If you want your prospects to pay attention, you’ll need to take their learning style into consideration. Educators have long known that students learn by seeing, hearing and doing. This is known as visual auditory kinesthetic or VAK in the education world, and adult “learners” are no different, studies show.
Just as in a classroom, when you provide information the way your prospects process it best – with visuals, sound or some sort of activity – you are more likely to have success with your sales efforts.
Visual Learners: The Eyes Have It
Visual learners process information through watching, reading and studying. They observe people. They look at the illustrations, diagrams and photos, they watch the videos, and probably aren’t hearing every word of your well-practiced speech. It can seem like there’s a direct line from eyeball to brain. If your prospect is a visual learner, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
TIP: In order to reach prospects that digest information this way, you must provide visual reinforcement for what you say. At the very least, draw pictures with your words using color, size, movement, and concrete comparisons. Visual learners also tend to be impatient with long-winded presentations, according to learning experts Brian V. Moore and Arthie Moore. Be careful with this kind of prospect that you don’t talk yourself out of a sale.
Auditory Learners: Singing Their Song
Auditory learners absorb information through listening, hearing, and processing. They pick up on conversational nuances, they listen to verbal descriptions, and they sometimes will repeat key points back with phrases like, “Let me make sure I understand …”. That guy in the next office who’s always talking to himself? He just might be an auditory learner.
TIP: When talking to prospects like this, be sure you’re speaking clearly while you verbally articulate each point. Ask questions and allow your prospect plenty of time to ask their own questions out loud. These prospects will often tell you about themselves and their business issues before you even get a chance to ask. Oh, and be sure you are listening too, as you might pick up on a few things during the course of the conversation.
Kinesthetic Learners: Keeping it Real
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing, experiencing, and analyzing. The more they are physically involved in a discussion, the more they retain. Men, particularly, are likely to retain their kinesthetic learning style, according to a study by Mindwork Resources.
TIP: Pitching to prospects like this is often more difficult than to auditory or visual learners. However, if you can make your presentation interactive, you’ll keep their attention a bit longer. Taking notes is often their way of processing what you’re saying.
So what does that mean for your next pitch?
It’s simple. You, as a sales rep, are teaching your prospects about your products and services. Most of us learn through a combination of the visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We retain approximately 10 percent of what we see; 30 to 40 percent of what we see and hear; and 90 percent of what we see, hear, and do. The more you can involve the preferred means of getting new information – visual, auditory or kinesthetic – the better your chance of successfully closing your next sale.
About the author Bart Levy is the COO and VP of Marketing for NimblePitch, the sales presentation system that uses rich media to tell your story using visuals, sound and interactivity. Contact her at 804.382.0594 or Bart.Levy@NimblePitch.com.