Sales conversations are more engaging than sales presentations – talking with is more effective than talking at.
The culprit is inherent in the nature of presentations. In a presentation information is being presented to us. We sit quietly while someone “shows” us something and “tells” us why we need to do something. Often the presenter uses phrases like “it’s critical …” or “the research clearly shows” in order that the listener is aware of the importance of what is being presented.
There is a core problem with presentations; it is easy to tune out. We don’t listen to all the information coming at us because we are being talked at.
Why are conversations much more engaging than presentations? Information is revealed, but it’s couched in a conversational narrative that conveys a desire for mutual understanding and comprehension. We are invited to hear what is being shared and take it in on a personal level. It feels authentic and real to us.
While most successful salespeople are relatively good at interacting with single individuals as soon as they have a meeting with multiple people the train often jumps the track. “Talking to” goes way up … and “talking with” goes way down. But need it? And more importantly should it? Short answer in both cases is: No.
Just because the meeting is with multiple people does not mean you have to launch into presentation mode and start talking more. In reality, when talking with a group, each person in the audience is listening as an individual so remembering that point will automatically result in a better connection with your audience.
Now are there times in sales when you have to do a traditional formal type presentation – with PowerPoints and all the rest. Yes, of course. But too often we jump into that mode when it is not necessary. In most multi-people meetings and even in some formal presentations, the better way is to remember: business conversations trump product presentations.
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