Why Salespeople Need to Start Presenting Conversationally

If good sales people were to think of themselves as superheroes, then assumptions about their customer would be, without question, their only kryptonite.

Whether they’d like to admit it or not, everything about the customers’ requirements is assumed knowledge, and for good reason - because more often than not, they’re bang on the money.

If you speak day in and out with customers who possess some sort of requirement for your product, then inevitably, you’re going to learn a few things along the way.

Naturally, this is going to inform your view of what you think that everyone needs.

This experience is both simultaneously a salesperson's greatest strength, and the source of their most profound weakness.

On the former, it allows them to convey a sense of authority, expertise and proof of capability (think of why case studies are such a powerful sales tool), but on the latter, it fails to consider the specific nuances of need, and leaves no space for exceptions to the rule.

After all, experience is merely a definition based on an aggregation of similar, earlier customers - but it’s unlikely they would have all been the same.

So, traditional one-way presentations are inferior to a conversational, two-way presentation.

Even a good, one-way presentation can only appeal to the average customer. Take, for example, using a traditional slide presentation to sell antivirus software to the Department of Defence.  

If one were to use a generic slide presentation, even if it were designed for government customers, then it’s likely that the relevance of this to the customer would be adequate.

Did anyone ever get rich from doing something adequately? I’ve heard ‘no’ somewhere before...

As is clear to all sales people reading this, inevitably the Department of Defence are going to have some pretty complex requirements aside from that of the average agency.

And when you don’t know your audience, you’ll get the glazed eyes no more than ten minutes in - which is a hard one to climb back from. The speaker will exhaust their energy on simply regaining the audience's attention - rather than focusing on why their solution warrants a purchase order.

A conversational presentation style, on the other hand, requires the customer to participate, and allows the salesperson to deep-dive into their requirements in a way not possible with a generic one-way.

The added bonus? They can quickly identify and omit portions that are irrelevant, which allows a more specific sell - a key component to complex, high-touch products and services, where the customer may lack expertise and will have an endless list of needs.

Gaining a distinct competitive advantage over the competition, due to a far greater understanding of the customer’s requirements? 

That's a real super power.