"The Essential Message"
"My approach is so radically different from that of other presenters that audiences swear this is the first time they actually ‘got it.’"
If you’re a coach, consultant, business leader, or in any field where you have a lot of competition, a Michel Néray keynote, workshop or longer residency is the best thing you can do for yourself - and your business.
An online pioneer, Mr. Néray was one of the first marketing professionals to embrace the Internet by building websites as early as 1993. In 1994, Michel co-authored a book entitled "The Great Crossover: Personal Confidence in the Age of the Microchip", which made it to Jack Canfield’s Achiever’s Recommended Reading List. Michel founded Portfolios.com in 1995, the world’s first online source directory for creative professionals and one of the first websites based on community generated content. Since creating The Essential Message® in 2003, Michel has helped thousands of independent professionals and entrepreneurs as well as growing corporations find a better way to differentiate, position and brand themselves.
In 2005, his chapter, "Everything Starts With A Conversation" was selected as the lead for the book, "Sales Gurus Speak Out" and re-published in 2008 for 'Awakening The Workplace Volume 3'. He is also a co-author of "In the Company of Leaders" (2008) with 40 top North American leadership experts and authors.
More than just higher sales, (as if that weren't enough), people tell Michel that his keynotes and workshops give them the confidence, resilience and motivation that can only come from knowing their greatest strengths and unique value for customers and clients.
Keynotes and workshops on sales & marketing that don't feel anything like keynotes and workshops on sales & marketing...
Michel specializes in interactive presentations that get the audience moving. All are very practical, humorous, high energy and interactive -- regardless of audience size. Here are just a few of the topics that can be delivered as either a keynote or a breakout session:
Everything Starts With a Conversation (including your next sale!)
In this presentation or workshop, you'll discover how easy it is to engage people in conversations around the work you do - whether you're sitting on the beach in Mexico or sitting across the boardroom table. You'll learn the customer-centric foundation that the entire Essential Message approach is built on and you'll get the tools you need to make all your communications -- with clients and customers, colleagues, friends and even your family -- more powerful than ever!
What Drives You Crazy Makes You Great: The truth about yourself, your business and your differentiation!
It's easy to ask the question, 'what makes you different?' but how easy is it for you to come up with an answer that truly sets you apart? Forget the usual stuff about differentiation -- this is an incredibly innovative, fun and powerful session. You'll discover things about yourself and your business that will make you competition-proof!
Ditch Your Pitch! How to create a powerful positioning statement that actually gets people interested!
Any textbook will tell you what a positioning statement is and why you need it. In this Essential Message presentation or workshop, I’ll show you how to create the most compelling Positioning Statement for you -- and then I’ll show you how to turn it into a powerful sales tool that you can use in conversation so it sounds natural, engaging...
Sales Telepathy: How to get into your client's head and heart without going out of your mind!!
The principles behind Sales Telepathy are grounded in sales techniques proven by some of the most effective direct response advertising and marketing, as well as change management communications. What’s more, they can be applied just as easily and powerfully in sales conversations as in letters, brochures and websites. It's all here, and it's surprisingly easy to learn:
Michel has material to fit sessions from 30 minutes to 7 days, and can adjust his talks to your needs, even at the last minute. Because his material includes interactive exercises, however, shorter than 30 minutes just doesn't work as well. Most keynotes are between 60 and 90 minutes.
Two sample articles by Michel Néray. Both can be found at www.neray.com under "Articles."
The Selling Power of The Provocative Question
When you tell prospects and clients about what you can do for them, how much do you 'tell' your way through your story, and how much do you 'ask'?
If you're like most people, you try to tell as much as you can, as quickly as you can, in order to give your prospect as much information as possible in the hopes that something will trigger some interest. After all, you've got excellent credentials to describe, great case studies, impressive expertise and a gazillion years of experience, (especially if you combine all the experience of each of the partners of the firm) – and you really, really know what you're talking about, right?
