A well-crafted message is a critical component of your sales presentation, conversation, or demo, but in today’s competitive landscape, you can’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting.
Two actors are auditioning for the same part. Each actor fits the description sent out by the casting director and they audition reading from the exact same script. Why does one actor get the part while the other goes back to checking audition notices? It obviously isn’t because of the words since they are exactly the same. The winning actor brings meaning and emotion to the words. She makes it easy for the director to see her in the role. She’s using her instrument – her voice, body, and mind – to bring the script to life, capture the audience’s attention, and convince them she is right for the role.
Presenting your solution in a competitive world where differences between your product and your competition’s are shrinking is not unlike auditioning for a role.
Often your competition is using a similar script as yours. They’re making similar claims. They even have proof to back it up. Sure there are differences, but if you think that your prospect is going to remember those slight differences, you will be disappointed. Your content alone is not enough to win you the deal. Like our winning actor, you need to make it easy for the prospect to see you and your solution as having a role in their business. And to do that, you need to move beyond just the words.
A study was done* that showed how we receive communication. It found that the voice, the physicality and the words each had a different amount of impact when we first meet someone. The results may surprise you:
*55% of what we communicate to another comes from our physicality, bearing, body language, way we carry ourselves
*38% from our vocal tone quality, sound and range
*7% comes from the words that we say.
Here’s the simple math (not “new math”): 93% of what we communicate to another person initially has nothing to with the words we use. Yet what do we spend 99% of our time preparing during a presentation?! If you’re like most salespeople the answer is a no-brainer: the words.
Of course you need great content. After all, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your body language is if your words are gibberish! But lets assume you have a quality message. There’s this whole unexplored area – this 93% zone — that can give you a competitive edge and help you to connect and drive home your message with your prospect. What are you doing to get your advantage?
Here are 5 quick tips for getting the 93% advantage in your presentation:
- Warm up. A professional actor would never walk out on stage without fully preparing her voice and her body so she can communicate as effectively as possible right from the start. To get your voice and body in top competitive condition, get your quick 7 minute warm-up here.
- Move with purpose. Random movement or no movement at all score negatively with audiences. Find reasons to move and plan them throughout your presentation.
- Eliminate nervous tics. You know that thing you do with your hands (or hair, or legs, or…) Unintentional and repetitive movements can detract from an otherwise powerful message. Tape yourself to find out what your “go-to” moves are and work to eliminate them, one by one.
- Share the stage. Don’t let your slides be the star of the show. If you’re talking, make sure the audience is focused on you by blacking out your slides or blocking the projector.
- Use vocal variety. Listening to one person talk for more than 5 minutes is a challenge for today’s busy prospects. Keep it interesting by incorporating variety in your pace, range, volume, and pauses.
Get more tips in my new book, Sales Presentations for Dummies!
*Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages, 1971