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Have a Complex Product to Pitch? Focus on a Customer Story

by Michael Harris  |  
May 7, 2014

How can you persuade someone to buy your complex product when 90% of your presentation is forgotten within 72 hours?

The short answer is you can't. Unless you dramatically change how you engage with customers, they won't understand why they should buy your complex product because of the limitation of our short-term working memory.

A salesperson's 88-page PowerPoint product dump presentation will not flow directly down through a pipeline into the customer's long-term memory, according to memory experts. Instead, the information must first travel through our limited short-term working memory, which is capable of remembering only three to four items of new information at a time.

Now, I'm not saying that all customers are pinheads. But getting information into customers' heads is more like threading a needle than pushing it down a pipeline. That's why telephone numbers are limited to chunks of 3-4, and it also explains why the best public speakers limit themselves to covering only 3-4 points. That's all we are capable of remembering.

But what happens when you can't dumb down your message to only 3-4 points?

Why You Need to Share a Customer Story

If you want customers to fully appreciate the complexity of your product, you will also have to share a customer story. Because a story presents a scenario that allows the customer to form their own conclusion, without feeling pressured, your message can now bypass the conscious mind's limited ability to absorb new material.

You don't think a story—you experience it. As a result, your message is directly absorbed into the automatic subconscious mind.

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Michael Harris is CXO of Insight Demand, a sales-training company that helps sellers take the shortest path to more revenue—through the power of storytelling. He is also author of Insight Selling.

LinkedIn: Michael Harris

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