Don’t bore your audience. Nice sounding. Hard to disagree with. Nobody likes to be bored (I can’t stand it). And nobody really wants to spend time with people that are boring. It’s a tricky thing though, boredom. There aren’t any clinical causes of boredom–at least none that I can find. But you know when you’re bored, and you generally know why:
1. A lack of variety: the landscape never changes
2. A lack of personal investment or connection: you don’t feel like you have a stake in the game
3. A lack of incentive: no reward
4. A lack of relevance: Immediacy is non-existent
5. A lack of engagement: The message or activity doesn’t include any form of new-ness
In life these are all preventable circumstances. You can make the concerted, conscious effort to go do something fresh and fun. You can take up paddle boarding (harder than it looks, trust me). You can spend time with people that you’ve neglected to see in a long time. You can get involved in creative projects. And, with the right incentive, you ‘Just Do It.’ Boredom disappears the moment you push beyond the ordinary expectations and norms and in to the places you’ve always wanted to explore. And keep exploring. In business, however, the challenge is slightly more unique–especially when a customer is involved. And most especially in sales.
The very worst thing a salesman can imagine is delivering a boring presentation to a customer. That kind of soul-killing, brain-flattening presentation that sucks the life and energy out of the room is the surest way to kill a deal. But it happens every day. Moreover, the very worst thing a customer can imagine is yet ANOTHER bland meeting with another zombie who delivers ANOTHER deflating monologue about how ‘exciting’ and ‘amazing’ their products and services are. The emotional disconnect doesn’t make sense. If, in fact, a salesman’s products and services are really that good then shouldn’t there be a little bit of electricity in the presentation? Shouldn’t the salesman have a little bit of fire in him? Most importantly, shouldn’t the customer walk away from the meeting feeling some ‘stoke’ about what he just learned? Selling is an emotional game–on both the part of the salesman and the customer’s behalf. Boredom will strangle potential. So shake it up–connect with your customers in a way that defies the doldrums…
1. Add Variety!! How many presentations start with a ‘Needs Analysis’ and then proceed down a highly predictable path? How many salespeople employ a paint-by-numbers tactic to every single presentation? And how many customers know within seconds that they’re hearing another rote series of steps that are almost guaranteed to lead to the most obvious conclusion? Sales is organic, and nothing stops a salesperson from altering their structures and content in order to surprise customers.
2. Co-create the solution! If the customer doesn’t have a stake in the solution, product, service, or benefit then they’ll never commit to the deal. Nobody wants another top-down pitch. Involving a customer means relinquishing a certain amount of control. In so doing, however, a deeper and richer relationship occurs.
3. Make the incentive meaningful! Most salespeople leverage a predictable set of incentives to encourage a sale. They leverage cost savings, reliability, total performance. But what if the customer isn’t interested in these incentives? If they have a set of incentive criteria that are outside of the salesman’s ‘value proposition’ then the proposition itself will be irrelevant. Figure out what really matters to the customer and let them determine the true purchase incentive.
4. Increase your relevance! Drop the pitch and assume a customer-centric attitude. The message should be simple: ‘Everything is built around the customer’s lifestyle.’ Simple as that. Nobody will buy something that they don’t feel is immediately connected to who they are and how they live.
5. Raise the information bar. Today’s customer is well-researched and informed. The last thing they want to hear is a regurgitation of what they’ve already read on-line. Information should be fresh, interesting, and uncommon. The salesperson will have to work a little harder to move away from easy talking points but the reward is worth it.
Don’t bore your audience. They’ve given you precious time in order for you to share your services and solutions with them. It’s the single opportunity to enliven the interaction with clear, lucid, engaging, and relevant information that creates true differentiation. It’ll require that folks step back and evaluate the extent to which they may be putting their clients to sleep. But to assume they’re always awake is to create a sales pitfall that does more harm than good.