Presentation – Six Strategies For Building Rapport in the Team Presentation

When your firm has the opportunity to make a presentation on some new business, it may be tempting to think it’s in the bag because of your skills and experience. But, while your ability and related experience can get you on that short list, it’s the power of your team’s presentation that may win or lose you the business. You have a double challenge. You need to deliver a comprehensive and compelling team presentation. And the other and often bigger challenge is the effectiveness of your “people skills.” Clients who are in search of a vendor don’t just want someone who can do the job. They’re looking for trustworthiness, commitment and chemistry with the project team. Despite the fact that a vendor search may be based on a rational, objective decision-making process, the bottom line is clients are going to select people they like. No matter how well you meet their criteria, if they don’t like you, it won’t matter. So rapport building is an important strategy in the team presentation.

Here are six strategies to consider in your rapport building to enhance your likability:

1. UNDERSTANDING. How well do you understand not only the client’s business and project needs, but their constraints, their challenges, their difficulties? Be sure to focus on your knowledge and understanding of the client’s needs, not just on your strengths and assets. 

2. ATTITUDE. Having a confident, can-do attitude is extremely appealing. You exhibit confidence when you answer questions knowledgeably, speak positively — “we can take care of that” — and don’t put yourself down and sell yourself short. Clients want to work with pleasant, positive people. The dark side of this coin is “arrogance.” Projecting a sense of “fait accompli,” or worse, criticizing or putting down the competition, could spell a death knell. You want to project a sense that you want the business and can do the job, not that no one else could do it… 

3. LISTENING. Good listening skills are potent. Remember to use “active listening,” the three-step technique of using your EAR — Engage the speaker, Actually hear what’s being said, and Respond appropriately — to engage others and let them know you’ve both heard and understood them. When your prospect talks about their issues, problems, and objectives, your ability to show you’ve heard and understood has immeasurable impact. 

4. NONVERBALS. It doesn’t matter if you feel pleased and proud to be there. What matters is if you look pleased and proud. If you’re leaning back in the chair, with your arms crossed and a bored or distracted look on your face, that’s what the client will believe you feel. So watch your body language — make sure it’s open, relaxed, and interested. Lean forward when someone speaks to you, make eye communication with every member on the team, put some energy in your comments. Show your pleasure at this opportunity. Smile easily, have enthusiasm for the project. 

5. INTEREST. Without a doubt, showing interest in others is one of the most powerful likeability factors. Make sure that the focus of your presentation is not entirely on you and what you offer. While you certainly want to communicate your positive points, keep in mind that everyone else is doing that, too. What will impress the client and be more memorable is how much interest you took in them-as individual members and as a company. This starts well before that final presentation, of course. You want to take every opportunity to meet with the decision-makers beforehand and show genuine interest in their business and their projects. Keep in mind that the client isn’t interested in how tough or difficult it will be for you to pull this off. But they’ll be sincerely impressed if you’re interested in their challenges-and can offer ways to solve their dilemmas. It’s a fact of basic human relations that we’re drawn to people who are interested in us. 

6. TEAM COHESIVENESS. Any time someone’s ego takes over on a team, it’s usually disastrous. You’re there as a team because the prospect wants to see a representative sampling of your expertise and skills and wants a feel for the chemistry between your group and theirs. When one person tries to hog the spotlight or insists on correcting or contradicting team members when they say something wrong, that person — no matter how right or bright — will doom the team to failure. 

People do business with those they like. So exhibit these traits to show your commitment to a project and you’ll increase your “win” factor.

Designing Custom Cases For Product Presentation and Sales

Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at a potential clients to make a sales presentation, only to discover that the centerpiece of your presentation has been damaged during transport. After all, you want to exude the most professional and capable presence possible, and a mangled product or product samples certainly doesn’t help your overall image. Unveiling a classy and well-designed presentation of your products or equipment is critical when making a powerful, convincing impression; custom cases will help ensure that you are looking sharp and present a dazzling 1st impression.

