For sales professionals in the IT space, it can be tempting to top-load sales presentations and pitches with a plethora of facts, figures, statistics, and technical specs. Often, facts and figures can seem to be the most efficient way to convey the benefits of technical products that don’t have a whole lot of inherent emotional appeal.
Perhaps even more significantly, many of the professionals who have found their niche in the IT space – whether as sales professionals or client firms – happen to be types who respond well to reams of unvarnished technical data.
But while facts and figures definitely have their proper place in the sales process, they can be overwhelming – and even downright off-putting – in certain situations and contexts. What’s important is ensuring that technical information and other complex data are just one component of a balanced, well-rounded pitch that packs plenty of broad-based appeal.
Concerned that your pitch might be too heavily slanted toward the technophile crowd? Use these tips to make sure that your sales presentation doesn’t cross the line into ‘TMI’ territory.
- Consider your audience. If you have the opportunity to prepare your pitch or presentation in advance, take care to ensure that the amount of hard data and technical jargon you’re including is a good fit with the type of crowd you’ll be addressing. If you’re speaking to a group of industry professionals who have a firm grasp of the technology, feel free to play fast and loose with jargon and insider details. On the other hand, if you’re going to be addressing laypeople that have only a rudimentary understanding of your products and services, modulate your language and the data-density of your presentation to better suit your audience.
- Read the room. No matter who you’re talking to, there are certain situations in which a technically complex presentation isn’t likely to go over well. Before you take the plunge, take a mood reading and match your pitch to the emotional atmosphere in the room.
- Offer up technical specs in small doses. Whether you’re speaking to experts or laypeople, it’s best to discuss technically complex information in manageable, “bite-sized” chunks. Cognitive researchers say most humans simply don’t have the attention span to process extended streams of complicated data, so make an effort to break up your lists of technical specs with other types of information.
- Don’t expect features to sell themselves. Although a laundry list of your product’s technical specs may impress tech-savvy industry insiders and other in-the-know types, don’t forget to put these details in context. Discuss technical specs in terms of real-world benefits to the buyer, rather than bullet-list points that may seem to have little connection to reality.
- Remember that emotions sell, too. Even when you’re dealing with the most knowledgeable technical experts, never underestimate the power of the emotional appeal. Decades of research have proven that the purchasing process is a heady mixture of rational, emotional, and intuitive decisions. Technical specs in and of themselves are rarely persuasive enough to seal the deal.
What’s your stance on incorporating hard facts and figures into your sales presentations and pitches? Do you prefer a data-heavy approach, or one that combines equal parts technical specs and emotional appeal? Let us know what you think in the comments.