If you are teaching, leading, selling or speaking, your purpose is to engage your audience. Above all, you want to grab their attention and get them involved. Your prospect, client, customer, employee, team member, or student has to be engaged or they won’t buy your product, act on your idea or implement your plan. Without engagement, there is no influence.
In the spirit of engagement, I believe that we should move from giving sales presentations to having sales conversations. There’s a huge difference between the two. A sales presentation, by definition, is a monologue, while a sales conversation is a dialogue—it involves both parties and the emphasis is on the buyer, not the seller. I know we have all done this before. We give a sales presentation (a monologue) and then at the end we ask, “Do you have any questions?” There is nothing about that model that makes it about the audience; nothing that makes them part of the conversation. For an actual conversation to take place, there needs to be interaction, back-and-forth talking, and listening.
Remember, a great storyteller is first a great story listener. I’m sure that many of you who speak, lead or teach don’t view yourself as being in sales. The truth is, however, we are all in sales. Whether it’s a product, a service, a vision, an idea, a strategy or ourselves that we are trying to promote, it is all sales. Embrace that principle, learn to sell effectively, and watch your influence grow exponentially.