It can feel like a “win” just to be able to get in front of busy decision-makers to present your product or solution today. But in sales, that’s just the beginning. In order to move prospects to take action, you need to do more than get an audience and talk through your slides. You need to engage and interact with that audience . There’s a lot of chatter about audience “engagement”, but what does it really mean? Here’s a good definition:

Engagement: emotional involvement or commitment

I’m sure you have a strong logical case for why your prospect should buy your solution. I bet your competitor does too. But research shows that most purchases are made on emotion and justified by logic. Emotion trumps logic, which is why we should all be unwavering in our quest for audience engagement.

Not only are emotionally engaged prospects more likely to buy than those who aren’t, they’re also more likely to remember your message and be a champion for you within their organization.

If audience engagement is so crucial to the success of a presentation, why then is it an afterthought for most salespeople? During this time of heightened competition, lowered attention spans and increased distractions, having a strategy for how you’re going to engage your audience should be top-of-mind for every presentation or demo.

What is your plan for engagement?

How much time do you put into planning how you’re going to engage your audience, when to engage them, and how to re-engage them when their attention wanes (as it will)? If you’re like most salespeople, you spend an overwhelming majority of your time planning the words you’re going to say and the content of your slides. Audience engagement and interaction get left to chance. But if you’re hoping to inspire a change in behavior in your prospect (which is what sales is about, right?) finding ways to engage and interact needs to be a core part of your presentation planning process.

Random acts of engagement don’t work

Too many salespeople think of engagement as lobbing a few questions at their audience or perhaps scribbling something on a flip chart. With audience attention spans spinning ever downward, random acts of engagement like these are not going to create that consistent level of engagement you need for your message to be heard, and acted upon. To do that successfully, you need to have a plan. A plan that takes into account how prospects pay attention, where and when you need to re-engage that attention, and what tools you have available to do so.

Photo courtesy of CC BYHartwig HKD