Digital Selling (Part 6)

Presenting on screen: How to inspire customers

No tour of the exhibition, nothing to touch and try out, no coffee to liven things up: when selling digitally, you have to pull out other stops. But how do you keep your counterpart interested in a video call? Sales coach Leif Kania gives tips for presenting on screen.

Aug 30 2021

If you have followed our series up to this point, you know: structure and good preparation are the be-all and end-all of a successful presentation. You have read a lot about technique, camera settings, sound, the right background. And that you should know what you want to tell. But how do you tell it? 

The answer lies in the question: don't just rattle off the facts. Fill the presentation with life. Tell it - briefly, crisply, but interestingly! Storytelling is very important for Leif Kania when presenting. He is convinced: "Emotion and expertise are ultimately the things that make a customer decide not to buy from someone else. As long as the price is right, mind you!" 

Arouse emotions 

So when presenting on screen, you must not only demonstrate your expertise, but also arouse emotions. Offer the possibility of identification with your creative solutions. If you have done a needs analysis, this should not be difficult for you. After all, your planning fulfils the heartfelt wishes of your customers. 

Now it's time for storytelling. Imagine that your presentation is a film. After all, your customers "consume" what you show on the screen. How do you present the information in such a way that they feel picked up, entertained and well advised? So that they don't nod off in their armchair and finally sign the purchase contract? 

B-movie or blockbuster? 

What would Spielberg do? Would he shoot his powder right at the beginning? In other words, would the T-Rex eat everyone right away? A film in which screaming people run through a park for 90 minutes would hardly have made history - effects or not. That's the stuff of a B-movie. 

What happens instead? Spielberg stages the threat only indirectly at first, until it becomes real with a big bang. Bravely and clever, the heroes master their escape in the further course of the film until the showdown - with a surprising twist. 

Think in terms of suspense 

What can you learn from this? When you present on screen, you don't have to stage "Jurassic Park". But every good story thrives on a well thought-out dramaturgy and suspense. You create suspense by giving specific information and clues and then waiting a little with the resolution. 

Have you planned a kitchen? Think in terms of areas or structure it according to themes and tasks. Each element gets its own arc of suspense. In addition, increase from less spectacular to the scoop, but tease it out at the beginning and work towards it continuously. So maybe show the whole room only towards the end. 

Presenting as an experience 

Now you might ask, why all the effort? We counter this: You have to do it anyway if you want to do a good job. Leif Kania explains: "We tend to consume online content quickly. The attention span is shorter than usual. Presenting on screen also lacks context from the exhibition. If I just let the conversation come to me, like 'this will work out', every pause, no matter how short, becomes an awkward moment. 

There's the pressure of silence and we don't want that. So we really have to entertain throughout. And to be able to do that, you need structure, system, preparation. And practice. Practice. In order to really be able to convey this to the customers as an experience. 

The presentation as a hero's journey 

While your audience slides spellbound to the front edge of the chair, paint a colourful picture of life in the planning shown. How does an element improve everyday life? Invite them to enjoy and identify with the space you have created and onto which - thanks to needs analysis! - you have projected wishes and dreams. 

Make sure to always present advantages in a way that is appropriate for the customer. Leif Kania cites the zero-degree zone in the refrigerator as an example: "For one person, it may be important that the food lasts longer, less has to be thrown away, for the next it is the significantly higher nutrient density, even if the salad has been in there for two or three days. The question is whether my customer's primary motive for buying is 'economy' or 'health'. To present in such a targeted way, I need to understand in advance what makes him or her tick." 

This is a good time to remind ourselves once again who is actually playing the main role in your presentation. And that's right: it's not you! Why? Because you know, at least since part 5 of our series, that you should think from the client's point of view when giving advice. Because - narratively speaking, from the point of view of the so-called hero's journey - you are the mentor here, contributing your expertise, while the hero undergoes a transformation through you or the change in the home. 

Building blocks of a screen presentation 

When presenting on screen, you are the narrator, director, cameraman, editor. Even without special effects and dinos, there are many avenues open to you in the design. The situation is made for cross-media work. Leif Kania sees an advantage here compared to presenting on location: 

"I have the possibility to use much more material, whether created by myself or by the manufacturer. If I'm in the exhibition and show a hob, then I can talk about the technical features. Online, on the other hand, I can also present results, using videos or photos. That makes an impression." 

Pre-produced is half presented 

So draw from the full to make your presentation varied. This also helps to hold attention. Ideally, you use a colourful bouquet of videos, photos, websites, sketches, and you take your customers live into the exhibition to show highlights. 

For preparation, Leif Kania recommends creating a client folder that contains all the material: "It's quite crucial that I don't start looking for clips or creating perspectives only in the video call. So I might have two or three plans ready or different views saved. At best I have photos, maybe a video from the walk-through. Anything I can do beforehand, I should do beforehand and file it so that I can then deliver things in the call bang, bang." 

He who asks, leads 

Now you might get the impression that you become the sole entertainer when presenting on screen. Yes and no. Of course, everything stands and falls with your planning blockbuster. But compared to the cinema screen or the television screen, you have a decisive advantage: you can talk to each other. And you should definitely do that, says Leif Kania: 

"In the video call I miss the kitchen studio. I can't just ask my colleague and bring the customer a coffee and then he looks around the showroom. That's why I have to *lead* the conversation in a crisp way. This also includes saying a few words at the beginning about the course and duration of the conversation. That gives security so that the customer gets into the comfort zone." 

Actively involve customers

To keep the conversation partners awake and on their toes, open-ended W-questions are a good idea during the presentation. Example: What do you think about this? What do you think of this proposal? Which variant do you like better and why? 

It can quickly happen that you hold monologues when presenting on the screen. Leif Kania advises: "If you want, you can set a timer - mute, of course. Simply so that a counter runs down and I see, aha, now you have already spoken for 90 seconds and it would be time again to activate the customer and ask a question." 

Conclusion and outlook

Leif Kania summarises: "I can inspire digitally if I convey the feeling of being an expert. When it comes across that I focus on the needs, habits and the special situation of my customers. Professionalism and quality in counselling are key - professionally, but also humanly." 

In the next episode, we want to delve deeper into how you can respond particularly well to the needs of your clients. To do this, we will take a digression into personality analysis. If you have any feedback or questions by then, feel free to write us a comment!

Author: Christine Piontek

Contact persons
Portrait of Leif Kania
Leif Kania Human Ressources
Möbel Kania Consulting GmbH
Write the first comment