April 3

Entertainment is Everywhere…until the Sales Presentation Starts


The average American spends more money on entertainment than on gas, household furnishings or clothing.  Global spending on entertainment and media is over $1.8 Trillion dollars. What does that have to do with you—a salesperson who doesn’t sell entertainment or media-related products or services?  It has everything to do with you: These people are your customers.  If you don’t recognize the influence that entertainment has on your customers and leverage it in your sales presentation or conversation, you are placing yourself at a real disadvantage.

“But I am there to sell.  Not to provide entertainment!”  Let me draw your attention to the origins of the word, entertainment:

Entertainment (Latin):  “To hold the attention of”

Gaining and holding the attention of prospects is more challenging than ever.  Entertainment can help you achieve that and ensure your message is heard.

Now, who’s in the entertainment business?!

Just like you, your prospect likely attendsmovies, concerts, theater and/or sporting events. When he travels byplane or taxi, there may be a screen in front of him broadcasting the latest sitcom or news report.  Riding in an elevator,dining at a restaurant, visiting a bar or coffee shop, your prospect is being visually and experientially stimulated.

Entertainment is everywhere…until the sales presentation starts

The sales presentation or demonstration seems to be one of the few places today where entertainment is mostly nonexistent.  As if in some time warp, most presentations consist of one or more people talking at a prospect—with a few boring slides thrown in for good measure.  In the typical presentation, it is as if time…just…stands…still.  Unfortunately, your prospect’s attention is NOT standing still.  By choosing not to acknowledge the power of entertainment, you are actually losing your prospect’s attention.

5 Easy Tips to Add the Power of Entertainment to Your Sales Presentation:

  1. Be creative with your opening.  If all of your competitors open with a boring corporate overview or agenda, coming in with a story, an anecdote or a quiz is a welcome breath of fresh air for bored prospects. Just make sure your story, quiz or other creative endeavor is relevant and short.  For more tips on telling a story that sells, click here.
  2. Show, don’t tell.   The number one rule of storytelling applies to your presentation as well.  Avoid telling your prospect how you can help them (and showing them a slide is basically telling them), think of the many ways that you can show them and bring your solution to life.  Can you bring in a “live” testimonial or virtually “go on location”?  With all the advances in technology, there are many possibilities worth exploring.
  3. Use a prop.  What’s a prop?  Anything that supports your message.  An iPad, white board, flip chart, video, books, photos, audio recording, samples or handouts are a few examples. The message or theme of your presentation or the prospect’s industry or product may open the door to other creative prop choices.  For example, to underscore her message that her audience could expect a faster payday by utilizing her services, corporate seller Patricia Wittkopp brought everyone a Payday candy bar.
  4. Plan purposeful movement.  Most presenters act as if they are required to stand in one spot—or be subject to some extreme form of punishment.  But even the simplest movements can gain you renewed interest from a captive audience.  Since random movement can be distracting, create a reason to move by placing props at various places throughout the room.  For example, position the whiteboard in the back, the pens up front and a handout on a table to your left.  Keeping your audience’s eyes moving can go a long way toward maintaining attention.
  5. Break it up.  No matter how good a presenter you are, the average adult’s attention will wane after 7-10 minutes.  Strategically plan some form of interaction or entertainment – a quick video, a quiz, a contest — at these points to allow your audience to recharge so that they can refocus their attention on you and your message.

Entertainment is a must-have tool for gaining the attention of today’s busy prospects.  For more tips on how you can engage, persuade and connect with customers in today’s entertainment-based world, click here. 

photo credit: Doug Kline via photopin cc

photo credit: caribb via photopin cc


entertainment, presentation skills, sales presentations

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