When interacting with a person of interest or an audience, it is important to understand first what’s going on in their own world.
What are their concerns in life? Why are they listening to you? What puts them right in that moment? Only then will your ideas and insights be accepted and understood.
Here are some examples on how to initiate a “speak-to-sell” method of communication.
Ask for Approval
The best way to ask for approval is to set limits on your talk time. Never speak for more than a minute without asking for their approval to continue.
This approval or positive go-signal can only happen when you ask open-ended and prompting questions. Here are some ideas for prompting questions;
- Questions that are not just answerable by a “yes” or a “no”
- Questions that are not meant to lead or manipulate the person or persons you’re talking to
- Questions that enable dialogue between you and the other person
- Questions that require careful thought to be answered effectively
- Statements that build rapport and connection with your audience
- Ask questions that start with how, when, what and why
Initiate Dialogues and Interaction
Ask developmental questions to proceed with a dialogue with your audience. This is your attempt to take your spiel to your desired direction to further understand them and to convey your message.
While this serves as your segue to convince your audience, having direct interaction with them will make it easier for you to capture their attention. It also accounts for a more interactive dialogue and that is one way of keeping them interested.
You can initiate dialogues by asking questions that require elaborate explanation. This will allow you to make your own inputs as well and can help you win over another minute of their time and attention.
Once you’ve received responses to your question, you can use these to set the direction of your “speak-to-sell” method. You can use these as your benchmarks to proceed.
Here are some examples of developmental questions;
- Questions that encourage a person to elaborate on what he said.
- Questions that require a person to establish his own thoughts and ideas
- Statements that trigger reactions like the latest trends and upcoming occasions
- Statements that require further definition and explanation
- Topics of general interest that draw responses such as love, romance, marriage and dating
Set the Direction based on Audience Responses
This is an indirect way of getting your audience to realize that their situation is similar with that of other people. Or that you know a suitable solution to their concerns and that you understand them well enough to proceed with your cause.
This can help you buy another minute of their time because understanding their issues means that you have established rapport with them.
This is your prompt to introduce a third party topic that is relevant to your discussion. It is all a matter of linking your audience’s reactions with the main message or thought of your spiel.
At this point, you have already gained connection with them and there is a certain level of understanding that already exists between you and your audience.
You can further master the art of connecting with your listeners by reading helpful references.
Now this is your cue to start persuading, convincing and influencing them. Here are some of the best approaches you can launch once you get to this point;
- Validate their reasoning: Introduce the purpose of the discussion and your intentions
- “Speak-to-Sell”: Address their concerns by presenting a solution that you can support and defend
- Balance the discussion: Provide other suggestions, inputs and opinions (to balance the discussion and avoid sounding like a desperate sales guy)
- Make an offer that is hard to resist: Trigger a cause for action