Knowing Your Audience

It is now easier than ever to research, root around and really understand your potential customers. Do you make good use of this widely available data? The web provides a wealth of information about your clients and prospects that can be used to your competitive advantage.


Although every good sales professional in theory understands the value of finding out about their clients, it can be tempting to sometimes take a shortcut. Especially if said sales professional believes to have the standout solution that will solve all problems. Even if you do have a great offering, it might not necessarily meet everyone’s needs.

Solution-driven sales presentations seldom manage to solve anything at all. They are typically inward-looking, the sort with opening slides detailing company history. If they do address a problem, it still tends to be 'the problem according to us', sounding preachy and self interested.

For a start, all content must be relevant to your customer. Know that your audience will sit through your sales presentations wondering: “What’s in this for me?” This may seem to be a particularly selfish position however it’s perfectly natural considering the investment they have made to be there. Investing time alone, after all, can be incredibly expensive.

Make the effort to see problems as your client sees them. Understand what it is they want and present in those terms. The chances are that if you present for them (as opposed to at them), your audience will be much more susceptible to your key messages. 

It’s common for sales presentations to be overloaded with data in the hope of impressing the client, with the wish that some of it sticks and turns out to be useful. Rarely is this the case. Too much data overwhelms. It conceals the data that might become information. With so much sifting to do, audiences switch off and let it all go over their heads instead of into their brains.

Data becomes information when it’s used. Data only has potential value, whereas information is of itself valuable.

It all comes back to preparation. What are you selling? Why should your client buy from you? If you manage to present information that backs up the answers to these questions, you are able to leave the rest of the data in the office (where it belongs). 

Knowing your audience is key, make sure your content reflects the fact that your potential customers are all different. Your sales presentation shouldn’t aim to make the ‘why we’re great’ case. Frankly, who cares? If you can make the argument ‘why we’re great for you’, however, you’ll engage your clients, convert more prospects and deliver far more effective sales presentations.

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