Before sitting down today to pen this month's column, I didsomething I do multiple times a day. I made a sales presentation.It's funny. I often spend a good bit of time pondering what willappear in this space each month. Sometimes a topic comes to methrough training or reading on a subject. And sometimes I dosomething so stupid that I have to write about it a.) for therapyand b.) to keep you from doing the same thing.

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As I talked to a group of agents this morning I caught myselfmid-sentence, realizing that I was committing a cardinal sin ofselling: Assuming that I was so good—with all the right answers andexperience—that everyone within earshot would immediately buy insimply because, well, I'm just that good. In short, I was employingthe “Have you seen me?” approach.

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You've used it, too. It started when you first got into thebusiness. You went home from the interview and your family inquiredabout how it went.

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“Great,” you said. “I think it's the right move for me.”

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“How much does it pay?” they asked.

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“Stay with me,” you said. “It's a commission thing, but if yousaw the guy who interviewed me… I'm telling you. If he make aliving doing this, we'll be millionaires in six months!”

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“How you figure?” they asked.

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You smiled broadly and confidently replied, “Have youseen me?”

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And so it began. You learned the business and grew your clientlist by believing—deep down—that of course they would buyfrom you. Only an idiot would go with the competition, right? Andwhen they went with the competition you said, “Well, you can't fixstupid.”

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Don't get me wrong. I think you have to carry a certainconfidence to thrive in our business. You have to believe thatyou've done your homework, you know your stuff and deserve theirbusiness more than the other guy does. You have to.

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But you and I have to be careful. Every presentation should beabout solving problems and helping our prospects determine forthemselves why they should buy from us, not merely telling themthat they should.

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No matter your skills as a communicator or how fancy yourPowerPoint transitions, your prospects will ultimately buy on thesubstance of your message. And your message is not your productsand services. It's that you listen, are responsive and activelypursue solutions to their problems. As long as you're doing that,you can be the second coming of Tommy Boy and you'll make amillion.

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And the guy with the fancy PowerPoint slides? He probably puts aguarantee on his box.

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