Present to prosper: Success requires a powerful first impression

Jim (not his real name) was a small business coach. He was a member of a networking group, but he wasn’t getting any business.

He knew he was good, but nobody was asking for his card. Meeting after meeting, he would tell the group all he had to offer—business planning, marketing, systems, etc. Jim noticed their eyes glaze over as he recited a litany of all the ways he could help small business owners. He became so discouraged that he told his wife one evening that maybe he’d have to give up on his business.

Then at one breakfast meeting, on a whim, he said, “My name is Jim. I help people start a business, and I help business owners grow a business.”

At the end of the meeting someone asked for his card. More people came up to him to ask about his services. And he knew in that moment that he was on to something.

He realized that his services and products hadn’t changed. So what was different? His presentation. He suddenly became more attractive with his message. Jim went on to build a successful business. He learned to “present to prosper.

A crisp tagline is more potent than a data dump. We challenged business owners on our blog to describe what they do in seven words or less. Craig Rispin did just that and saw an immediate return on his presentation.

Craig Rispin is a speaker and consultant. He already knows what Jim had to learn the hard way. He put the power of just six words into action with his personal tag line—”Know First, Be First, Profit First.”

Rispin shared a great story. He was meeting with a CEO to explain the kind of work he did. The CEO interrupted him:  “That’s exactly what we need around here!”

The CEO turned to his HR manager and asked, “How much will it cost to hire him?”

“$10,000 a day!” she said with obvious disapproval.

“Well, we’ll need at least 18 days, won’t we?” he said to her.  “Just work out the details…”

Then the CEO stood up and shook Craig’s hand. “Nice to be working with you, Craig.”

From that day on, Rispin’s No. 1 bestselling keynote became “Know First, Be First, Profit First.” This was clearly an example of presenting to prosper.

Too many business owners leave money on the table because of their inability to present themselves powerfully. Companies believe that communication and presentation are soft skills. But what they don’t realize is the bottom-line impact of these presentations.

You may be a good presenter, but when you bring in the technical expert, do you lose the sale? When you give team presentations, is it one seamless presentation or a bunch of individuals speaking in a vacuum?

Are you content-rich but performance-poor? This is the case with many presentations. You may have a unique product or service, but do you sound passionate? Or do you simply spew a bunch of facts? Remember, your product or service doesn’t sell itself. You do! And that takes good presentation skills.

When you speak at a conference, network at an event or have a one-on-one meeting, you are your brand.

People decide to do business with you in large part due to how well you present yourself, your message and your value.

Don’t leave money on the table. Present to Prosper.