Developing Content That Gets Results

Eliminate slides & generate results

Man raises hand during a presentation
Eric Bergman was recently hired by a mutual fund company to provide a combination of presentation training and content development services to portfolio managers in advance of the company’s bi-annual sales conference in San Diego, CA. The conference was attended by retail investment advisors and was an important sales opportunity for the firm; investment advisors are its primary retail sales channel.

The purpose of the training was to help all portfolio managers shape their stories and tell them effectively in an interactive format. The goal was to create a conversational atmosphere that encouraged engagement, questions and dialogue with the audience. The assumption was that this would strengthen relationships and enhance sales results.

The portfolio managers were divided into six presentation teams according to investment style. For about five weeks prior to the conference, each team participated in five or six two-hour training sessions and rehearsals.
This is the best conference of its type that I’ve ever attended.
Using proprietary content development models, each team was assisted with developing its story for a 45-minute breakout session on how they manage money to help clients achieve their financial goals. The remainder of training then focused on helping them tell their stories effectively, while answering questions clearly and concisely.
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PowerPointFree Zones
As the content development process unfolded, all breakout sessions became PowerPoint-free zones. This was not necessarily done by design, but it became clear to the portfolio managers that very few, if any, visuals would be needed to tell each team’s investment story effectively.

As an added bonus, the company saved US $10,000 by not using PowerPoint projectors during the breakout sessions.

And, instead of handing out thick, cumbersome copies of presentation slides at the conference (the previous conference provided a 176-page book of two slides per page that was likely never read), a short feature article (500-800 words) was written to recap each breakout session. The logic was that investment advisors could use these articles in subsequent sales discussions with their clients.

Finally, the group established the objective of generating a Q-Ratio equal to or greater than one for each breakout session. In other words, the portfolio managers would strive to answer more than 45 questions during their 45-minute breakout session, while still completing their presentation content and finishing on time.

The logic is simple. More questions from the audience equals more interest and more engagement. Interest and engagement are critical to sales success.

Results Demonstrate Success
The breakout sessions generated as many as 50 to 80 questions. Some of the comments on evaluations included:

  • Very interactive, especially amongst the fund managers. Hope to see this more often at future conferences.

  • Outstanding in every sense.

  • Great interaction during the conference.

  • Interactive and informative. Very enjoyable.

  • The best conference of its kind that I’ve ever attended.
All speakers achieved a rating equal to or greater than 4.0 out of 5.0, with a median grade of 4.3. This is an amazing accomplishment, especially with a group of investment advisors, who are arguably one of the most difficult audiences to please. To put this into perspective, the final keynote speaker (Michael Lewis of
Moneyball fame), achieved a rating of 4.5.

In addition:
  • Ninety-six per cent of attendees rated the investment team as industry-leading or strong. For many attendees, this was their first opportunity to meet the investment team.

  • Seventy-one per cent of attendees said they would be more willing to recommend this company’s investment products to their clients.

  • Seventy-seven per cent of attendees said they will make this mutual fund company one of the top three mutual fund companies that they recommend to their clients.
Based on the success of not using PowerPoint to develop content, many of the portfolio managers are now saying that they plan to adopt this approach in all presentations—everything from internal presentations to their teams to road shows that promote products and services.

At the start of the process, portfolio managers had difficulty understanding how they could deliver presentations without using slides. At the end of the conference, it was clear to everyone that minimizing slides is the way forward to enhance engagement, understanding and sales success.
Ninety-six per cent of attendees rated the investment team as industry-leading or strong.

Seventy-one per cent of attendees said they would be more willing to recommend this company’s investment products to their clients.

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Eric Bergman has written speeches and provided presentation skills training for more than 30 years. He has helped countless salespeople and professionals from five continents communicate more effectively and generate sales results.

His latest book,
The Presenter’s Toolbox, provides a series of models to help you develop clear, concise content for virtually any presentation challenge you'll face.

All of his presentations, workshops and training programs are engaging, interactive, interesting and fun.
Contact Eric if you’re interested in booking him as a speaker, or providing presentation skills training for your sales team or your organization to enhance results and/or generates sales.
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