BE BOLD! Change their world!

Watching American Idol last week I was reminded of just how forgettable some people can be.  There was one girl who had fronted up for eight years in a row – and the judges barely remembered her.

With my “consumer” hat on, I reckon I have said “no” to about about 100 sales approaches made to me in the past 12 months.  And I’m no Simon Cowell.  However, casting my mind back, I remember only about 4 of them, which is probably why I said “no”. In other words, the vast majority of sales approachs are a bit like 1990s ”cookies and cream” house renovations – dull and uninspiring.

That number again:  I have forgotten 96% of the initial sales approaches made to me in the past year.

I know I’m a sample size of only 1 person, but your prospective clients are probably the same. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t get sold to as often as some of your prospects might, so maybe the numbers are even worse!

It made me think:  what makes for an outstanding sales approach?   What is really going to stick in their minds? What is going to elevate your sales approach to the top 4-5%?

Answer:  Change their world!

It’s a big statement isn’t it?

To change someone’s world is going to take some thought, some initiative.  Maybe you have to put in more effort with your research.  Maybe you have to be a bit cheeky, or presumptuous. A goal this big is known in some circles as a BHAG:  A Big, Hairy-Arsed Goal.

But if you don’t have an approach to change their world, then be prepared to join the bland wallpaper of sales approaches that will steal time from your selling day and your propects’ days too.

How do you change their world?

a.  Get into their shoes!

  • What’s going on in their world?
  • What are they worried by?
  • Has something exciting taken place recently?

I was talking to Samsung recently and, a couple of days before calling them, they’d become the world’s number one electronics company – how uninformed would I have looked if I’d not mentioned that milestone?

(More importantly, how many other sales people call on Samsung without knowing that?)

b.  Find an angle!

We forget the telephone can be an intrusive interruption to people’s day.  It’s a device designed with an intrusive noise, sitting prominently in the room or in your pocket which screams ‘I want to talk to you now!’

Out of habit, convention, fear, we answer it then often regret doing so as we’re stuck with an irrelevant pitch for a venue hire service that we don’t need (again).

Imagine each person you call thinking the following:  

‘Why should I spend the next 2 minutes of my life talking to you?’

If you can’t answer that question in the first 30 seconds, you’ll lose them. Find your angle in advance and open with it.

c.  Say it with pride.

Every business has to make money and every sales call says ‘You should buy my product.’

Prospective customers have to believe that your product will change their world.

  • Do you believe it will?
  • Is it clear you believe so?
  • Can your prospective clients taste your belief in the product?

There are few more compelling offers than unshakeable and passionate belief in your product. So make sure you’re sold on it then bring it to life.

Example:  I used to sell for HP Bulmers. One day at an exhibition, a fellow exhibitor brought a client over to me at the show:

“Pete, this lady here is interested in a contract and I’ve told her you’re the only person to speak to.”

With several other companies at the same show, it was a great recommendation to receive.

It was 2 years later that I met the fellow exhibitor again and he explained that the basis for his recommendation was that he had heard me chatting with someone at the exhibitor party the previous evening:

“You had such passion and such belief in your company’s ability to help, I decided there and then that I’d send any cider enquiries to you.”

Was I an expert on cider?  Not by a long-shot.  But I knew my little patch with 100% conviction, and I spoke with child-like, wide eyed enthusiasm.

d.  Take a risk!

Man in superhero pose

To change someone’s world you can’t give them what they already have, or tell them what they already know.  You have to be bold!

Example 1:  If you are selling a venue service, then offer a money back guarantee plus £50 to put into the staff Christmas party fund!   You need new customers, and you have an unwavering belief in your product, so why not?

Example 2:  You are selling call conferencing equipment.  Rather than try and sell all the benefits, you realise that you have a great product to demo.  So, you ring clients and ask them whether they have an important customer meeting coming up, which you will be delighted to host on a trial basis.  All you would like back in return is an honest assessment of the product so that you can improve it for others.

Both of those examples aren’t just giving someone a message – they are changing their world!  Their next function will be a success, and they will be able to reach out to dozens more customers simply via your call conferencing service.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The passionate sales person who really wants to change their world will be the one laughing all the way to the bank in 2010.

If you want more tips on changing their world, give me a call!

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