By Brandon Souba
A challenge when presenting is not to close by opening up for questions. The focus of this blog post will be why not taking questions at the end of your Featured Presentation can be beneficial to your business personally.
When it is your turn to present in front of your chapter the ultimate goal is educate the members on how to find you referrals that can grow your business. It is recommended to use hand outs and bring samples of your product, but keep in mind the members don’t need to know HOW you do your profession. I originally joined BNI selling countertops, giving a Presentation on how countertops are glued down with a two part epoxy and showing the members exactly how it is done by doing it in the meeting or showing a video will not bring the referrals flying in. But explaining a two part epoxy is used to reduce tear out during a remolding project that requires special attention can be more effective. Saving time or making it possible for a homeowner with special breathing restrictions to have the kitchen of their dreams, gives members a better idea of the referral you are looking for vs showing them how the countertop is installed. The best situation from your Feature Presentation is members come up and ask to have a one to one with you because you drummed up curiosity for the member and after a one to one they will have a referral for you!
The reason you should not close the presentation by opening up for questions is because you will lose all the one-to-ones that could have been set after the meeting.
Why is that you may ask.
When you answer a question in front of the whole chapter you not only lost a one to one with the member that asked the question, but if another member had the same question you lost that one to one because they got the answer they were looking for. But you might say we need to educate the members and answering questions is a great way to do that! True, but when you only have so much time to answer questions do you give the full explanation or do you give the short answer due to time? In a one to one most answers will lead to other question and if an average one to one last an hour you have the opportunity to give them the full answer and answer any follow up questions that come up. What if your chapter passes around a question sheet for the members to ask questions for the presenters the following week? When the question sheet is handed to you the week before your presentation you have two things to take advantage of. First thing you have is a general direction for your Featured Presentation, knowing where members are not clear in what you do is a great start to knowing what to cover the next week. Second you have a sheet full of members to set up one to ones with! Set up a one to one before or after your featured presentation with the member that wrote down the question. If you can meet before the following week you can gain insight on how to present your service or product in a way that will lead to more referrals from the members. If you meet after the presentation it will be a great opportunity to answer their question and get feedback on your Featured Presentation. There is no better feedback for you BNI membership then from your members!
It is hard not to open up for questions when finishing any presentation, but next time you need to close you featured presentation just say the following. “I hope you all have questions due to my presentation but I want to have plenty of time to answer your questions you may have, so please meet me after the meeting and we can set up a one to one.” Not only will you be the member everyone wants to talk to after the meeting but you will definitely get your one to ones up on your traffic light!