Everything is shorter and quicker now. Look at sitcoms from the 1960s and how they only had one theme or plot during the episode. Take a peek at older television commercials from the same era and how they were 30 to 60 seconds long.
Today sitcoms have three to four themes or story lines going on at the same time and we now have commercials that are 10 seconds long. In fact, some are only five seconds in length.
We are, as I like to call it, a “bullet-point society.” When we browse news articles online, we tend to look at the headline to see if it attracts our attention and then the most read articles are the ones with bullet points to highlight that information.
I am not making this stuff up. The editors at a few different newspapers that carry my articles point out to me which are the most popular and how long the readers stay online to read the content. We are in a digital world where thoughts and opinions are backed up by statistical information and can show you what works and what doesn’t.
That brings us to the point today – talk less.
We talk too much and since we have changed the way we view and read content, we also need to hear less when we are in a sales situation. Most presenters or salespeople lose their customer’s or audience’s attention because they ramble and get tangled in the weeds. This can be cleaned up if you can be precise and concise. By doing it this way, you will keep your audience interested, engaged and excited.
Crafting a 50-word pitch or talking points comes in handy for a variety of scenarios. For instance, when keeping your presentation under 40 words, an entrepreneur can persuade an investor to look at their idea and a sales professional can convince a prospect to watch a demo or schedule a meeting. Less is always more.
The concept here is it’s not intended to close a deal. It’s meant to make someone intrigued with your idea and hopefully they will want to take the next step. Typically, especially with salespeople, too many words brings about confusion as listeners are trying to sort out what’s important from what’s not, or they just get bored and shut down.
So, what to do next is the most critical part of this concept.
You need to prepare and that takes a little time. If you have a meeting or a sales call that is important – really all of them should be important – you need to carve out 20 to 30 minutes to prepare your thoughts on paper.
All you are required to do is to write out the bullet points of what you want to say (remember under 40 words) or actually write out the words themselves and memorize them as any actor would do.
If you want to be treated like a pro, then you need to be prepared as one as well.
Imagine an actor on Broadway or a movie set who did not come prepared by studying and memorizing their lines?
Like any new skill it takes practice and adjusting your mindset of doing the “same old thing.” What has not changed is that people buy what we want, not always what they need. We all enjoy a good conversation with people where we can both engage and feel a part of the conversation. The less words you have the more the other person can listen and then respond.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.