We know from research that generating an interactive dialogue is a much more effective means of selling than simply presenting a “show and tell” monologue.
A great way to set the tone for an interactive meeting is to open the meeting with a provocative question.
For example, you might normally think about starting out by saying something like:
“Good morning everyone. We are really excited to be here today because we have a product, we want to show you that could increase your revenues by 15%.”
That is a nice opening, but watch what happens when we rephrase it as a question:
“Good morning everyone. How many of you would be interested in hearing about a product that can raise your revenues by 15%?”
Now pause for a moment. Make sure everybody knows that you expect them to think about this question. Then follow up with another question:
“Mr. Smith, what kind of impact would a 15% increase in revenues have on your business plan?”
Do you see what is happening here?
You are inviting your audience into the discussion, right away. You are signaling that they should stay alert and be prepared to participate. Literally, when drawn in like this, their blood pressure will rise slightly and some adrenaline will be released into their systems, which will make them much better listeners and allow them to become emotionally invested in the meeting.
Many salespeople feel compelled to give their entire presentation before inviting the audience to participate. That is a mistake and people will check out along the way.
Get your audience involved early and often. In this case, with an opening question that sets the tone for a much more natural and productive discussion.
Sooner or later, we must all be able to communicate, to persuade and to sell. You are in a great profession!