Jason Cambell Presentation Socks

3 tips to captivate your audience

Stand out from the crowd, be memorable, be yourself – sound familiar? That advice your mum gave you on how to cope as a teenager (read: how to talk to the opposite sex), is still true when it comes to making an impression on your customers. Here’s how one speaker dominated an entire one day conference in less than 20 minutes, and some tips on how you can replicate his formula for success.

HubSpot held it’s first official event in Singapore (Grow), with speakers from their various regional offices. Interestingly the most talked about speaker wasn’t a Hubspotter, it was an external speaker, Jason Campbell from Mind Valley. His on stage presence was nothing short of mesmorizing. There’s plenty to be said for practicing to present, natural aptitude, and plenty of sales experience – however he did three things that stood out. Three things that you can incorporate into your next presentation:

  1. Dress with personality

He was wearing regular on-stage business attire, the waist coat was a nice touch, but the big impact came from his socks. It took a few moments to notice that he (intentionally) wasn’t wearing shoes, and then just a few seconds more for people to start taking photos. After his session lots of people were curious enough to ask him about it, and he has a great story to share about why he wears socks.

The fact that he was dressed a little unusually made him immediately memorable as “that-guy-wearing-socks-on-stage”, and the story he’ll tell you about why he wears them, ensures that you won’t forget him. Except for “business attire”, I don’t specifically remember what any of the other speakers were wearing. What do you remember about the last speaker you saw?

  1. Speaking to your audience with passion & belief

For most presenters it felt like they were moving through pre-prepared sales decks – albeit, very nicely. They didn’t have a single powerful message, one they really believed in, that they were communicating. Jason did, it was clear & obvious. Ignoring his skill as a speaker, his presentation used analogies everyone could relate to, and his whole presentation reinforced the same fundamental concept. Like a good comedian, he directly engaged members of the audience making his points easily relatable.

The end result was that you felt that Jason really believed what he was telling you. Which made it much easier to agree with him.

  1. Be educational, but more importantly be inspirational

Unlike many presentations which try to technically convince people that a particular product is worth buying (which might be appropriate for some audiences), he seemed focused on evoking a specific set of emotions. Most people quite quickly forget the specifics of a presentation, especially if there’s several they have to watch, or they have other things to do. Very few people forget how they feel about something though. Think about the most recent comedy show you’ve seen…. It’s hard to remember more than one or two specific jokes, but it’s easy to remember whether you enjoyed it or came out feeling a bit “meh”…

When you’re designing your next sales pitch, presentation, or campaign, think about how you might be able to leverage some of these tips to leave your audience with a lasting impression. If you’ve got a few tricks of your own, let me know!

Conference and Trade Show Booth

How To make friends & get more leads at your next trade show

I was at an exhibition and saw a standy that proclaimed “Improve sales conversions” in a big bold font. It was actually the only thing the standy said. I’m a digital marketer, I’m always looking for ways to improve conversions. Higher conversion rates are the Holy Grail – even the smallest increase in conversion rate will make a big difference to revenue. So I went over to speak to rep standing at the booth, it’s what happened next that really shocked me.

The company provided live chat, so after the pleasantries I pointed at the standy and asked the most innocent (but hardest) question first “What percentage improvement does your technology usually deliver?” The sales rep squirmed a bit and then said “We’re more focused on customer support, I don’t have any numbers or case studies on sales conversions, but it can help.”

Disrupting the customer journey (in a bad way)

In exactly one sentence he’d completely undermined the “Sales Conversion” marketing campaign, and any credibility that his company could in fact help to improve conversions. I asked a few more questions, which he answered with a product demo and vague assurances that if put at the right place that live text chat could help the sales process, but my confidence was already gone.

Remember the sales funnel?

The marketing collateral had done it’s job of attracting me. I was at the top of the sales funnel. Here’s a few tips to ensure you make the most of your event and get as many good leads as possible.

Pro Tip #1 Use clear consistent messaging

To move me down through the funnel towards purchase the sales message and the demonstration needed to be aligned with the original marketing message. Without consistency throughout the sales process, my original request and any intent for me to buy had been lost.

Whatever messaging you’re putting out at an event, ensure that every aspect of your sales & marketing is in harmony – including all your digital properties. Even if you have an event specific promotion, mention clearly online that you’ll have exclusive promotions or offerings. When a prospective customer looks for you online, they shouldn’t be confused as to why there are no details of your offer.

A lot of start-ups do this very well. Their products are singularly focused, so the collateral, communication materials and demonstrations move one type of customer through exactly one type of buyer journey. It’s a little more work when your product has multiple potential journeys, but it’s something you need to plan for; especially if you’re creating standys to attract clients to a different journey).

