A great quote I saw in an HBR article is from Scott Edinger, who plainly stated that “Selling is moving somebody else to action,”. And I think this sums it up quite nicely, the aim of audience engagement and experience design (AEX design) is to help move people to take certain actions to increase their engagement in an experience. So technically, what we’re doing with selling and marketing is just that.
So, if we’re helping people to engage, then we need our mindset to change from pushing something onto someone, to collaboratively working with someone. We’re building relationships and friendships, offering what we have to help them. And to do this effectively we would naturally need to connect with our audiences on a personal level. So when you’re engaging (selling) with your audience, be sure to have done the research beforehand to make sure you know what it is that they’re looking for and expecting. And trust me, winging it, with no research, is a surefire way of disengaging your audience.
Once you’ve done the research, don’t let the inquisitiveness disappear however. If you get a chance to speak with your audience, one on one, then keep asking questions, be interested in them, and delve deeply into their problems. Sometimes they may not even know what the problem is exactly, maybe only after asking why several times reveals the real root of the issue they need to solve.
And should they ask you a question, don’t fall back on selling to them, keep engaging them. Develop and craft a narrative that illustrates how you can assist and support them in achieving their objectives. Tell a story, a parable of how you’ve done this in the past and how you will do it for them.
But refine this story so that hits everything you need to get across without waffling on for too long. Keep your engagement ‘pitch’ succinct. You’re there for them, not for yourself.
As you talk with them, collaborating and building the relationship, keep thinking about what your unique take is on their problem.
Don’t worry too much about whether it is unique or not. I’m fairly certain it will be, as long as you are honest, authentic and transparent. Unique doesn’t necessarily mean the same as original, your method might be something tried and true that you do in such a way that your audience (client, customer, etc.) just hadn’t thought of that it could be done in such a way.
And if it doesn’t work out, the other 9 or 99 in the 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 categories. Well likely it wasn’t because it wasn’t unique, it’s because it wasn’t right for them. In that case, try to get feedback, reflect on your methods and be open to improving.