(If you don't think this describes you, I challenge you to put a tape recorder in the room next time you have a new client meeting.)
If you never seem to get people as interested as you had hoped they would be, here's why: the person you're talking to simply can't process all the information you're overwhelming him or her with, and consequently he or she tunes out.
Instead of making statements, try asking questions.
Questions Force The Other Person To Think, Relate to the Problem, and Visualize
Does your Essential Message get the person to turn off auto-pilot, relate to the problem, and create a mental picture? These are three of the most effective ways you can use to get your prospects interested in what you have to offer. Questions are powerful tools because they incorporate all three techniques in one fell swoop, fully engaging him or her in your conversation.
Here's an example: Imagine that I want to sell you conference facilities. Let's say that one of the advantages of the room is the flexible lighting capabilities it offers. Perhaps another advantage is sound system, and how it allows you to patch into it or even bring your own equipment.
The typical sales approach would be to list all these features and benefits. The problem with this approach, however, is that extolling the room' features and benefits is exactly what you'd expect me to do. As a result, you'd be subconsciously ready to find the holes in my arguments in order to resist 'being sold'.
Besides, you may not even understand how these features and benefits make a difference to you.
Alternatively, I could ask you a few very simple questions: First I ask, 'would it make your event better if you can light different areas of the room in different ways?'
If the answer is yes, then I can probe more about what kind of lighting would be best. If the answer is 'I thought I had to bring an outside lighting service to do that," it opens the door for me to describe the unique advantages of this room compared to others that you might have already seen. If the answer is no, I can simply move on, and ask, 'What about the sound system – do you have your own system by any chance?'
All I am doing is asking questions about your needs, and as a result, I am forcing you to think about the answers. Even better, I am getting you to put yourself in the situation and relate to the problem about how long it takes in a very personal way.
We're off to a good start.
Questions Force You To Listen, Helping You to Qualify Your Prospect and Discover What's Really Important
No doubt you've heard the maxim that sales is more about listening than talking. By asking the question, you put yourself in a position where you have no choice but to listen. And, what you are listening for are clues that you are on the right track.
Continuing the example above, I have to be prepared for any answer I might get. Let's say that in the course of the conversation, it comes out the you are most concerned about maximizing the experience.
Bingo! Our facilities give you lighting and sound flexibility to customize the ambiance as the evening progresses.
OK, so now let's say that experience isn't an issue but costs are.
Bingo again! The room saves you the cost of hiring an outside lighting service or additional sound equipment.
And what if the answer comes back that I am totally on the wrong track? No problem. I'll simply move on to another line of questions.
Whatever happens, you win – in fact, we both win – because I am demonstrating a sincere interest in your needs, which boosts my credibility and helps me avoid wasting time on issues that aren't important.
Questions Force You To See The Links Between Features, Advantages and Benefits.
The end goal of pretty much every single product or service in the business world can be linked to one or more of the following five business decision hot buttons: grow the business; increase customer loyalty; reduce costs; improve productivity; and gain a competitive advantage.
On the consumer side – and since you are always dealing with an individual, these play a role for businesses as well -- your customer will be more concerned with emotional issues such as prestige, acceptance, respect, or pride.
All the steps between what you offer and one of these hot buttons is what we call a 'Conversational Thread'. The shorter the thread, the quicker you can show the value of what you offer.
By taking the other person through a line of questions that ultimately lead the hottest hot button, he or she will see the value of what you offer without any overt 'selling'. In other words, all you are doing is creating the environment in which your prospect convinces him or her self.
Here's how it's done.
Now, if all this sounds like a manipulative sales 'technique' to you, then you might have missed the point. The bottom line is that questions help you to be a better listener, while still maintaining control of the flow and direction of the conversation. They allow you to probe and uncover the other person's needs.
And that is simply a prerequisite for effective communication.
"What question can I ask, such that the response allows you to say, 'well, that's exactly what I do.'"
