Al Gore and Bill Clinton.
Sitting side by side, watching you make a presentation.
Al's not saying a word. He's watching you carefully.
His face is painted a deep shade of scepticism.
And as you look at Clinton, you see a different picture. Clinton's smiling; he's got that goofy grin that seems to light up a room. And he's nodding his head at all the right spots.
Al's not saying much
He's quiet; almost too quiet. And if you were making a sales pitch of sorts, you'd spend an inordinate time pandering to Bill's nods, and kinda avoiding Al.
But how do you know Al's not the buyer?
In a buying scenario, nodders are not always the buyers. So suddenly, you've been pitchforked into a situation, where Al is the buyer, and Bill is the nodder. And you're selling to Bill.
How to avoid getting into an aaaaaaargh situation
In almost every selling situation, you're going to run into one Al and one Bill. Or shades of Al in Bill. Or shades of Bill in Al.
So how do you sell to such different personalities simultaneously?
Because about twenty seconds into facts, figures and statistics, Bill's eyes are going to glaze over. About forty seconds into cutesy stories, and Al's thinking: “How do I throttle this presenter?”
Avoid this needless storm in a teacup
There are three important factors you need to cover in a sales situation, to make sure everyone in the room is sitting up and paying close attention to what you're saying.
The three factors being…
Step 1: Creating the drama.
Step 2: Setting the scenario for irrefutable proof (facts)
Step 3: Setting the scenario for a story/analogy (big picture)
When I'm presenting the Brain Audit live…
Step 1: Creating the drama:
I'll create the drama with a chair. The audience is expecting to see me talk about marketing. Instead I show them a chair.
And I sit on it and stand up. Sit on it, and stand up. And then I sit on it and stand up for the third time.
Step 2: Creating irrefutable proof (facts)
I'll ask the audience: “Who expected the chair to break?” And of course, no one expects the chair to break. I then explain why. “Because it's based on scientific principles. And that communication is based on randomness.” I explain the reason why we get random results, is because there's no science in our communication, that enables specific response.
At this point, I appeal to the ‘fact-based' people in the group.
And I use a trigger that guarantees that everyone (yes, everyone) in the room will have the same question on their mind, in under 27 minutes. This keeps the fact-based audience members alert and listening as I switch to the big-picture audience.
Step 3: Creating the big picture
I'll create an analogy of being at the airport. And how you put on seven red bags at one end. And are waiting for the seven red bags, as they come out on the conveyor belt at your destination. The story goes on to reveal how even if one bag is missing, you don't leave the airport. And I tie this in back to the concept of having all the red bags (mentioned in the Brain Audit). And thus a big picture is created for the visual-types in the audience.
But just getting a picture or facts is not enough
As you switch to the ‘Als' in the group, the ‘Bills' get kinda bored. And vice-versa. To keep both of the groups involved almost all the time, your presentation must have sprinkling of facts and pictures, popping up at a pre-defined sequence.
But how do you convert this concept to a website or direct mail?
On a website, your story and analogy are the big picture. Your graphics, your bullet points, etc. are the facts. Together they help the customer to get the exact details they need to make a buying decision. In fact, a sales page without these components or both visual and fact-based selling will suffer in terms of conversion.
It hardly matters whether you're presenting live, or selling through a website or a brochure. What matters is the cycling of facts and figures at regular intervals, so that both the audiences are paying rapt attention.
All buyers aren't nodders
Al may not nod. Clinton most certainly will. Don't necessarily look for the nods and big smiles. The nods and smiles only represent part of your buying audience.
Your job is to create the drama, the big picture and the facts. And to keep rotating the sequence from the start of your presentation to l'extrémité. Your job is to create the sale, which you most certainly will do, if you follow this system.
And who knows, Al may even smile when giving you his credit card!
I recently gave a presentation to a small group of parents and I actually got the Al reaction as well as the Bill reaction. And I was wondering what to do. But when I look back, I somehow realize that I, in fact, had bits of facts and drama mixed in my presentation.
I could absolutely relate to this post! (Super-Awesome)
Sean D'Souza says
Thanks Varun. Say hi to Rajesh.
Thanks for the great information! But thanks, too, for putting a print button at the bottom of your page — Sometimes we still need paper!