Advanced Technology Makes Designing Custom Cases A Cinch

Thanks to advancements and improvements in manufacturing technology, it’s easier than ever before to order a custom case and have it designed precisely. Things like variable size thermoforming, blow molding, wood and aluminum fabrication with CNC technology and many other advanced techniques have made achieving optimal results more reliable than ever. There’s no longer any need to cobble together a makeshift case when you have oddly- sized, exceptionally fragile or multiple items to bring along for an important sales presentation, thanks to the technology behind creating custom cases and foam.

Maintain Professionalism With Custom Cases

First impressions matter. From your personal presentation to the way you transport and present your case contents, your goal is to give the best product and company impression possible. Nothing can compromise your carefully considered presentation quite like a shoddy looking case. Arriving at a potential client’s office with a sleek, custom designed case is vastly preferable to arriving with a cardboard box or pulling product from an unorganized jumble from the bottom of a cheap carrying case.

Custom Cases For All Of Your Branding Needs

Even if the centerpiece of your sales presentation is a logistical nightmare to carry or ship from place to place, there is bound to be a custom case solution out there that will meet and exceed your expectations. The right case consultants will be more than able to fulfill your needs and come up with custom case designs along with recommendations on the appropriate selection of case fabrication that will allow you to get your items where you need them safely and securely. All the while, you will maintain your professional appearance – a win-win situation.

For an additional branding perk remember that most cases are available with custom printing options. What better way to make your mark than to have your company’s logo printed on the case in color. Remember you will never have a second chance to make that first impression and case consultants will ensure your success.

How To Win More Negotiations – Understand The Shoulder Shrug – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Shrugging shoulders – The question was asked of him, “why should we lower our price?” He shrugged his shoulders, took a moment to reflect on the question, and then offered several reasons why the price should be reduced. Little did he know, his shoulder shrug exposed the fact that initially, he didn’t have an answer to the question. Others picked that up and he lost credibility.

When negotiating, you should possess a heightened sense of awareness about the signals you send via your body language. You should also have a heightened sense of awareness of the other negotiator’s body language. That’s because body language displays true feelings. While some very good negotiators know how to convey false emotions through their body language, through their attempt to convey such emotions, their body tries to compensate for the inequity the body is experiencing. The shrugging of the shoulders is one form of display that the body conveys such sentiments.

What shoulder shrugging indicates:

The shrugging of the shoulders during a negotiation can imply different meanings depending on what occurred earlier in the negotiation, the level of intensity of what’s currently being discussed, and the mental frailty of the negotiator displaying the gesture. It can mean:

  1. What else do you want from me?
  2. I don’t really know the answer to that?
  3. I don’t care?
  4. I feel threatened!
  5. I’m indecisive.
  6. I’m thinking but I don’t know what to say.
  7. I’m experiencing some form of pressure.
  8. I disagree with you.
  9. I have disdain for what’s being discussed.
  10. I despise you.

To more accurately note the intent of the meaning, observe what occurred prior to the shoulder shrugging gesture. Also, note the length of time the shoulders stay in that position; that will allow you a glimpse into the degree the expression is being internalized. You can also gain additional insight into its meaning by noting other body language gestures that accompany the shrug(s). As an example:

  1. Mouth agape with head leaning forward is more of a display of not backing down. While head leaning back can indicate a reluctance to pursue the point being discussed much further.
  2. Ponding of the fist indicates defensiveness with the possibility of becoming aggressive.
  3. Sighing while displaying the shoulder shrug is a sign of exasperation. The level of exasperation is amplified when hands are extended in a palms-up or palms-down gesture.

When reading body language, you need to remember that the body always seeks to be in a state of comfort. When that state is violated the body displays its lack of comfort in an attempt to retrieve the state of comfort that it seeks. It’s during the times when the body is displaying such gestures that you need to be very attentive. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what’s occurring in the other negotiator’s mind by doing so. Depending on your negotiation strategy, you can allow the opposing negotiator to emotionally flutter in discomfort or throw him a lifeline to assuage his discomfort.

In your future negotiations, if you become more aware of body language signals and the shoulder shrug in particular, you’ll be able to negotiate from a stronger position… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.