Imagine going into a major sales appointment yet having only five minutes to prepare and memorize the entire pitch. You would stumble and bumble through everything, or read clumsy cue cards, or you would rely on a quickly assembled slide show (that is more of a distraction than anything). Disaster-ville!
I suspect you already know this: Sales are made when people connect with the salesperson, and that happens when the salesperson is prepared and knows what they are talking about inside-out – you know, a flawless presentation. And I have great news. You can deliver a flawless presentation, not missing a single point, with only five minutes of preparation.
I came across a memory tool many years back called mnemonic memory and have been using it ever since. It truly takes five minutes (or less) to memorize the bullet points of any presentation or sale pitch I make. It comes handy in other areas too. Here’s how it works:
Your mind work best with pictures and associations, not repetition (like you were taught in school.) So the first step to achieving perfect recall is to create an association of pictures. Start by memorizing an easy rhyming list of pictures for each number (rhymes are easy to remember too), one through ten. This will be your anchor picture list.
Here’s what I use, and suggest you use the same:
5. Bee hive
Now, let’s pretend that you are selling accounting services. You will want to explain in your sales pitch the ten things that make your company the best choice for your clients. And of course, you will need to share all the things that make you stand out from the competition. You have five minutes to prepare, and here are the 10 points you need to be ready to present:
1. Your company always answers the phone on the 1st ring.
2. All your accountants went to Ivy League Schools.
3. Your accountants all have Masters degrees.
4. You are versed in tax law for all 50 states.
5. Your team speaks 12 languages.
6. The office is open 24 hours x 7 days a week.
7. You provide clients with an accounting system that works on the iPhone, etc.
8. Your accountant to client ratio is the lowest in the industry.
9. You turn around projects super fast.
10. Your accountants offer free initial consultations.
Using mnemonic memory, you convert all of these talking points into easy to remember pictures. Here’s how you may do each one:
1. A ringing phone
2. Ivy covered college building
3. A framed Masters Degree
4. A map of the 50 states
5. 12 books with a different language title on each (like, French, English, Spanish, etc.)
6. A neon sign saying open 24 x 7
7. An iPhone
8. One of your accountants with his arm over your clients shoulder.
9. A stopwatch.
10. An empty cash register.
Now, when you look at the first item on the sales pitch list (a ringing phone), associate it with the first word from the anchor list (gun). For example, picture a gun shooting a ringing telephone. Picture it in detail, your arm holding out a gun, smoke rising from the gun, and the telephone blown to smithereens. The more details, the better. The more color to your mental picture, the better. Add our sensory details, the sound of the shooting gun and shattering plastic. The smell of the smoke. You want to “feel” in every way you can. Closing your eyes and taking 15 seconds to really imprint it on your mind is critical.
Visualize a connection between the second item (ivy covered college building) and the corresponding word on your anchor list (shoe). Picture your shoe covered with ivy as the ivy creeps from shoes to an old college building also covered with ivy. Hear a professor speaking in a classroom on some old historical subject. Smell the fall air, and the distant faint smell of beer (it’s a college campus after all). Add any details you can come up with to connect the shoe with the Ivy League colleges. The more detail, and oddly enough, the stranger those details the easier it is to remember.
Before you move on to the third item on your sales pitch, recap the first two. What was the gun shooting? Right, the ringing telephone. How about the shoe? What was going on there? Right, ivy covering the shoe and covering the ivy league college building its next to. Now start on the next item. Keep doing this for all ten items in your sales pitch.
Use this mnemonic visual trick to remember 2 or 3 things at a time, then go back in your mind and recap the list you have completed. After 3 or 4 recaps, you will have completed the entire list.
That’s it! You’re done! No, really. You now have the ability to perfectly recall every bullet point of your entire sales pitch points without that slide show. Don’t believe me? Let’s test it out.
Use your anchor list to guide you. I don’t expect you to have the rhyming down just yet, so go ahead and look at the anchor list of above if you need to. Let’s start with, hmmm, number two. Two is shoe. OK, what is happening with the shoe? Right! Ivy over the shoe and building. And that means, for your sales pitch, means your accountants are all ivy league educated.
OK, how about number eight. Eight is skate, and what did you have going on with the skate? Low accountant to client ratio. Excellent! Now number 1. The anchor for 1 was the gun. What was going on with the gun? Yes, the ringing telephone. We answer on the first ring baby!
Try it for five, now. How about 7? How about 3 and then 9? What about 4? Oh, you’re are good. No, no. You are really good.
You can now memorize, even your most complex sales pitches in 5 minutes flat. How about them apples? I want to know how you plan to use this tool to your advantage. Share your ideas in the comments below.