4 Reasons Why Conversational Presentations Lead To Higher Conversion Rates

As any prospective customer will tell you: they don't want a presentation, they want a conversation.  

A-one-size-fits-all, overly rehearsed rendition of features and benefits has, for some time, been regarded as the inferior method of securing a dotted line sign. And yet, we’re all still sitting through them.

Most professional presentations exist, still, as a one-way dialogue. Think of your most recent internal corporate communications speech, whereby the visuals were designed to support the presenter in communicating their message. What was the interaction like, aside from the obligatory applause at the end?

It wouldn’t be a far stretch to assume you felt like you were talked at, and not to, right?

So, let’s discuss the shift that’s directly linked to success rates - conversational presenting.

According to The RAIN Group, the top two habits of successful sales people (according to their customers), comes down to the way the salesperson educates prospects with new ideas or perspectives, and helps them feel like they’re collaborating.

Like this, with conversational presenting, the visuals play a second, and arguably more important role, leading to the facilitation of two-way dialogue, because it combines the two. Sales is all about dragging out of customers the known, unknown and fundamental pain-points of their problem, so that the salesperson is able to address these in a superior manner to the competition.

So often a sale is lost not because their requirements weren’t met, but because the customer wasn't even aware of them, and the implications of addressing (or not addressing them) fully.

Unbeknownst to the the sales rep, the customer actually only understood about 40% of their own needs, leading the salesperson to go in informationally blind. How many times have you felt sure that you've fully addressed a customer's’ requirements, only to lose the sale on the basis that you didn't?

A good sales engagement is almost entirely about helping the prospect to realise exactly what they want - within the time constraints of your session.

As an example, let’s say you need a new car (and, for the purpose of the argument, you aren't a car enthusiast). What are some of the features you’ll want in your hypothetical ride?

I'll bet a telescoping steering wheel isn’t one; not because it wouldn't be a handy feature, but because in all likelihood, you probably didn't know it existed until just then. With technology moving so fast, asking a customer what they want is, at best case adequate, and at worst case comical.

Thus, conversational presenting is superior to a conversation or a presentation alone.  

1. Structure + Disorganisation = Quality Discussion

Salespeople have varying degrees of partiality to structure and the necessity of it. Some value it, some don't and, as with all spectrums, the truth tends to lie somewhere in the middle. For effective sales, specific topics (like requirements, implications, price and timeframes) need to be covered. However, the quality and depth of dialogue for each topic can only be achieved through a free-form discussion that ebbs and flows towards a meeting of minds between the parties involved. A good conversational presentation facilitates dialogue around specific topics that your sales presentation needs to address, and aides the ability of the rep to delve more deeply into the specifics than their competition.

2. Quality Conversation + Quality Product Perception = Sales

The probability of closing a sale is directly proportional to the degree to which the customers’ requirements are met. And, the mechanism by which these requirements are uncovered is through an unstructured dialogue on predetermined topics. Using the example we touched on above relating to your dream car (that telescoping steering wheel - what a doozy!), it’s only through an in-depth, two-way dialogue that the car salesperson would uncover the fact that multiple people, of differing heights, in your family would be driving - so a telescoping steering wheel might be of benefit.

3. The Company With The Clearest Advantage Wins

Now, all you need to show how you can satisfy these requirements, right? Wrong. Herein lies the dirty little secret that most buyers don't want salespeople to know: they don't really know what they’re buying. Take, for example, the sales and pre-sales reps selling phone systems: they spend 60 hours a week working with them, and they’ve read all about the newest technology so that they can be across their competition fully. The buyer, however, is juggling five other projects, and only realised they needed a new phone system yesterday out of sheer unluck.

Every salesperson assumes that their customers’ level of knowledge is on par with their own, when the reality is so far from that. As such, claims about how advantageous their solution is over the competitions can be lost in translation very quickly as a standalone value proposition. When implementing a conversational presentation, however, the salesperson might understand that the buyer is frantic, because their previous subscription ended without anyone on staff noticing. Compound that with the fact that they’re time-poor - and the sales rep has a strong pitch for something they can implement back in quickly.

Only through a conversational presentation could they mine the depths of that particular client's’ psyche to understand exactly what was driving their purchase decision - and lead to the sale.