearly starts with the first impression you create. Before you even open your mouth, it starts with Visual… be the person you want to see them to see you as.
- a) Dress the part, be the professional
- b) Stand tall, have a firm handshake, confident smile, good eye contact
- c) Lean forward when listening, take notes – demonstrate good listening skills and don’t interrupt.
Remember that body language is 55% of the message—55%! Your nonverbal skills are critical.
How are you presenting yourself? Here’s a great question to ask yourself all the time, “Would I buy from me right now?”
Reading recommendation: “Book Yourself Solid” Michael Port
Technique #4. Your Delivery
Let’s now focus on your actual delivery. How are you going to present the words you want them to hear? Let’s start with your rate of speech – there should be three different speeds for pacing your speech patterns:
- a) Teaching mode… when you are educating people… speak fairly fast
- b) Story mode… when you are engaging them and helping them become emotionally involved… speak more slowly, more softly, paint a picture. Remember that people think in pictures – not words.
- c) Audience interaction – open-ended questions, nonthreatening – conversational. Don’t rush them (remember to make them feel comfortable, create a safe environment). Example “Interesting, tell me more about that…”
Technique #5. Be Conversational
It is an art to be in control, compelling, AND conversational all at the same time. Just know that the more comfortable your audience is, the more exceptional you will be.
This art of being conversational is not a function of you slouching down in your chair and telling jokes. It’s all about:
- knowing your material in advance, and then…
- delivering it in a comfortable fashion
That way you’re not thinking about what you’re going to say… you are focusing on making a powerful presentation. Much of being conversational comes from your familiarity with your material.
You don’t want to be thinking about what you’re going to say next… this familiarity with your material and subsequently presenting naturally comes from the one thing that most real estate Salespeople fail to do consistently… PRACTICE.
I can’t stress this strongly enough for you. (I know we’ve already talked about this as one of the Characteristics of being an Exceptional Presenter) It is worth repeating… it makes such a big difference when you practice consistently.
Take on the mentality that “I can always get better”. This doesn’t mean you aren’t great already. It just means what it says… being an Exceptional Presenter is an endless journey…a journey with increasing success.
Photograph Idea: Michael Jordan (or other basketball player) practicing in a gymnasium all by himself where most of the lights are out
In his book “Practice Perfect – 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better”, Doug Lemov offers a great suggestion.. He says rather than thinking of reasons “why it won’t work for me”… ask yourself this question…
“What if I did practice regularly… what would happen to my results?”
This is the “tell them what you have told them” part. In this blog we have covered three topics…
- We reviewed the Characteristics of an Exceptional Presenter
- We have covered the steps for Preparing Your Presentation
- We have identified the techniques for Presenting Powerfully
Let me leave you with this final thought… ANYONE CAN BE AN EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTER.
Some Final Suggestions:
Know your strengths. What are they? Be clear on how you can best use them… energy level, humor, ability to engage your audience, using a powerful voice and tonality, people skills, etc.
Focus on improving those strengths. Take your communication to a whole new level. Regardless what level you’re at right now, you are definitely capable of much more.
Expect to make mistakes. That’s part of the growth process. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do – they’re just telling you what they can’t do. Their limitations have nothing to do with your ability to be an Exceptional Presenter.
Lastly… study top presenters and watch their style. Check out Ted Talks on YouTube. There is a host of great presenters available for you to enjoy. Also, some of the Sunday morning evangelists like Joel Osteen are the best in the business. Joel demonstrates all of the above characteristics many times over.
Photograph Idea: CNN news desk with broadcasters
Look at some of the top newscasters and talk show hosts. Pay attention to their voice modulation, their rate of speech, their tonality, their eye contact, their energy, and how naturally and smoothly they present. For sure, it’s obvious that they have practiced a lot. You can learn a tremendous amount by studying the best in the business.
Checkout the multitude of training videos we have posted for real estate Salespeople on YouTube.com/BKresults.
Be committed to being a powerful presenter. Be committed to being exceptional – put in the time and be one of the top 5%. Anyone can do it. Why not you?
Here’s two great books on presenting that I would recommend you add to your reading list:
“Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins” by Annette Simmons
“The Exceptional Presenter” by Timothy J. Koegel.
What’s a strength you have that you can capitalize on to make your presentations even more exceptional? Share how you will build on that even more.
Leave your comments below, I read every one of them.