by Michelle Mazur, Ph.D.
I refuse to attend events that I know are going to be one gigantic pitch fest.
I don’t like being told “Run to the back of the room to take advantage of this limited time deal.” I hate being given an order form, and told to cross off a price and write in a new much lower price. I don’t like wasting my time with a presentation that was 10-minutes of content and 30-minutes of pitch.
Why? With a Ph.D. in Communication specializing in persuasion I know:
- Running to the back of the room is a form of social proof (and I’m cynical enough to think the first person who pops up is a plant).
- A limited time offer is only truly scarce if the speaker never offers it at that price point again.
- When you write down a new price on a piece a paper, it sends a signal to your brain that you’re committing to buying.
- Wasting my time ticks me off (no persuasion theory there).
It’s time to ditch the sales pitch at the end of your presentation. Here are three compelling reasons why:
1. Pitches focuses on taking instead of giving
Your audience who dedicated their time to see you or even paid money to hear you speak weren’t hoping, wishing, and praying for you to sell them something when they walked into the room.
No audience members attends a presentation thinking: “Yippee! I hope I get to spend $1000 on some high end service. That will totally make my day”
Why do they show up? Audience members come to a presentation to fill-in the knowledge gap. There’s a problem they have and you have the information to solve that problem. That info is not “buy my stuff.”
As a speaker focus on giving and not taking. My imaginary boyfriend, Simon Sinek, says it best: “People are more likely to trust a giver — a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them — than a taker.”
Give. Give freely. It’s how you leave the audience wanting more of YOU.
2. Inappropriate for the relationship with your audience
Imagine meeting a blind date at your local Starbucks. The conversation flows. You’re both laughing, learning, and enjoying each other. Thirty-minutes in your date whips out a mortgage application and asks you for your social security number. He just knew you two would hit it off and has your lives planned out.
Creepy and inappropriate.
However, this is what it feels like for the audience when you pitch a program from the stage. You met them 20-minutes ago, and now you want them to give you their hard earned cash.
Make sure the size of your ask is equivalent to the length of time you audience has been in a relationship with you. For public speaking, this is usually an ask to deepen the relationship with you, not buy a premium priced service.
3. It feels AWKWARD!
When I tell entrepreneurs that I’m against selling from the stage, it typical elicits a big sigh of relief followed by “Thank God! I always felt so slimy when I tried those formulas. Selling from the stage doesn’t feel right for me.”
The energy shift as a speaker transitions into a pitch is palatable.
Here’s the thing: you’re audience already knows that you feel slimy! If you’re on stage feeling awkward, you make the audience feel that way too.
For you to make your audience feel comfortable, feel good, and feel excited about taking action, you must feel exactly that while you’re speaking
If it feels weird, ditch it.
Public speaking is never about you. When you ditch the sale pitch and make the audience the focus of your presentation, your reach rises, your influence increases, and your business blooms.
Ditch the pitch
Instead of pitching at the end of your next presentation, focus on the next logical step the audience can take to build a relationship with you.
Should your audience follow you on Twitter because that’s where you hang out? Suggest it. Want them to stay in touch via your newsletter. Ask them to sign up. Want them to grab a copy of your book? Mention you have a book several times during your presentation.
If you’ve done a remarkable job with your presentation, the audience will want to keep in touch with you. Deepening your relationship with the them doesn’t mean you have to use high pressured, hyped up sales tactic. Ask for the next step.
Remember, when you build a relationship with your audience, you become their trusted advisor and the sales will follow.
Michelle Mazur, Ph.D. is the CEO of Communication RebelTM, a boutique communication consultancy specializing in the content development of presentations. To steal a lyric from a terrible Bryan Adams song, she firmly believes “Everything you do. You do it for the audience.” Armed with a Ph.D. in Communication, she has helped hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs design and deliver presentations from the audience’s point of view. Her speakers have spoken in front of world leaders, First Ladies, and have raised three times the amount of money than expected for charities.
She believes every presentation should leave a lasting impression and the last words of your presentation are the most important real estate in your speech.
She is also author of the Amazon best-selling book, Speak Up for Your Business: Presentation Secrets for Entrepreneurs Ready to Tell, Sell, and Compel and 3 Word Rebellion.
Michelle lives in Seattle with her adoring husband, 2 obsessive felines, and huge collection of Duran Duran memorabilia. You don’t have to fly to Seattle to hang out with Michelle. Come visit her on the blog for all things public speaking, hit her up twitter @drmichellemazur.