As a sales rep, you may be hawking nuts and bolts to a distributor or medical supplies to a hospital. Part of your sales process may involve making a presentation to an audience made up of prospects who, at best, are neutral. At worst, some of these people will be hostile to what they think you are going to say. Is there any way you can increase your chance of success in these conditions? Yes, says Dr. Jim Anderson who blogs at theaccidentalcommunicator.com.
The best way to connect with an audience during any kind of speech, especially a sales presentation, is to get creative. You understand your product or service. If you’ve been listening to your prospect during your preliminary meetings, you know what concerns him most. You may also know a few personal details about the guy who will be making the buy decision. Maybe he’s a golfer, or maybe he indicated an interest in trying skydiving.
Use your creativity to write a story into your presentation. Sure, you have your usual slides packed with statistics and data. At some point, that information will come into play. But, you can capture initial interest from your audience by setting the stage with the problem the prospect is facing. Then, develop the middle by plotting out what might happen if the prospect does nothing and what the outcome might be if he chooses a competitor’s solution. Near the end of the story, depict the protagonist as succeeding after he purchases your product and uses it to successfully solve his problem.
Another way to succeed is to present information that teaches the audience something new. Take the time to unearth unusual pieces of data about their industry or their company, and weave it into the details of your proposal.
You only have one change to make a first impression. Tap into your creativity to capture your audience's attention. Once you do that, the prospect will be more open to listening to your pitch.