The Art And Science Of Selling (Part 4)

When we are designing and honing our sales presentations, it’s easy to wind up with way more information than necessary. For the audience’s sake, we need to whittle away that which isn’t vital to the communication process, and then organize the stuff we decide to keep in a way that will hold the audience’s attention. Without further ado, here are a few “cinematic” tips for organizing a sales presentation. Organizing The “Scenes” Of Your Messaging Just like a good movie, a good presentation should have logical continuity. You can achieve this in your presentation by thinking of the components as “scenes,” and making sure your scenes flow logically (again… like in a movie). There should be a proper order that makes the most sense, so make sure you find it! Here are a few common examples of continuity that might provide the right structure for your presentation: Chronological Order – A timeline, essentially. First things first, last things last, etc. Climactic Order – Start with the smaller, less important details and save the most dramatic and important event for last. Problem/Solution Order – Build a case by giving a problem, then giving the solution. Rinse and repeat. Topical Order – Break your main topic down into smaller subtopics, tying each subtopic back to the main one. Logical Order – End each of your points with a transition that directly sets up the next one. Storyboarding & Transitions (also known as “Brain Candy”) Storyboarding Storyboarding was a tactic employed by Walt Disney Studios in the 30’s that remains in use today. It is a way to “preview” what the final product will look like before actually producing it. For a complex presentation, one with many points or topics that require structure and transitions, the clarity provided by a good storyboarding session will be well worth the time investment. Transitions Transitions are the glue that hold the “scenes” together. To neglect your transitions is to risk losing your audience to confusion or boredom. When designing transitions, think, “how can I connect Point A with Point B?” Here’s the basic structure for connecting your points with a transition: Point A: We have more than 3 critical bugs. Transition: For example… Point B: Voicemail only records for 12 seconds instead of 24. The transition (“For example…”) indicates to your audience that Point B is actually one of the bugs hinted at by Point A. It’s a subtle touch, but makes a huge difference to your audience if you are dropping a lot of information on them. Ask For Feedback Feedback is vitally important to fine-tuning your message over time. After a presentation, always ask your audience to tell you what they thought of it. If they were bored and started playing with their phone or tuned you out because certain points didn’t connect well, then you know your transitions could use some work. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it can also be a specific and powerful motivator for improving our sales messaging. Remember, confused prospects rarely buy. In these past four parts, we have been exploring the concepts that our six-step system has been built upon. In the next part of our series, we will dive right into the actual steps of The Ultimate Sales Messaging System. The six steps are divided into two overarching categories: Design and Delivery. Over the next several installments in this series, we’ll be breaking down the ABC’s and XYZ’s that will be instrumental in improving your sales messaging. Design Step 1: The Audience Profile Step 2: The Basic Building Block Step 3: The Content Storyboard Delivery Step 4: eXamine Your Content Step 5: Your Preparation Step 6: Zero In On Your Audience That is what’s to come in our series. We’re glad to be with you on your journey to mastering sales and becoming an excellent communicator. To review the first three parts of the series, click below: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 ...

A New Perspective On Sales Messaging [Infographic]

You may not know this about me, but I have a love of public speaking. While many people shy away from getting in front of a crowd and delivering a message, others are downright afraid of it. Not me. I enjoy speaking so much that I have done it competitively through Toastmasters. My guess is that if you are in sales you at least share my interest in communicating, even if you have not done it competitively. I Like IT. Beyond my interest in public speaking, I have another interest. I enjoy technology. In fact, I was an engineer in corporate America for two decades. While in that role, I made an observation about sales presentations. Some were successful and some failed. I wondered why. Failures sparked questions. I began looking critically at our sales presentations to learn what made them different. Why did some efforts as sales communications fall short? In addition to my critical analysis, I started asking for customer feedback when we failed to close a deal. The results from my analysis combined with their feedback was informative. No, it was astounding! Analysis brought answers. I concluded the presentations used by the sales team failed because they did not effectively address the customers’ questions of how our product would make them more money or how our product would help eliminate their biggest problem. I also observed that our presentations were not clear. They were not concise. They were not engaging nor were they interactive. In fact, the traditional slide deck presentations were overwhelming our customers with too much information. Too many details and too much data about the technology was presented while not giving them the real information they were longing to hear. We changed our perspective. So I developed a system to help communicate the sales message in a way that would connect with the customers’ needs, and give the customers an opportunity to be involved in learning how our product would help them increase revenue and/or eliminate their biggest problem. The following infographic highlights some of the ways a traditional presentation, like the ones our team used, can fail, and how a new perspective on sales messaging can help to transform a presentation into an effective tool that brings results. (Click to enlarge the infographic.) Giving customers what they want. The new perspective I gained on how to deliver a successful sales message became abundantly clear. Customers who listened to the presentations did not want many details that would bog them down; they wanted solutions to their problems. They wanted to know how to make more money at the end of the day so their businesses would grow. They wanted sales reps who could make the material simple and easy to understand, and who were equipped with the knowledge to answer their questions. I have seen this system work again and again. Traditional communication methods that rely primarily on overfilled slide decks can cause your listeners’ eyes to glaze and their minds to wander. Those communication styles fall short of telling the audience what they really want to know. Instead, put this new systematic approach into practice. Change your perspective from what you have to tell the customer to what the customer needs to learn. Then, customize the learning to specifically address their issues and objectives. It’s not complicated, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s simplified, interactive, and… it works. ...