Know Your Audience

I recently went to give a demonstration of a product to the owner and the head of operations at a business. The product had been a long time in development, and when I entered the presentation, it was with the knowledge that what I was showing was not complete, though certainly further advanced from the last time I had met with this client.

My strategy for the presentation, though, was to take advantage of knowing what each of the two people in front of me wanted to see in the product, and show that element in use. It was not about showing completion, or showing a slick product. It was about showing a product that filled a need.

I was not about to lie about anything in the product, but I was about to make a demo that fed off expectations.

I showed the head of operations, who was also in charge of sales, how the product could be used to make a great presentation to his clients. I walked him through a theoretical meeting with his prospects, and how the product could produce a “WOW” reaction. I showed him the portions of the product that, in brief, looked impressive.

I showed the owner of the business how the product was good value for his investment in it. It met all the needs of his business, and there were a few extra features in there as well that had not been promised (he had earlier told me that he expected to have to pay for those features in a later release).

In other words, I understood my audience, and what they hoped to hear from me. That’s what I told them, and I didn’t have to lie to do it – just throw perspective into the conversation.

There really isn’t anything like an unbiased presentation. The people involved have opinions, and they will be voiced, whether aloud or silently. But they can also be manipulated to believe in you, if you recognize their needs and expectations, and target the conversation accordingly.

If you don’t understand what your audience needs and wants, it won’t matter how right you might be – they still won’t listen to you!