Finding the perfect speaker for your event can be an overwhelming assignment — so many videos to watch, so many bios to review, so much “marketing speak” to get through. What if you could just sit down with every speaker and have a candid conversation about their strengths, key takeaways from their presentations, ideal audiences, and such? We know you don’t have time for that, so we’ve done it for you! You can listen to these exclusive interviews on the profile pages for most of our Showcase Speakers — including Jaynie Smith, author of Creating Competitive Advantage and Relevant Selling.
Here’s an excerpt of Jaynie’s conversation with Shawn Ellis, founder of The Speakers Group:
TSG: You state in your book, Creating Competitive Advantage, that the biggest marketing flaw in most companies is their failure to fully reap the benefits of their competitive advantages. You have a very unique way, a very effective way, of demonstrating this to audiences when you speak. How do you do that?
Jaynie: I always ask my audiences very early on, within the first couple of minutes of my presentation: “Write down your number one competitive advantage. If I was your biggest customer, biggest prospect, and I said I’m interviewing you and three of your competitors this week, tell me your number one competitive advantage.”
They write them down and then I proceed to put ten answers up on the screen, one at a time, and I say to them, “If you see your answer on the screen, please stand and remain standing.” I get them out of their seats and I put all ten up and by the time I have the all ten up, I have 90% to 95% of the audience standing.
I say, “Thank you. Please be seated.” Then I put the headline on that screen. These are the ten most common responses. I have been asking this question for 15 years and now they get it.
I say, “How does that differentiate you? Good quality, good customer service, good people, knowledgeable, consistent, responsive, innovative. Everybody is saying that. It does not differentiate you.” Now I have their attention.
TSG: That’s powerful. When we talk about competitive advantage, it’s easy to see how the topic is a good fit for marketing or sales, but what other audiences can benefit from your presentation?
Jaynie: I think it’s a fit with many, many people in an organization, but typically this work requires some decision making. I like speaking with C-suite executives. Anybody who’s in charge of any C-suite functions: CEOs, CFOs — believe it or not because there are sometimes operation changes in creating competitive advantages — COOs, definitely the marketing, definitely the VP of sales, those people, also the sales managers and the sales people are great audiences.
Business owners — I speak at a lot of dealer conferences and people who run any kind of their own business, this is a great talk for them and they tend to really, really like it.
TSG: What are some of the key benefits to getting your competitive advantage right? We established that this is a big problem for many organizations, but what do you stand to gain if you get this right?
Jaynie: It protects their margins. They’re getting more sales without caving in on margin because they have learned how to sell a value proposition, how to talk with a customer about what they care about — and they stand out. All things being equal I’m going to take the cheapest option, but if you are head and shoulders above the next person, the next competitor, people will pay for that.
I was on a call earlier today with a gal who said, “We just lost out to five other competitors.” She said, “It stunned me. You mean to tell me we couldn’t stand out against five competitors, not even a little bit?” Nobody stood out. That’s what happens.
We look at somebody’s website. We always see that our clients, everybody’s website looks the same because they all have the same message. The key take away is how to stand out, how to get your head above the crowd, how to make sure people want to pay a little bit more for you.
You’re going to close it faster, you’re going to protect your margins and you may even have a shorter sales cycle because it becomes a no-brainer if you really nail this work.
TSG: How do you typically prepare for a keynote presentation? When you’re going to a company, how do you customize for that audience?
Jaynie: First, [I] ask the organization to answer a few questions for me on a form. Then we set up a telephone call where I can dig deeper and learn more about the attendees, more about the organization. I do all kinds of homework with them up front.
I always customize it, while the “meat” is the same. I have so many case studies because we do have a consulting firm. That’s a big advantage to having a firm behind a speaker. I use the case studies that most resonate with the audience when I speak and I make sure they can relate to them.
TSG: What is the ultimate outcome you’re aiming for when you speak?
Jaynie: I want people to walk away being able to do something with what they’ve hard. If there’s no takeaway, then there’s no value and I always want to make sure our clients get value out of the event.
Like what you hear? Click here to check Jaynie’s availability for your next event!
NOTE: This transcript has been edited for readability and flow. Listen to the full interview on Jaynie’s speaker profile page.