Question: Two actors are auditioning for one role. Both are equally qualified and both read from the same script. Yet only one actor wins the role while the other goes home empty handed. Why?
Answer: You may have answered something like: “the winning actor brought personality to the role, he had charisma, he made the audience feel the lines.” But whatever your answer was, I bet it didn’t have anything to do with the words he used!
This is not unlike what happens in a sales presentation or demo. Many vendor presentations use the same words and even scripts as their competitors. Things get blurry for our customers — especially as differences between products and services get smaller and buying cycles lengthen. So while a well-crafted message is a critical component of your presentation, don’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting by overlooking the tools right at your fingertips that can make that critical difference between winning and losing a role in your prospect’s business.
2 Secret Sales Weapons
The actor who won the role was able to bring those words to life for his audience, helping them connect emotionally to the words on the page. His winning audition didn’t require any slides, or bullet points, or fancy graphics. He simply used the tools he had available to him — his voice and body — in a way that brought meaning to the words, captured his audience’s attention, and sparked their imagination.
Like an actor, you have access to those same tools when you are in front of your prospect. From the sound and the quality of your voice to the way you stand or move, these are your secret sales weapons and they are constantly impacting how your audience perceives you, your company, and your solution. Check out the results from a well-known study about how humans receive communication:
93% of what we communicate to another person initially has nothing to with the words we use. Yet most of us spend 99% of our time focused on that 7% – the words!
Use your tools well and your prospect is drawn to your message and enticed by the picture you’re painting. Use them poorly, and your prospect may not form a clear or flattering picture in his mind or even hear your message. Utilizing your voice and body to focus your audience’s attention, keep them tuned in, and transfer powerful emotions can give you an unfair advantage over your competition. In a competitive market, you’d be wise to use it.
A good place to start is by assessing how you’re currently using your tools. I recommend recording yourself during practice (or an actual presentation if you have permission) and as you review it (a glass of wine can help dull the pain), ask yourself the following questions:
Your Sales Weapon Assessment:
- How was my pace? Was it lively and varied, or did nerves cause me to rush?
- Did I enunciate clearly? Or did I mumble or stumble over words?
- Did I pause after statements or questions? Or did I blow right through to the next point?
- Did my personality shine through my voice? Or did I fall into a monotone or “presenter mode”?
- So, did I, um, sort of, you know, use a lot of filler words?
- Was I attentive, energized and loose? Or did I appear tense or sluggish?
- Was my posture confident and natural? Or uncertain and shrinking?
- Were my movements purposeful or rambling?
- Did my expressions match my words? Or did I forget to tell my face what I was feeling?
- Were my gestures natural and used to emphasize key points? Or were my hands over or under active?
- Were there any distracting mannerisms that took away from my message?
Likely you have spotted some areas for improvement. With practice and direction you can learn to use these secret sales weapons to connect with your audience and drive home key points. Read through the recommended posts above for tips on improvement. With good feedback you can start to identify and eliminate vocal and physical habits that can send your prospect straight to his smartphone. And by spending less than 7 minutes doing a simple physical and vocal warm-up, you can ensure that you’re communicating at your persuasive best in every presentation. A good place to start right now is by downloading a Free copy of my 7 Minute Power Presenter Warm-up on my Resources page.