Today’s virtual audience isn’t as distracted by coworkers — but they are more preoccupied with their open browser tabs, screaming kids, barking dogs, and the laundry pile calling their name.
How do you combat waning attention and keep people glued to your virtual presentation from the beginning to the final slide?
Let’s explore some of the best advice you can pass on to your sales team about how to improve sales in virtual selling situations by creating presentations that thrill prospects and customers.
Do Your Homework on Your Audience
Before you even create your first slide — or draw up an outline for your presentation — analyze your audience so you understand who you’re talking to. That context will guide the development and delivery of your pitch.
But in a virtual environment, you need to go a few steps beyond just knowing who you’re talking to.
Add to your audience profile with these other important factors:
- Personal demographics like age, income, occupation, and education level.
- Cultural characteristics, including the groups they were born into (race and ethnicity) and groups they joined (religion, clubs, organizations, or political affiliations).
- Psychological characteristics like beliefs, attitudes, values, needs, and motivations.
AND, do your research to better understand how the audience is likely to respond to your presentation. If your audience positions the topic of your presentation on an “attitude scale” that ranges from rejection to acceptance, where are they likely to land? If your listener is predisposed to reject your proposal, you’ll have a harder time keeping their interest.
Consider the following questions:
- What is your audience’s initial attitude toward your topic?
- How much do they already know about your company, your products and services, and you?
- How much of their personal identity is connected to this topic?
- How emotionally invested are they likely to be?
All of these audience characteristics will help you determine the best approach to presenting your pitch.
Create Memorable Visuals That Stick
Visuals can make or break your presentation, especially when you’re trying to keep a virtual audience engaged. Try these tactics to create engaging visuals:
Let’s face it: In many sales presentations, slides can get awfully…busy.
All that chaos can overwhelm or confuse your audience, and they’ll be checked out and scanning their inbox before you know it.
After you analyze your audience, start visualizing your presentation by asking:
- What do I need to say?
- What does the audience need to see and hear?
When you’re delivering virtual presentations, simplicity is your best friend. Avoid slides that overpower your message, and eliminate overpowering or chaotic images and layouts.
Remember that when it comes to your slides, less is more. Your slides should act as a complement to what you’re saying — not take the main stage. If you load up your presentation with slide after slide of research, complex graphs, and data, your audience will pay more attention to your visuals than they do to what you’re saying. That’s a recipe for a prospect that doesn’t buy.
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on the amount of text you include on each slide, use the keywording technique.
Identify the main idea on each slide, and highlight the words that best support or illustrate that idea. Then eliminate all the other words on the slide.
Sound like sacrilege? If you’re horrified by this idea, remember that your narrative — the words you say during the presentation — will fill in all the other details. All you need your audience to see on screen is the main idea. Then they’ll be hanging on your every word to hear the rest.
When you visualize your presentation, what are the most important points you want to make?
You can use repetition — reusing presentation elements like layout, fonts, spacing, or color schemes — to drive home those main points in your audience’s mind.
But remember: Repetition is more than just repeating your company logo on every slide. That just increases visual clutter, and doesn’t necessarily add to your message.
The goal of your presentation is to make a sale or share information with your customer or prospect — not to blow your audience away with your incredible slide creation skills.
Every graphic you include should reveal the data you’re trying to share, not obscure it. Choose charts and graphs that allow the data to speak for itself, and when in doubt, remember to keep it simple.
Leverage Vocal Variety to Keep Prospects Spellbound
When you’re trying to hold a remote audience’s attention, how you speak is as important as what you say.
Use vocal variety — including changes in pitch, tone, volume, pace, and pausing — to create a more engaging and dynamic delivery.
When done well, vocal variety breaks the monotony of your story and makes your message easier to follow, so your prospect will be less likely to let their attention wander.
Keep these aspects of vocal variety in mind when you’re creating your presentation script or notes:
- Pitch: Stay out of the monotone zone. Lower or boost the pitch of your voice depending on the narrative or dialogue.
- Tone: The tone of your voice conveys your emotions and attitude towards the subject matter, and can evoke emotions in your audience. Using a variety of tones to express enthusiasm, concern, or excitement about your product or service.
- Volume: Speaking loudly can convey passion and conviction, while speaking softly can draw listeners in and create a sense of intimacy.
- Pace: Speaking too quickly may make it difficult for your audience to absorb information, while speaking too slowly may cause them to lose interest. Varying your pace helps maintain interest and allows you to emphasize certain points by slowing down or speeding up.
- Pausing: Pauses can be a powerful tool in your presentation. They give your audience time to process information and help you emphasize key points or create anticipation.
Showcase Can Help You Captivate Your Virtual Audience
Now that our world has gone remote, every salesperson is fighting to keep their audience’s interest when they’re delivering virtual presentations.
Your sales team will need to adapt and refine their presentation skills to adjust to this “new normal.” Do your homework on your audience, create simple, engaging visuals that don’t overwhelm your message, and use vocal variety to create memorable sales presentations that resonate with prospects.
In a virtual world where attention spans are shorter than ever, Showcase Workshop can be the key to standing out and closing those all-important deals. Sign up for a free trial to elevate your sales presentations to a whole new level.