For many of us, bringing a pet, a favorite toy or even person to school for show and tell was our earliest experience using a prop. Why didn’t the teacher just have us tell a story? Because teachers know that a verbal story alone is not enough to hold the attention of a room full of children. While your prospects are likely a bit older, show and tell is still one of the most powerful ways to gain an audience’s attention and improve recall. According to Toastmasters, listeners only retain 10% of what they’ve heard one week later. This percentage increases to 67% when visual aids are added to the equation. I’ve seen a lot of presenters use props, some successful, and some…not so much. Using a prop simply to grab attention at any cost is a cheap trick that often backfires in a presenter’s face. Like anything in a Read More
If your prospect had a remote, would he be tempted to change the channel on your presentation or demo? That’s a tough question to ask yourself, but given the number of choices today’s buyers have and the demands on their attention, you need to take a hard look at just how compelling your presentation or demo is to your audience.
The bar has been raised. And if you haven’t raised your presentation game with it, you’re going to get left behind. We live in a time where most people have been exposed to hundreds, maybe thousands of presentations. Showing up and walking through a slide deck and parading our your features and benefits like salespeople have been doing for decades, is not going to help you win deals.
Today’s presentations have to be better than average, they have to be compelling in order to break through the clutter, stand out from the competition, and move buyers to the next step in the sales cycle. And by compelling I’m not talking about slides, or templates or platforms, but rather great substance, structure and delivery. The elements that make your prospect say, “Wow, they really understand us.” And that, my sales friends, is compelling.
If you’re uncertain whether your presentation is compelling or not, shoot me an email and let’s talk. Don’t wait to find out until your prospect changes the channel from you…to your competition.
Holy Hollywood Batman! We lost another film icon this week – the first Batman, Adam West. It got me thinking about the lasting power of the movies. Even today, busy executives who can’t sit still for a ten minute meeting will carve out the time to watch a two-hour plus movie. Movies have honed the secret to engaging audiences from years of practice and experimentation. While your presentation doesn’t have to be worthy of an Oscar nod, it pays to leverage techniques and tips from the movies for engaging buyers and standing out from the competition. 3 Sales Tips from the Movies for Engaging Buyers in your Presentation: 1. Cut to the chase Movies don’t start with the director giving his resume or telling the audience what they’re going to be seeing, or why he made the movie. No! Movies are much more likely to start with a car chase, Read More
Questions are a sign of a healthy presentation. They typically indicate interest and create important opportunities to interact and gain insight into a prospect’s thinking. Therefore, it’s not surprising that most salespeople have a knee-jerk reaction to answer every question on the spot. But does every question require – or deserve – an immediate or full blown answer? What about questions that may take you deep into the weeds, eat up time, confuse or even alienate other audience members? Or questions from people with conflicting agendas or ulterior motives? These are the types of things that can quickly derail your presentation (and the deal!) Keeping an open dialogue with your audience is vital to a successful presentation today. But you must balance that with the clock and your – and your prospect’s – objectives for the meeting. To be an effective salesperson, you must have a strategy for handling questions in Read More
I once made a sandwich, responded to an email, and let the dog out – all while “watching” an online presentation. I’m not proud. And I’m not alone. InterCall, the world’s largest conference call company found that audiences are engaged in a number of activities while on conference calls. For example: Doing other work (65%) Eating or making food (55%) On-line shopping (21%) It’s not a huge leap to conclude that similar behaviors extend to an online presentation where the cloak of invisibility and easy access to multiple devices invites the opportunity to escape. When you are presenting online, maintaining your audience’s attention presents a unique set of challenges. Understanding how to keep your audience engaged, and working with the challenges of the medium, requires some strategic but necessary adjustments in the design and delivery of your on-line presentation. Here are 5 key adjustments you should make: 5 Tips Read More
Imagine being just two minutes into your presentation and someone in your audience announces, “Please stop, I’m bored.” This is precisely what happens each year at the Ig Nobel’s ceremony at Harvard. This much-anticipated awards ceremony honors the most unusual achievements in science, medicine and technology. 2016 winners included a Japanese team whose study concluded that “things look different when viewed from between your legs,” and a German team who discovered that “if you have an itch on one side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the opposite side of your body.” (I can’t wait to try this one out!) The Ig Nobel Prize is put on by the Annals of Improbable Research to spur curiosity and help people decide for themselves what’s important and what’s not. A decision that audiences do all the time during any presentation. Like most things about Read More
It can feel like a “win” just to be able to get in front of busy decision-makers to present your product or solution today. But in sales, that’s just the beginning. In order to move prospects to take action, you need to do more than get an audience and talk through your slides. You need to engage and interact with that audience . There’s a lot of chatter about audience “engagement”, but what does it really mean? Here’s a good definition: Engagement: emotional involvement or commitment I’m sure you have a strong logical case for why your prospect should buy your solution. I bet your competitor does too. But research shows that most purchases are made on emotion and justified by logic. Emotion trumps logic, which is why we should all be unwavering in our quest for audience engagement. Audience Engagement: The Holy Grail of Sales Presentations Not only are Read More
While you may never experience an interruption of Kanye proportions during your presentation or demo, you’ve probably encountered one of these 4 personality types who consciously or unconsciously seem hell bent on derailing your presentation. Handle it poorly, and you can find yourself back at square one with your prospect or out of the running entirely. If you present for a living, you need to have a plan for addressing potential derailers so you can keep your presentation from veering way off track and meet the goals of your audience. 4 Personality Types that can derail your presentation – and how to stop them in their tracks: * The Kanye Just like when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift as she accepted a VMA award, the Kanye has no problem letting you know anytime they disagree. Right in the middle of your opening or making a key point? No problem. Kanye is only Read More
I love Jimmy Fallon’s monologue. It’s clever and topical. It’s short and interactive. It’s everything a sales monologue in a presentation is not. To be fair, delivering a monologue is exceptionally difficult — even for the pros. It’s always easier for performers to interact with another actor in a scene or for a television host to interview a guest, than to stand up and talk directly to an audience solo for four to five minutes. Too many salespeople approach their sales presentation as a series of long monologues to get through – without understanding what it takes to keep an audience’s attention during that time. How often in your personal life do you stop and allow someone to speak to you for five or ten minutes straight without some type of response or interaction? Unless you’re taking a class or being “told off”, probably not often. Yet, that’s exactly what Read More
Bad news: Your attempts to engage your virtual audience by chatting or polling or drawing on the screen won’t make much of a difference UNLESS, you change this one thing in your web presentation or demo. Ready? Here it is: Adjust Your Style What do I mean by this? You are (hopefully!) adjusting your content to fit each prospect you speak to, but I bet you haven’t put any thought into adjusting the way you deliver that content to fit the medium. Imagine a stage actor who is used to working in the theater in front of a live audience, suddenly cast in a television show. And instead of adjusting to the new medium, he uses the same movements, vocal style, timing and delivery. What would happen? The actor BOMBS! The audience is confused or bored, changes the channel and vows never to watch that show again! Remember the film, Read More