Crafting Audience Profiles For Your Sales Pitches

You’ve probably heard of “consumer profiles,” and while those can be incredibly helpful as well, the article and infographic below are about “audience profiles” When we make a presentation or sales pitch, we are conversing with an audience. What does this audience look like? That’s what we’re talking about here. Enjoy! There are few things more important to the sales messaging process than the creation of an audience profile. Though this is just one piece of the 6 step system, it is foundational to the overall message you’re crafting. You have to be clear who you’re speaking to in order to achieve your intended goals. Once created, it should be continuously updated to reflect the dynamics of the audience you will present to. I’ve identified 10 elements that should be considered in order to create each audience profile. To help you get started, check out our graphic below for 5 questions that will help you formulate 5 of the 10 key elements. How To Craft Audience Profiles   1. Define the Meeting Purpose Before conducting a meeting, it’s imperative to ask yourself why the meeting is being held. This will give you a clear understanding of your goals and purpose, thus making it easier for you to create a sales message that is hyper focused on the issues at hand. 2. Define Your Target Audience Who exactly would you like to attend this particular meeting? This is your target audience. Write down their names and send them an invitation with adequate time to commit. 3. Set the Date, Time and Location Though this step seems like a given, the thought that goes behind it is often overlooked. After defining your target audience, decide the best place to meet that will assist you in achieving your desired outcome. Your office may not always be the best place, so consider other possibilities. Do so by carefully considering the attendees and decide the most strategic place of operation. When choosing your venue, take the time to also decide a date and time that makes it easiest for them to attend. 4. Envision the Outcome It’s crucial to define your desired outcome long before the meeting or presentation takes place. Do you want those in attendance to schedule a follow up meeting? Agree to hire you? Decide to sign a contract? No matter what the end goal, consider in advance what you can do to specifically tailor your messaging around your desired result. Remember! Success is never accidental. 5. List Your Allies Think of those who will be in attendance and make a mental or physical list of who will most likely agree with the solution or ideas you will present. These are your allies. Make a point to speak with them before the meeting to ensure their buy-in. And while you present, make eye contact with them often. Positive feedback and support from your allies can be your best marketing campaign. Enjoy Success! The audience profile is an important tool to help clearly identify the prospect, their critical issues and concerns and who the decision makers are. Don’t forget! The decision makers need to be in the room. And remember, this is only the first step in designing an effective sales message. Using an audience profile, though, will keep you focused, prepared and ultimately, facilitate your success. By building profiles, your focus remains on the most important people in the room: your audience.   ...

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. ...

Start it Right: How To Build A Sales Presentation

Every sales message has the intent of being successful by driving your audience to action. However, not all sales messages achieve this goal. I have found that in order to be truly exceptional, it is critical that your sales message starts the right way, with the proper cornerstone in place. It’s about knowing how to build a sales presentation. To be exceptional, you must use a well-designed communication principle that builds upon a firm, audience-centric foundation. As an example, let me quote from an article by The Hartford that gives sales guidance to business owners. In the “Business Owner’s Playbook,” The Hartford communicates a familiar message for sales: Identify the problem. Appeal to your audience’s emotions, and get them thinking that they really need to find a solution to this problem. This builds trust, and shows that you “get it.” Present the solution. Introduce and describe your product or service and touch on why it solves the problem. Demonstrate value. Go into more detail on how your product or service solves the problem. Use research results, statistics, awards, testimonials, and specific examples to build your case. State a call to action. The call to action is probably the single most defining feature of direct response marketing. It clearly tells the customer what you expect them to do next. Give them the tools and contact points, such as a phone number, email address, shopping cart link, or website link depending on the action you want them to take. This sales message is good. It is not exceptional. We can identify an opportunity to take a good sales message and transform it into one that is clear, concise, and compelling. The transformation begins at the most basic, foundational level. It begins with laying the appropriate audience-centric cornerstone as mentioned above. This critical piece is missing in The Hartford example. Once in place, the cornerstone will be built provide support for a more cohesive and compelling message that makes a stronger impact on the audience. Understanding the Cornerstone Concept The cornerstone of your sales message must be intensely focused on your audience. It must hone in on his primary goal or objective. Many times, the goal is confused and out of order. Instead of being in-tune with the goal of the audience, the message is more in-tune with the goal of our own company — “to get the audience to buy our product.” That is the wrong order. The most effective sales message keeps the the goal of the audience first and the goal of our own company as a natural second. The goal and objective of your audience is specific to him, and it is almost always ultimately to increase revenue or reduce overhead. Key Point – In crafting the cornerstone of your sales message: Listen carefully to your audience. Learn what he desires. Refer to it often. Once the cornerstone is in place, the building blocks of your sales message will support and remind the audience that you understand his goal, recognize his problem, and have the best solution to reach his goal. The building blocks will look more like this: Cornerstone Goal – State your audience’s objective or desired outcome Pain Points – Acknowledge your understanding of his problem Solution – Demonstrate how and why your company provides the best solution to overcome his problem and achieve his goal (referring back to points one and two) Supporting Arguments – Present data and statistics to underscore the credibility of your company’s solution. Present facts in a simple, visual way that is easy for him to understand. Closing Arguments – Stay focused on the audience’s goal and clearly communicate what you want your audience to do after hearing your message. Resist the temptation to give him more information than he needs to make an informed decision. If you remember that your audience is king, they will respect you for it, and your sales message will be exceptional. Sales Message: Start Right with the Cornerstone ...