Sales Thought Leadership How-to

3 Ways Neuroscience Can Make Your Sales Presentations More Persuasive

A recent brain study provides valuable insights into how buyers make decisions and how you can create effective virtual sales presentations.
6 min read

Updated on August 18, 2022

Published on March 24, 2022

Neuroscience lead

Video communication has provided a valuable solution for modern sales teams, enabling them to connect face to face with potential customers wherever they are. However, crafting and presenting an effective sales pitch presentation in a virtual setting can present a unique challenge — neuroscience research shows that people will only remember about 10 percent of your presentation after 48 hours! 

During a virtual sales appointment, you have less time to build a relationship and make connections with your audience. You’ll need to make a positive first impression and build a presentation that captures your audience’s attention and delivers a clear message.

“The Neuroscience of Persuasive Sales Presentations,” a recent brain study from cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Simon at B2B DecisionLabs, provides some fascinating insights into the science behind how buyers frame value and make decisions, and how you can create a more effective and engaging virtual sales presentation.

Understand the decision-making process

As a sales professional, your ultimate goal is to educate your audience about potential challenges and solutions, establish trust, and build a long-term relationship. But how can you, a total stranger in most cases, influence your customer's buying decision? 

Here are some key insights from Dr. Simon’s research to help you understand how your buyers make these decisions:

  • Memory is critical for decision making: When people make a decision, they rely on their memories to help predict the rewards of a specific choice. In other words, the brain is a prediction engine, and memories are its fuel. So, to influence your buyer’s decisions, your sales pitch must be memorable. 
  • Attention helps form memories: Your audience won’t remember your presentation or your message if they don’t pay attention to begin with. To build strong, precise memories that will influence their decision, you need to create a presentation that’s stimulating and focus their attention on the key takeaways you want them to remember. 
  • It takes a lot to influence decisions: Attention alone won’t secure the sale. You also need to present your message and reasoning in a positive, cohesive, and clear way. That means helping your buyers process the information without spending too much cognitive energy.

When your sales presentation holds your audience’s attention, is easy to understand, and creates a lasting impression, you can begin to influence their decision.

Build an effective, science-based virtual sales presentation 

To connect with your audience and help them understand how your solution can help them address their challenges, you’ll need to use specific techniques in your sales pitch that work in conjunction with neurological processes. According to the study, your sales techniques should focus on three main goals: focusing attention, building precise memories, and influencing decisions. 

Focus attention

Capturing and holding your audience's attention is the first step in building strong memories. Here are some science-backed tips to help you focus your audience’s attention and hold it throughout your sales presentation: 

Choose the right background 

Research shows that viewers are less attentive and will remember significantly less when you use a fake background on virtual calls. Using a blurred background leads to more focused attention, while a natural background can be a good conversation starter in specific situations. So rock that blurred background to keep everyone focused! 

Maintain focus with movement 

Sales slides stuffed with information and images can make it hard to know what to focus on, resulting in scattered attention. Adding movement to your sales slides with animation and annotation makes it easy for your audience to know where to focus and helps break down the information piece by piece, making it more digestible and easier to remember. 

Aesthetics create focus 

Your audience will react to the visuals in your sales slides as much as the content. If the design is attractive and easy to understand, your audience will stay with it longer and remember it better. By incorporating universal design elements like proximity, contrast, balance, and harmony into your presentation, your audience won’t need to expend so much cognitive energy to make sense of the information.

Build precise memories

When the time comes to make a decision, your audience will rely on their memories. Here are some techniques from the report to help your audience remember your message with precision: 

Hone your “10% message”

Research shows that on average, people will remember, only 10 percent of your presentation after 48 hours. To help your buyers remember your pitch presentation, identify and emphasize your “10% message” — the key takeaway you want your audience to remember. When your 10% message is focused, rewarding, differentiated, repeatable, and actionable, you increase the odds that your audience remembers exactly what you want them to. 

Pro tip: Research from the report showed that including a decorative picture on a 10% slide inhibits people’s memories of the message, so be sure to avoid using distracting visuals that aren’t related to the text. 

Use repetition wisely 

By repeating your 10% message within your presentation, both verbally and visually, you can enhance your audience’s memory of it. The research shows that more repetition helped participants remember the message more clearly — repeating the 10% message three times verbally and seven times visually during a seven-minute pitch led to precision memory in 74 percent of participants. And repeating the 10% message 20 times in a 20-minute pitch led to precision memory in nearly half of participants.

Influence decisions

Once you’ve laid the groundwork by capturing attention and building precise memories, you can further increase your odds of winning the sale with these techniques for influencing your audience’s decisions: 

Prime the brain for a decision

Each element of your sales presentation influences how your audience perceives the next slide. By sequencing your presentation in a way that encourages action and follows a simple thought process, you can help your audience remember your message and act on it. 

Introduce compelling insights

When you prompt your buyer with a question after sharing a provocative insight, their brain starts connecting the insight to their situation. This technique, called DIQ (Data, Insight, Question), primes your buyer’s brain for your solution and initiates the process of self-persuasion. It also elicits a more positive emotional response than asking the question before an insight. 

More virtual selling tips from Zoom’s Head of GTM Enablement + Strategy,
Michelle Dotson

Show up the right way: Personalize your virtual background for your audience to build trust immediately. Additionally, good lighting and camera framing are essential.

Connect through curiosity: Asking about your attendee’s background or about them personally can create a virtual environment built on trust and personal connection.

Be comfortable with silence: Listening is an important and underutilized skill—especially in a virtual environment. You’ll be amazed how quickly a good listener becomes a trusted adviser.

Remember that buying and selling are team sports: Both buyers and sellers can bring the best team members to virtual meetings, so get the right people involved early and often.

Take your sales to the next level with Zoom

Ready to take your virtual sales game to the next level? Contact our sales team to discover how Zoom solutions can help you enhance your virtual sales experience. 

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