Speaking To Sell

Speakers can create speeches to sell ideas
Speakers can create speeches to sell ideas
Image Credit: Donna Cymek

The ability to stand in front of an audience and use the importance of public speaking is a powerful skill to have. It turns out that we can take this skill one step further if we are willing to teach ourselves how to use our speaking abilities to sell a product. The good news for speakers is that we are already doing most of the work that is required when we create, practice and deliver a speech. However, when we want to use our speech to sell something, there are a few extra steps that we’ll need to take.

Bring Your Credibility To Your Speech

When trying to decide whether your idea makes sense, your audience is initially more concerned with the person who has the idea, rather than the idea itself. Unless you have some kind of track record, you’re probably not going to get a chance to present to your audience. This does not mean that you must have already built a company, for instance, before you can ask an audience to invest in one. But your idea is more likely to fly if you’ve have some related experience as opposed to if you have spent your time doing other things. Audiences ask themselves: “Is this person competent, based upon past performance?” and “Is this person speaking with candor or handing me a story?”.

You Need To Have The “Next Big Thing”

As speakers we need to understand that buying is always an emotional act, especially so when it’s an idea that is being sold. Audiences get excited when an idea makes intuitive sense, when it appeals “to the gut.” This is far less likely when your idea seems totally off the wall. When you’re trying to sell somebody a new idea, you must persuade them that your idea confirms their own opinions, rather than proves them wrong. Ideally, your idea should also make people feel that they’re doing something positive and powerful if they decide to invest in your idea.

Always Adapt Your Speech to the Listener

Audiences inevitably see ideas from their own perspective, so your idea should be expressed in terms that address the practical concerns of the people in your audience. In your business plan, you’ll cover all the bases, naturally –– but when you’re giving a speech, tailor your remarks appropriately. Know your audience: if you’re talking to a technology person, talk technology, if you’re talking to an accountant, focus on ROI. The ability to do this is important, because decisions usually involve a team of people, each with different expertise.

Find Ways To Make Buying Less Risky For Your Audience

Once somebody in your audience has decided to buy, their mind automatically starts looking for reasons not to do so. So don’t wait for the inevitable defenses to show up: instead, anticipate problems and objections in advance and be ready with a convincing response as part of your speech. A good example of this is if the objection is “we did this before and it didn’t work,” you need to be ready to articulate how your idea is substantially different. Note for your audience exactly which factors and circumstances make it more likely to succeed. If it’s a good idea, everyone will say it’s not, at least at first, so perhaps you need to go for a pilot project.

Make Sure That You Are Creating Momentum

Ask your audience for feedback frequently throughout your speech. The best part about this is if you continue to check for agreement, the audience will often preemptively close the sale by starting to think something like, “When do we start?” If the members of your audience doesn’t do this, however, you’ll have to ask for the next step. Summarize your speech and ask a few final questions to ensure that the audience members agree that it’s workable. For example, “Does this make sense to you?” If you can get agreement, you have the green light you need to move forward.

What All Of This Means For You

Having the ability to create and deliver a speech using the benefits of public speaking is a powerful skill to have. It turns out that we can make this skill even more powerful if we take the time to discover how we can use our speaking skills to sell things to our audience. When we are creating a speech in which we want to sell something, be it an object or an idea, we need to make sure that we take the time to fully understand who will be in our audience. Once we’ve done that, then there are five steps that we need to take in order to create a speech that will allow us to be successful.

In order to get our audience to accept the idea that we are selling to them, we need to be sure to bring our credibility to our speech. We need to let our audience know that our idea lines up with the way that they view the world. A speech that we will use to sell something to an audience has to be created specifically for that audience. Buying anything is risky, we need to find ways to make it less risky for our audience. Once we’ve convinced our audience that our idea is a good one, we need to make sure that they have the momentum that will lead them to making a purchase.

The good news for us is that people are always buying things. As speakers we have a skill that allows us to introduce new things to our audience and get them to buy them. The trick is that we need to learn how to create a speech that will allow us to convince our audience that our idea is one that they would like to purchase. If we can follow the five steps that we’ve laid out here, we will be able to create speeches that sell!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you need to talk to your audience about your idea before you give your speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As speakers we can become comfortable standing in front of an audience giving a speech because we know about the importance of public speaking. However, if we are asked to be the moderator of a panel everything changes. It’s almost like we will be giving a speech, but we can’t practice this one beforehand. Additionally, there are a lot of things that we are going to have to do in order to get the most out of our panel members. We are going to have to use all of our speaking skills in order to make moderating a panel a success.