Have you ever been to a live stand-up comedy show in a packed comedy club? If not, I strongly recommend it. There is a palpable energy created when people gather for the communal experience of laughing together. When the crowd is really going, laughter rolls through the room like a wave.
This group energy is the reason that people dance at concerts more than they do when listening to records at home, or cheer more loudly at live sporting events than when watching television. It’s a form of herd behavior that is hardwired into our species. People’s emotional reactions are multiplied when an experience is shared with a crowd.
The crowd phenomenon can be extremely powerful for a skilled sales professional in the setting of a group sales presentation. While a business lunch-and-learn or educational seminar may not come with quite the same adrenaline rush as a sold-out comedy show, these group events can nonetheless have a profound effect.
The benefits of group sales presentations include:
- Efficiency: It is simply more economical to make your pitch once to a group of twenty than to make the pitch twenty times to twenty individuals. Selling in a “door-to-door” fashion often leads to a series of dead ends that can be not only time-consuming, but also emotionally draining. When making a group presentation, no time or energy is spent talking to people who are simply never going to buy your product. The initial pitch is given once; then, you can focus your time only on the prospects that are interested in learning more.
- Herd Mentality: As discussed above, people have a tendency to move with the pack. If you can pique the interest of just one person in the crowd and engage that person in a discussion, a chain reaction of interest will likely follow among others. Seeing one person with enthusiasm for your product will allow others to feel safe following suit.
- Creating a buzz: Get your audience talking about your product in the time period following your presentation, and your clients might just make your best pitch for you. This is particularly applicable if the group in question has regular interactions with one another—say, a local network of property investors. An effective pitch to this type of group will have them comparing notes and discussing ideas, reminding one another of your presentation in the weeks and months to come. Clients who buy your product and are satisfied with the results will share their positive experience with others in the group. This will extend the herd excitement effect long after the initial live event.
Large group presentations aren’t always possible, of course. Building rapport with bilateral communication in a one-on-one setting typically takes the lead role in the sales professional’s play. And since you’re selling a project, rather than pots and pans, it’s not surprising that you’ll need to close most deals with good old-fashioned one-on-one interaction, so you can assess your prospects’ particular needs, answer questions, and craft tailor-made proposals – all the while creating emotion, which leads to motivation, which leads to forward motion.
That said if it’s at all possible for your organization to facilitate these kinds of group events, the excitement generated by the live crowd experience could certainly accelerate your sales.
In tomorrow’s blog, we will take a look at some methods for making your group presentation effective.