Pro Tip #2  It’s not a card collecting game

Trade show leads are great, in fact they’re the highest quality leads you can get, but that doesn’t make them a competition to collect the most business cards. You’re looking for high quality leads, not random business cards. With a few simple questions you should be able to very easily qualify (or disqualify) potential leads at the event, leaving you with a great list of hopefuls & real leads.Lead quality chart

Here’s a few sample questions you can use for quick customer profiling:

  1. Ideally speaking, what would you like to achieve? (Direction and solution fit)
  2. What solutions do you currently use? How are you currently doing this? (Is this a real problem?)
  3. Have you thought about integrating this with … for better …? (How far along the process are you?)
  4. Would you like to schedule some time with your CTO & the engineering team to discuss …? (Seriousness to buy if senior management are ready to hop into the discussion)

Pro Tip #3 Don’t drone on mindlessly

Whilst you want to spend some time with each prospect, you don’t want to spend too much. Be careful, it’s easy to slip into a sales spiel – it’s probably well-rehearsed and comes of naturally. Unfortunately it’s exactly what’s not needed at an event. The event should be busy, you’ll need to size up potential clients quickly, make a connection and then push them towards a particular follow-up action and then move on to the next client.

Your customer journeys should all end with some form of action, and you should know which direction your customer wants to go based on the profiling. Lead them towards one of these actions. It could be anything from scheduling a demo, registering for a trial, a follow-up call, receiving some specific collateral, or buying with a special event discount.

Pro Tip #4 Get people on your list

Collecting a business card isn’t the same as someone registering for your list. Use a tablet and an incentive to collect email addresses directly at the event. This lets you reach out to people with no objections – because they opted in. I’ve used free chocolates, pens and other bits to get people to register – people will register on your list in exchange for candy at an event.

Pro Tip #5 Run a survey

With a few simple questions you can get some great information about your target audience. It’ll improve your marketing and help you to quickly qualify potential customers. You can have someone walk around and run surveys, allowing them to access more people. It also gives you something to share with all the event attendees after the event. I usually do this with SurveyMonkey and in conjunction with #4.

This is a great secondary source of leads, but don’t spam everyone. Use the survey questions to profile respondents and figure out where they fit into your sales funnel.

Pro Tip #6 Prepare your post event email nurturing campaign

Based on the customer profiles and actionable outcomes, prepare a series of post event email campaigns. Of course you’ll have the sales people directly reaching out, this runs in addition to that – to ensure that all those leads get the right type of thank you note with relevant information. Avoid sending a generic thank you note if possible.

Pro Tip #7 Publish your social media tags and handles

If you’d like the extra publicity from event goers publish your handles & tags prominently. There’s nothing more frustrating for an event goer that wants to tweet something than not knowing who to reference or what tag to use. Don’t forget that events are a great opportunity for you to engage on social media. Ask questions, play games & show some personality. Whilst it’s not going to help you create leads directly at the event, you’ll certainly give your social profiles a boost.


Speech bubbles with recommendations

4 easy steps to writing great LinkedIN recommendations

Being asked to write a LinkedIN recommendation is quite the honor, but can be surprisingly daunting. What do you say? What should you not say? How long, or short should it be? Fortunately there’s an easy template to get you started.

For many HR executives a LinkedIn search is one of the first methods of checking out a candidate. Unlike old fashioned letters of recommendation, recruiters can very quickly check out your referees, allowing them to establish your credibility with just a few clicks. So it’s important that your reference is succinct, honest (obviously) and helpful for the person you’re recommending. No pressure, right?

What should I write in a recommendation?

Step 1. Your one line summary

If yours is the only recommendation for a particular position, LinkedIN will display the first 240 characters (approximately) of your recommendation on the profile page. That number goes down to 120 characters if there’s more than one recommendation for the same position. To read more the visitor has to click through.

Add to this the fact that most people skim read, your opening line needs to be short, sweet and pack a lot of punch. Try to capture the essence of your recommendation, with a few specifics. For example:

Beth has exceptional team management skills, … (45 characters)

Alice is a social media guru, her strategies are incredible, … (60 characters)

Step 2. Your working history

It’s a good idea to qualify your relationship with the individual a little. LinkedIN automatically does this by asking you to specify the nature of the relationship, but it’s tiny and a short description will put the rest of your statement into context.

… we worked together for two years on over a dozen projects globally … 

… she expertly managed our New York marketing team for a year …

Step 3. Their most powerful attribute 

You don’t need to talk about what they’ve achieved for you or your company – that should be in their profile already. Instead focus on what makes them stand out. For instance, their ability to command a room, deliver under pressure or get the perfect event speakers. This should be something that’s not easy for the person to communicate in their bio (without seeming overly pretensions), but that is certainly a valuable attribute.

She is always buzzing with ideas,

Her ideas are exceedingly creative and thought provoking,

Step 4. Professional advantages

Whatever the specifics of the role are, it’s beneficial if you can communicate how their personal attributes make them excel in their specific role.

… her energy is contagious, it keeps her everyone inspired. She is so personable that suppliers and vendor’s go out of their way to support her.

… and her implementation is always impressive. She is very calm under pressure, and is always able to manage unforeseen events smoothly.

Step 5. The wrap up

Don;t feel obliged to write cliched statements like “I would recommend him” or “You’d be lukcy to have him on your team”. The fact that you’re providing a recommendation is proof enough of that.

You want to keep your recommendation short enough to be digestable and detailed enough to be helpful. So after you’ve finished describing any distinct advantages they have, simply stop. There really are only four steps!

Here’s what it might look like when you’ve put it together:

Alice is a social media guru, her strategies are incredible and she expertly managed our New York marketing team for a year. Her ideas are exceedingly creative and thought provoking, and her implementation is always impressive. She is very calm under pressure, and is always able to manage unforeseen events smoothly.