For many people just getting to the end of the presentation is a relief! Yet the closing is where you move your audience to action. It is the last spot you have to condense your message to it’s critical elements, re-emphasize key points, and then get them to move on what you have shared.
Here are the most common closes people use and why they don’t work:
- Thank You. Questions? This close leaves the audience unsure of what they are supposed to do next. They will feel compelled to ask you questions and most will ask you clarifying questions that can then lead your audience to feeling confused and remove action.
- So what do you think? This close is most often used at meetings with the sister close So how do you feel about that? Both of these closes will make the audience tend toward a more negative and judgmental response because they will be looking at all the angles and won’t want to appear foolish.
- So? This close sounds like you are hopeful that the audience understood your point and that they will now direct the action. You never want to give up the close.
Here are some closes you can do that are effective:
- Tell them directly what to do. I worked with a company that did symposiums around the world. After each section they would weakly say, "we hope you see what great things we have planned. If you would like to see demonstrations or you have questions feel free to ask any of us. We have a cocktail party tonight so you can ask us there as well." Every person would get up, mingle a little and leave. They closed few sales.
We switched their close to, "At this point you want to pull out a pen and the sheet of paper that lists all of our new products. As I go through them briefly I would like you to circle the products you know you want, put a question mark next to the ones you want more information on and cross out any you know you don’t need right now." Then they went through and on each new product said, "if you need this circle it, if you have questions put a question mark and if you don’t need it cross it out."
At the end they said, "Now you sheet should be filled up with circles, question marks and crossed out lines. I would like you to take your sheet to a person in a blue shirt. They will help you order the products you have circled and set up demonstrations for the products you have questions about. We are looking forward to helping you get a jump start on your competition."
Their sales soared with this approach.
- Ask for action with a pointed question. Most people assume the audience knows what you want them to do. Not true. You need to guide and your question can lead to a very different response. For example ending with "which of these should we go after?" implies that the committee MUST throw one option out while saying "how do we implement these?" implies you believe all possibilities can be met and moves the audience’s energy to figuring out how to put them all in place.
Don’t be afraid to tell the audience what you are doing, why they should care about it, and what you want them to do about it. Just make sure you do so in a manner that is not threatening, dictator like, or demanding. How do you make sure it is phrased right? Always come from their perspective with Outcome Thinking.
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time. The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives. Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results! Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit www.impressionmanagement.com, or email[email protected].