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Build Business with Existing Client Events: Content Delivery

When you hold an event for your existing clients do you spend as much time preparing as you do for a prospect event? Your clients will notice. The respect and appreciation you have for your audience is evident from the way you prepare -- from testing the projector through choosing your speakers.

Choose Speakers Thoughtfully
After you have decided what your seminar content is going to be, it's time to think about who can best present the material. Take an honest inventory of the potential presenters in your company. Factors to consider include:

  • Clarity and cadence of speech
  • Subject knowledge
  • Comfort presenting to groups
  • Ability to stay focused on the subject without getting too technical

If you don't have strong speakers inside your firm, look to other sources. Since it's often difficult to schedule a Microsoft speaker, think about the other ISVs and partners that you work with. Work with the firms to develop business issue presentations, not just product pitches.

Consider asking a client to present. People like being asked to share their expertise. And, when your audience hears real experience stories from other clients, it's far more powerful than hearing it from you.

When you include other speakers in your presentation lineup, consider inviting their clients if it's a good fit for the material.

Connect with Your Audience Through Stories
We've all experienced that dread as the presenter launches PowerPoint and you see "Slide 1 of 56" on the bottom left of the screen before he hits the slideshow icon. Put yourself in your attendee's seat. Attendees want to understand more about the subject that you are presenting but they don't want to listen to you drone through 336 bullet points.

There is no better way to help people clearly visualize than with examples and stories. Keep your slide deck short and keep the bullet points brief -- better yet use pictures to augment your words. Yes, you may need to explain technology (using clear, simple terms) but use examples of how companies use the technology to improve their business.

Get specific. The more you can help the audience visualize how they can benefit from the technology or services, the more likely they are to adopt. Make it easy for them to explain the concepts and the benefits to their teams when they return to the office.

When you are presenting to your existing clients, you are building on an existing relationship. There is no need to include an "About XYZ Partner" slide at the beginning of each deck. Respect that relationship and don't waste their time blowing your own horn over and over.

Call to Action
Every presentation should end with a suggested action. What action do you want each person in the audience to take if they see the value? Ask them to do something on the last slide. It can be as simple as "Talk with John in the back of the room if you would like to find out more." Or it can be more specific: "Sign up today and receive a 20 percent discount on services."

When you present material helpful to their business and respectful of their time, you forge stronger relationships with your clients. And don't forget to test the projector.

Have you held a successful event including both clients and prospects? Please tell me about it so that we can share the knowledge.

In this 3-part series, we're looking at how you can use in-person events to build relationships with clients without spending a fortune or dedicating months to planning. If you missed Part 1, we covered how to choose content that will attract clients. In Part 2 hopefully you have gotten some good pointers to help you deliver content without putting your audience to sleep. In Part 3, we'll take a look at making your event memorable without breaking the bank.

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 07, 2011