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The 10 most Common Mistakes made in a 60 second presentations

The 10 most Common Mistakes made in a 60 second presentations
In my daily travels as a BNI Director I am often asked to evaluate BNI members elevator speeches. You know their "Sales Manager Minutes". Over the years I have discovered over 2 dozen things that a person can do wrong when presenting their sales manager minutes.

In this segment I will discuss the 10 most common mistakes that I see and give you the cure for these all so common, elevator speech presentations.

Common Mistake #10. "No Hook". It is important that your last statement be a memorable one (hopefully a positive one too). People are more likely to remember the first thing and last thing you say and your hook can help "brand" you as the go to person for your particular product or service. Make your hook different, but easy to remember. Keep it simple. Using your companies’ slogan is ok. So is rhyming.

Common Mistake #9. "Selling to your audience",
(i.e. you BNI partners) in stead of through your audience, (i.e. referral partners). People join referral network to get referral not be sold to. Make sure you remove or change the words “you and yours” when ever possible to something else. Don't use phrases like "everyone in this room can use this"! Change the sentence from you need to buy this to; "so when you customers does xyz, tell them about me and my service/product". Sell to their customer not to them.

Common Mistake #8. "Not saying your Name".
It is important that you always say your name when presenting. I often hear members of various net working organization say things like, "You All know me" at the beginning of their sales manager minutes. Although this may be true, often times there are people in the room who don’t know you. These “visitors” to your net work meeting are clueless to who you are. They could very well need your product or service and with out your name in hand, they may have to leave with out being able to connect with you. Get use to saying your name every time you present and you will never miss an opportunity with a visitor.

Common Mistake #7. "Going to short!"
It is important that you use every second of your time when doing a 60 second presentation. You did pay for that time didn't you? Would you go to a radio station and pay for a 60 second commercial and be happy when you only get 30 second of air time? No way! Create 60 second presentation,(or what ever time frame you are given) . Use the whole amount of time allotted. So remember this. If you meet 50 times a year you only get 50 minutes a year for this type of advertising. If you’re in a BNI chapter don't waste these precious moments. If you’re in any other networking organization the same goes for you!

Common Mistake #6." Going too long!"
If your sales manager minute goes too long, you quickly start to lose credibility with your audience. Going to long is being disrespectful of the other members time. It also makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. Rehearse and time your 60 second presentations. Take advantage of the spot light your given.

Common Mistake #5. Trying to cram too much in!"
I often hear 60 second presentations that start off with a long lists of what I call the "I do's". Here the presenter is trying to squeeze every aspect of their business in to 60 second, (which is like try to put 10 lbs of sand in a 5 lb bag). This mistake is often made worse when the presenter uses the words "I specialize in" and then they rattle off their long list of "I' do's". The cure for this mistake is being focused and specific. Pick a single subject. Develop a story around that subject and pace yourself. You don’t' want to come across like your reading a disclaimer, instead make sure there is time for strategic silences and a smooth flow.

Common Mistake #4. "Not asking for a referral!"
I have seen many new BNI members stand and give a great description of what they do and what benefits they offer and how they are different from their competition and totally forget to ask for a referral. The best way to fix this is to begin with the end in mind. Start with the referral you want and build the 60 second presentation around it. See a previous article on "Simple ideas to get you started" at .

Common Mistake #3. "Not using stories."
It's important that your message connect with the audience at an emotional level. Many rookie BNI members and net workers will stand and spit out facts, figure and studies "showing that they are the best". But they receive few if any referral from these messages. There is a saying in sales that goes something like this; "Facts Tell and Stories sell". If you can wrap an emotionally charged story around your focused subject you are more likely to compel someone to action. Always mention the customer pain and make yourself the white night who rescues them.

Common Mistake #2. "Not saying what to do or say."
I have seen net workers stand up an present very moving sale manager minutes full of emotion and words that move you to action. However many time these other wise great 60 second presentations are render mediocre because they did not "tell you what to do or say", when you recognize their dream referral. They did not give you the piece of information that empowers them to act on your behalf. My 60 second presentations usually end with "give them my card and ask when I can call" or something like, "tell them about our free refrigerator, good thru the end of the month, or tell them to go to my website to see it there, or ask if they would like to meet." In many cases if you don't tell your partners what to do they will do nothing! Empower them, tell them what to say and do.

Common Mistake #1 Last but not least "Not being specific." This mistake is a relative of #4, not asking for a referral. Here the member ask for too broad of a referral. Not asking for a specific referral is like asking your referral partners to do a lot of work for you (work you should have already done for them). The rookie networker will say things like “so if you know somebody”, or they may say “anybody you know who”, try to get a hit. They are assuming that if you cast a wide net you will catch more fish. But the opposite is what really works best. Plus if you really think about it, there is no category in your brain called anybody or some body. No individuals are stored there. It doesn't compute. Giving your partner a specific company, the person name you’re looking to connect with and their position makes it much easier for anybody’s brain to come up with a match. If you can't say a specific name, create a 5 point profile describing the person that you’re looking for. The easier you make it for your partners, the greater the likely hood of receiving your requested referral (or at least something similar to it).

Of the top 10 mistake, removing #1 will produce the greatest return for your efforts. Don't get me wrong I want you to eliminate all 10 of these common mistakes. When you do, you will find that you have increased your credibility, are getting more and better quality referral and best of all you will really start to grow your business. Future segments will talk about another dozen plus mistakes you will want to eliminate. Until then, work on these and let me know how its helping you.

That's My Opinion, I welcome yours.

Hector Cisneros is an entrepreneur/businessman with over 25 years experience, is a 17-year veteran of BNI, and was BNI Director for 6 years. Currently he manages 3 businesses, writes and coach's business people in the art of Word of Mouth and internet marketing. He has several intl. published articles covering word of mouth marketing, social media marketing and how to improve your 60-second presentations. His new book "60 Seconds to Success" is aimed at helping business people make great first impressions and make more money through referral and word of mouth marketing. To learn more about Social Media, Internet Marketing d Word of Mouth Marketing visit the Networkers Apprentice workshop at To contact Hector write him at
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Thank you for reading my blog and for keeping the discussion going. If I can be of service let me know. Sincerely,

Hector Cisneros

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