How to Analyze Your Audience in a Sales Presentation
One of the most nerve wracking experiences for any sales professional is making sales presentations to buying committees. Public speaking is always a challenge for people, particularly when a sale may be depending on the presentation.
The challenge when presenting to a buying committee is targeting your presentation to the differing (and sometimes conflicting) needs, interests, concerns, buying motivations and influence of each member of the group. Nevertheless, mastering how to make powerful sales presentations is a key selling skill.
A simple but powerful technique we recommend is to create a R-E-A-D profile of your audience before you make the sales presentation. The R-E-A-D Profile enables you to read people more effectively, and becomes a springboard for anticipating or predicting which roles each person will assume when in a group setting.
The R-E-A-D acronym helps you analyze your audience. Based on experience, observations, and information you've received from others, rank each key audience member as High, Medium, or Low along the following dimensions:
Ask yourself how receptive each person is to you, your presentation, your company, and your proposal. You are seeking people who can "line up in your corner." Those who definitely lean toward you will rank "High," someone with specific concerns might be "Low," and a person with good support in some areas but lacking commitment in others might be a "Medium."
This applies to each person's depth of knowledge in the subject matter and the ability to understand your presentation or recommendations. Those who possess detailed, accurate knowledge of the subject of your presentation rank High. Others would rank Medium or Low.
Authority refers to the amount of influence a person has on buying decisions regarding your products and services. While authority is usually measured by rank in an organization, this is not always true; the person with authority here may be the one who has the highest rank or the most senior title, but be careful to also consider each person's power to influence a specific decision or proposal.
Dynamics relates to personal persuasion, and measures a person's desire and ability to convince/persuade others to their own point of view. To rank High in Dynamics, a person is usually articulate, assertive but tactful, persuasive, and likes to influence others. In addition, the person who is High in Dynamics also knows the politics of the organization and the situation, and can influence people without "stepping on toes" or diminishing someone's rank. Someone lacking these qualities will be "Medium" or "Low" depending on how you assess them.
As part of your preliminary planning for the group presentation, you should assess each audience member for all four dimensions. This information can be useful in predicting group roles and in better targeting your sales presentation.
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.