This post is part of the Blog Carnival over at DeFinis Communications: The Impact of Public Speaking on Top Sales Performance. Drop by and check out the great posts from many talented bloggers.
Volumes have been written about the skills needed for successful sales presentations. Advice abounds about how to present benefits, not features; how to conduct product demos; how to use influencing techniques; how to establish rapport; how to close; and more.
Top sales performers embrace not only these sales skills but, most importantly, this fundamental of effective presenting: focus on the audience. They are clear that a sales presentation should be a dialogue between salesperson and audience. Most sales presentations typically involve small enough numbers of people to facilitate this.
WHAT DOES FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE MEAN?
It's easy to use a term like this and assume that everyone understands the same thing. But there are specific behaviors to adopt to demonstrate genuine audience focus.
- Be Flexible Observe your audience's reactions as you're speaking. Be prepared to pause the presentation if you notice any confusion, skepticism or boredom. It's better to address these issues rather than let them grow. Notice any signs of agreement and reinforce them. Be flexible enough to deviate from your planned comments and pursue a different conversation if that seems important to the audience. If you know your material well enough, you'll easily be able to get back on track.
- Ask Questions Do this frequently during the presentation to assess the audience's understanding and buy in. This also allows you to uncover objections early so you can address them. Incorporate their answers and reflect them back, as appropriate, later in the presentation.
- Show Emotion If you're not enthusiastic about and committed to the value of your product, your service or yourself, why would your audience be? Sincere enthusiasm will enhance your credibility. As well, relating to your audience on a human level helps establish rapport.
- Listen Listening [that means not talking!] to your audience's comments will give you insights into how they're receiving your information and what underlying thoughts, concerns or questions they might have. Give them your full attention and don't prepare your answer while they are speaking.