Water Well Journal

December 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/608970

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Page 50 of 89

I love Jimmy Fallon's nightly monologue on The Tonight Show. It's clever and topical. It's short and interactive. It's everything a monologue in sales—is not. To be fair, monologues are exceptionally difficult, even for the pros. It's always easier for performers to interact with another actor in a scene or for a television host to interview a guest than to stand up and talk directly to an audience solo for four to five minutes. Too many salespeople approach a sales call or presentation as a series of long monologues to get through. They do so without understanding what it takes to keep a possible cus- tomer's attention during that time or just how unnatural the whole thing is. Think about it. How often in your personal life do you stop and allow someone to speak to you for five or 10 consecutive minutes without having any type of response or interaction? Unless you're taking a class or attending a speech or religious service, probably not often. Yet that's exactly what happens in so many sales calls or presentations. That's a real problem with today's declining attention spans. Research shows the average person's attention is at its peak when you begin talking, drops nearly in half at five minutes, and reaches its lowest point somewhere around the 10-minute mark. Unfortunately, many salespeople are just getting to their point at 10 minutes. I get it. You have a fair amount of content to share with your prospect. You need to establish credibility, show them why you're different from the competition, and build value. So what's the solution? I'm going to pass on five tips pros like Jimmy Fallon use to turn those monologues into dialogues. These should allow you to get your points across while still maintaining your customer's interest and attention. And much like on The Tonight Show, let's hold up some cue cards for you to follow. Cue #1 React to nonverbal cues Most good performers will tell you there is no such thing as a monologue. You are always engaged in a dialogue. The difference between a monologue and a dialogue . . . in a monologue the other person's part is silent. You'll have to make your prospect feel like they're en- gaged in a dialogue with you as you're delivering a long stretch of content. You do that when you continually adjust your delivery to respond to the other person's nonverbal reac- tions—a smile, a frown, crossed arms, or an aside glance. You don't necessarily have to comment on the other per- son's nonverbal reactions, but it should affect how you inter- act with them. If you have a particularly quiet prospect and feel like you have to carry the weight of the conversation, try this—You can imagine answering a question they haven't said aloud. Your words will take on more meaning and your customer will feel a stronger connection to what you're saying when you are addressing a perceived question or reaction from your customer. Cue #2 Time yourself It's hard to get a good perspective on how much we are speaking in a conversation. Try taping yourself as you practice. Take note where a cus- tomer would likely respond beyond a simple "Yes" or "No." This will give you a clear indication of how much content you are delivering at any one time. Anything over two minutes, refer to the next step. Cue #3 Break it down into short chunks Based on attention spans, you need to do something to re- engage your prospect before their attention hits the lowest point. Think about how you can break a subject down into a section lasting two or five minutes. Think about it. That's about the length of an average song, a YouTube video, or a commercial break. By "chunking" your material and re-engaging whoever you're talking to at strategic intervals in your conversation, you'll be able to hit the reset button on their critical attention meter. Cue #4 Create interaction Even Jimmy Fallon has a sidekick. Don't try to be a one- man or one-woman show. Think of different ways you can interact with your cus- tomer. Ask him a question. Pass out a prop. Give her an active role in your demonstration. The more you get your prospect engaged, the more likely he or she will pay closer attention and more likely remember your message. JULIE HANSEN ACT LIKE A SALES PRO ARE YOU GIVING A SALES MONOLOGUE OR A DIALOGUE? Know these five tips when you "talk" to potential customers. 48 December 2015 WWJ waterwelljournal.com

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