But how do you get your message across by asking questions? Simple. Write your main points down on a piece of paper. Next to each one, write a question that elicits an answer from the person you are speaking to, that allows you to say, 'that's what I do.'
In The Essential Message™ Workshop, people learn how to 'ask' their way through their story. It's a process of initiating each key thought with a question, and paying attention to the conversational 'doors' that open up for you. According to the feedback forms they complete at the end of the workshop, this by far is one of the most valuable and useful insights they get out of it.
So next time you have something that you think is really important or compelling to talk about, try turning it into a question.
It really works.
Differentiation-Based LeadershipThree questions that every leader must ask.
The more competition you face, the greater the need to highlight the differentiation -- the unique advantage of your product or service -- in order to succeed in the marketplace.
Differentiation-based leadership places the onus of grasping, defining and communicating that differentiation on the shoulders of the leader, and extends the concept to encompass every area of business -- including the leader him or herself.
Using differentiation as the central principle of strategic competitive advantage, these are the three questions that every leader must ask.1. What differentiates your company or organization?
2. What differentiates the individuals -- what are the unique strengths of each individual in your organization?
3. What differentiates you as a leader?
As a leader, you have the biggest influence on the culture, the goals, the vision and the process by which you go about fulfilling it.
What Drives You Crazy Makes You Great
Instead of looking for core strengths and passions directly, this approach begins with asking participants to consider a situation where they notice the obvious mistakes that other people in their fields have made.
Applied to leadership, imagine that you recently took over the management of a team or organization.
One of the first things you’d likely do is analyze the current situation -- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then you’d look at the decisions which have led the organization to this point.
If you’re like most people, there would be some decisions that would have you shaking your head in disbelief. Be honest with yourself -- in the back of your mind, you might be saying to yourself, ‘I can’t believe they did this – if they had brought me in sooner, I could have averted the problems they have now and they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in today.’
It may be politically incorrect to criticize others openly, but what you consider to be fundamental errors in the judgments, actions and decisions of your predecessors are actually the clues to your natural talents and strengths.
When you look around and see how other people are doing it ‘all wrong’ and getting poor results, your subconscious mind says, ‘how can they be so stupid not to see what’s so obvious to me. They should be doing it this way – whatever this way is for you.
And that’s why it drives you crazy.
When you look at the mistakes and errors that others leaders have made, what drives you crazy?
Primary Influences And Mentors
Once you start on the journey to discover your own differentiation, you may build up enough courage to travel back in time to re-visit your early mentors and influencers. In my case, it took me many years to build up that courage and identify the connection to my parents.
With a degree in linguistics, my father had a facility with words and a gift for language. So when he joined the French Foreign Legion during the Second World War, he was put in charge of translating messages for the French, British and American troops -- and sometimes delivering them in person under enemy fire. After the war, he became a professional translator, and worked his way up to become head of the translation department at McGill University.
My mother is a survivor of the Holocaust. Deported on March 7, 1944, she spent almost a year at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the largest killing grounds of the Nazis. Surviving beatings, interrogations and the selections by the infamous Dr. Mengele, she was then forced on a three-day death march through the mountains in the bitter, bitter cold of January 1945.
From Wroclaw on the Polish-German border, she was transported to Ravensbruck and then to Neustadt. When the camp was liberated by the Russian army on May 3, 1945, she was taken for dead as she lay motionless on the ground, too weak to move.
No one would be surprised at how an experience like that would shatter a person’s spirit and joy of life. And yet, if you met my mother today, you'd find someone in love with the world.
She doesn't need a reason -- or even music -- to dance around my back yard.
As an author, advertising copywriter and speaker, I always knew where I got my facility with words and my gift for language. But I never fully understood how and why I inspire audiences until I saw that my mother's ability to survive is also my ability to survive -- and her passion for life is also my passion for life.
That’s a key part of who I am and the value I bring to the organizations I work with. It’s one of my unique differentiators as a speaker – and it's the foundation of my leadership style.
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