Have you ever had to do a task and felt motivated and inspired to do whatever it took to succeed—as if you were on a mission to accomplish it? If so, capture that feeling and bring it into every presentation, and you’ll be unstoppable.
Back in my mid-twenties, I was booked to do a presentation at a real-estate office in Los Angeles. I lived in San Diego, so my plan was to drive up to LA that morning, do the presentation, and head back home. I had just bought a BMW convertible, so I was looking forward to the drive. Everything was going great until I hit LA. I didn’t know the city well, but the directions seemed to be taking me into the sketchiest part of town.
This can’t be right, I thought. How could I be booked to do a presentation in this part of the city? Surely no one there could afford what I was selling, which was a one-day sales training
seminar happening a month later. And then came the biggest shock: The real-estate office that I was speaking at was a decrepit old building with a barbed-wire fence surrounding it. Instead of pulling in, I drove by and circled back. I wanted to see it again to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. This was such a rough part of town I didn’t want to even risk leaving my brand- new car in the parking lot while I was inside giving my presentation. I made a split-second decision. I wasn’t going to do it. I was just going to drive back home and call to let them know I couldn’t make it. I’d even send them some of our books for free to make up for it.
Of course, it felt wimpy to be driving away, but I rationalized it by saying that they weren’t even the right customers for me. And then I pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the car. What
am I doing? I thought. Why have I chosen to be in the business I am in? Because I love helping people be more successful! And even if this group can’t afford to go to our one-day seminar, I owe it to them to go in there and give them my very best! I can help them increase their belief in themselves and hopefully take their careers and their lives to another level!
I had reconnected with my mission. I turned my car around and made a beeline back to the real-estate office, parked my car, and headed into the office building with my heart on fire. I don’t remember what I said that day, but I do remember that it came straight from my heart. It wasn’t about closing a sale; it was about helping a wonderful group of people who needed some hope and inspiration. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, and the end result was that almost every person in the meeting found a way to come up with enough money to invest in our one-day sales training.
To set yourself on fire before your presentation, always remind yourself that you aren’t there just to sell an idea or a product to your audience. You’re there to add tremendous value to them, to help them make a change in their business or life that only you can.