Business Need A Boost? Try P.E.D.S.

One of the major issues in the world of sports today is PEDs, Performance Enhancing Drugs. The use of drugs to perform at a higher level is at best fairly common and at worst, widespread. Some of the household names of sport have been caught using them to heighten their athletic prowess. Others have never been caught but we suspect and/or assume they indulged and some, while caught, maintain their dog must have slipped them a mickey. No matter what sport, the scrutiny of the athlete and the use of PEDs will not depart from today’s news for quite a while.
Real estate and other sales driven business activities have long used analogies from the world of sports to motivate their people. So I am here, not in a pharmaceutical role, but more as a motivator to suggest a little P.E.D.S. to improve your business. Whether you are new and trying to build something profitable and customer oriented, in a slump and trying to get your head back above water or the best in the biz looking for another edge, I’ve got P.E.D.S.: the Presentation Enhancement Delivery System.
In the real estate business agents get paid based on their ability to present. We present ourselves as an alternative to other agents to through marketing, we present to obtain listings and to secure commitment from buyers, we should be presenting to position homes in the marketplace (anyone, by the way, can price a home: affix a number designate its “worth. It takes a good presenter to get a Seller on board), and customer service is a way presenting how we meet our client’s wants and needs.
Imagine an insurance agent without the skills and know-how to explain the benefits of Long Term Disability or a computer sales person who doesn’t know a laptop from lap dog. We present all the time. In fact, I would submit that if you are in a serious relationship, at one point you did an effective presentation to get there.
The World Anti-Doping Agency lists hundreds of performance enhancers but I will limit your use to just one. If you are looking to improve your sales business through the use of a Presentation Enhancement Delivery System, I recommend PCP: Preparation, Connection, Presentation.

Preparation. At the core of any great presentation are two things: knowledge of your product/service and knowledge of your customer/client. Picture yourself in Best Buy shopping for a computer. Who would you prefer help you, the computer expert or someone who alphabetizes DVDs for a living?
In order to deliver an effective presentation, we MUST know our stuff: inside/out, up/down, left/right, every which way imaginable. A depth of knowledge allows the presenter to focus on the consumer in order to deliver an individualized, customized presentation experience. 
Knowledge enhances your listening skills as well and will be a great help in the Connection part of our system. When a presenter can focus on the wants and needs of the consumer, instead of being occupied with deciding what they will say next, true active listening can occur.
Garr Reynolds, in his book Presentation Zen, offers that effective preparation revolves around being able to answer two questions “What’s your point? and Why does it matter to me?” If you prepare well you can deliver your core message effectively in any situation and are able to show someone what’s in it for them. 
Preparation also includes slides, pages or other pre-prepared materials you may use. Extensive pontification of better ways to utilize visuals will have to follow (it’s a lesson all by itself) in a later blog. A quick lesson can be found at http://richyacks.blogspot.com/2010/01/steve-jobs-did-it-again.html.
It’s also important to have foreknowledge of your consumer. I look at this two ways: I want to know about consumers in my business in general (one of the best resources in the real estate arena is the National Association of Realtors Profile of Homebuyers and sellers) and I want to know as much as I can about the wants and needs of my individual clients/customers. Fats Waller’s lyrics from the play Ain’t Misbehavin’ best characterizes this. “Find out what they like and how they like it and give it to them just that way.” Finding out what they like and how they like it is imperative in proper preparation. Ask questions. Do research. The more you learn, the easier it will be to perform the next step: connection.
Connection. It’s simple, most of us, given a choice, would rather work with someone we like and trust. We’d like to feel connected to some degree. Sure, there are examples of situations where I couldn’t care less who helps me or whether we “connect.” Those are usually small ticket sales or ones where I know exactly what I want and why I want it and don’t really need help. For the big ticket items, the complicated procedures and the sales that take some time, give me a person with whom I feel a connection.
Tony Robbins said, “People who are like each other tend to like each other.” While the depth of that statement may not fairly identify the complicated nature of connection, I like it as a philosophical starting point. I also like the message of customer service expert Harry Beckwith, who identifies comfort as the key to the whole issue. Before connection can be made, comfort must be established. In short, my connection time is spent creating comfort first. By the way, some of that comfort can be created through your preparation and knowledge. If you were a Realtor that has a listing appointment with me in two days, a packet of information preparing me for our meeting gives me comfort. My perception of your expertise gives me comfort. Comfort is a good place to start.
Comfort and connection sometimes trumps a poor presentation. Beckwith said, “You love comfort, we love comfort, clients love comfort – comfort above all else. We admire excellence and envy superiority, but it is simple comfort that captures and keeps us.”
Make people comfortable, build rapport. Spend time! Don’t skip lightly by this pivotal step.
Presentation. At last, the delivery of your presentation. Exactly how and how long is greatly determined by your customer. Some people want you to cut to the chase, others are very evidential in their orientation and will need more time. For most, the key to length is how much the presentation is about them, the consumer.  If you were discussing me and my needs, I’ll hang with you considerably longer than if your offering is all about you, your many accomplishments and how wonderful you are.
Customize your presentation for the individual and deliver it systematically. I like to restate the want or need, tell them what I have that meets it, explain how that tool, system or resource works or what it does and then (and here’s the biggie) get them to see the benefit to them. Remember, as the old saying goes, Features Tell – Benefits Sell.
Several tools may satisfy the same need. For example, if I am selling my house and believe that it’s very important that it is exposed on the internet, most real estate agents have a plethora of tools that may meet that need. Pick the ones that are most relevant to me and my house and have at it!
If you got to know your audience, know your stuff and have practiced your delivery (yes, Allen Iverson, we’re talkin’ about practice), you’ll be awesome!

With a little PCP (preparation, connection and presentation) in you PEDS, you will take your presentation and your business to a new level.AND…. you’re likely to pass random drug testing (or if you don’t, it’ll be another matter altogether).