Strategic HR Weekly "Sales" Tip #39
"Show and Tell"
We learned about this back in kindergarten. A kid got to bring in his/her favorite "thing" - a toy, a pet lizard, a video game, whatever - and tell the class why s/he thought it was so cool, while holding it up and pointing to the things they were talking about.
But what if the people that invented kindergarten had only invented "tell"? Would it have worked as well?
A kid (with a not-yet-fully-developed brain) up at the front of the class trying desperately to remember all the things he liked about his favorite thing back home, and then trying to think of how to describe those things. And a bunch of distracted 5 year olds, all with the attention span of a fruit fly, listening for a nanosecond to the struggling presenter, and then mentally heading off in other directions - to upcoming potty time, nap time, crayon time, etc.
Why do I bring back this memory for you? Well it never ceases to amaze me how many HR consultants tell me they're so skilled that they don't need to bring in "sales stuff" to initial sales meetings. It's much more "professional and consultative" to "just talk to the prospect" and maybe have a pad for some notes. Taking in a bunch of illustrative sales sheets is for sissies and amateurs. This issue applies to HR practitioners doing presentations to members of their C-suite too.
Did they ever think of their "verbal only style" from the audience's intake and ultimate impact point of view? We meet with a CEO or CFO for the first time; they're not an HR expert; we verbally end up mentioning probably 10 different business advantages during the course of our meeting; and we also ask them to think about a large number of things that on a day-to-day basis they never have to address en-mass. Think that exec gets overwhelmed and will mentally drift? Guaranteed Think at the end of that meeting s/he could recite back to us 75% of the important points we made? Not a chance. 10% to 15% at the very most.
And we wonder why "The initial meeting went so well, but now they won't get back to me!" (Hint: Maybe the meeting didn't go so well, and the audience "just decided to be polite" and tell you "Sure, we'll look at it further.")
Not only do visuals minimize the "mental drift" of the audience, they also act as a crutch to the Consultant / Practitioner to ensure they hit every single important value point in a compelling manner! Visual plus verbal presentations can be up 6 times more effective than verbal only.