One of my challenges is getting better buy-in from my customers. How do I make my presentations more impactful in order to discover what my customer really needs?
Several times a week, I host “lunch and learns” at various client locations. During these 30-45 minute sessions, held over the lunch hour, I give a presentation about my company’s products.
However, as much as I try to ask thought-provoking questions and lead interesting discussions, I feel that my efforts fall short. Too often they are more interested in the menu than in what I am trying to convey. I want to get better buy-in.
Out to Lunch
Dear Out to Lunch,
I always tell salespeople that they need to make their presentations about the customers, not the products. The same is true in your case. It’s difficult to get people to open up and share their thoughts in a group setting. Too often there is the fear of saying the wrong thing, or worrying about the awkwardness when disagreeing with a boss or peer. The way to get around this problem is to open up the dialogue before your presentation.
I’d like to borrow a tactic from one of my favorite teachers and speakers, Steven Covey. In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he recommends “Seek first to understand before being understood.”
Reach out to your primary contact
When you set up the “lunch and learn,” reach out to your primary contact and say something like,
“I’m glad to hear we are going to do this presentation on the 24th. I want to make sure that what I put together for this group is meaningful and impactful. So that I can make sure my presentation is customized to your team’s needs, would you please share with me two or three individuals that I may contact beforehand, in order to get their input?”
If your primary contact seems to be hesitant at first, you can add,
“I really want to understand and be attentive to what is important to you and your team.”
Listen, learn, discover what’s important – What are your customer’s goals, challenges and issues?
Once you get the names of these two or three individuals, call them and ask questions about the goals, challenges, and other issues they are facing. Most likely, the individuals who are referred to you will be the most progressive and influential participants of the group. Vital information is accessed that you would never attain in a group setting. Plus you’re building meaningful relationships now, rather than attempting to do so in a room full of people.
As a result…
- Your presentations will be much more interesting.
- You will have a better understanding of your customer’s needs and challenges.
- You will have greater buy-in from your audience.
It’s a Win-Win-Win Situation!