One of our two Boston sports radio stations rehired the veteran professional sportscasters who were fired over the last few years. Why? They are great at what they do and ratings suffered while the station featured younger, less expensive talent, that simply couldn't keep their listeners tuned in. Everything old is new again.
In mid-August, I hosted approximately 20 veteran sales experts at our office in the Boston area. They were there to spend two days with me, hone their skills, and get coached up - some more. Again. They come every year! And each year, we not only accomplish that, but we usually come up with something new for them to bring back and take for a drive. Today, I decided to share one of the things we worked on this year.
Like me, some of these sales experts are also featured speakers. It is always easier to close new business when a prospective client has been in the audience and heard us speak. They want to talk with us, they know we can provide their sales organization with the proper guidance, they want our help, they don't ask for references, they don't ask for trials, they don't attempt to negotiate, they aren't talking with anyone else, and they don't try to build consensus. Speaking sources are even stronger than introductions from existing clients!
What is it about when we speak that has such a profound effect on the executives in our audience? And why don't we have the exact same impact on a prospective client who has not heard us speak?
I helped the group recognize that they approach speaking quite differently from selling. We have more energy, presence and mystique from the stage. We use statistics, case histories and great examples. We tell stories and connect with our audiences. But when they are selling, most of those things are replaced with all of the appropriate listening and questioning that goes along with a more consultative approach to selling.
Regular readers know that I often champion the cause for a consultative approach to help differentiate and sell value in modern times. But like I said at the outset, everything old is new again and this sales hack brings some presentation skills back to the early stage of the sales process.
You don't have to be a speaker to benefit from this sales hack. It doesn't matter if you never, ever speak to an audience. Today, pretend that you are preparing to speak to an audience and spend some time thinking about what you would present to impress them with some things that only you know, but they probably don't. If you were speaking, what about your energy level would change? Would you dress differently? Would you tell any stories? Share any case studies? What can you say that might validate their thinking and establish credibility? What could you say that would cause them to think that you understand their business and its challenges? Today's sales hack incorporates a tasteful amount of that kabuki into your sales calls and attempt to recreate the magic that would occur from the stage. Try it on a phone call today. Try it in your next meeting. Let us know how you make out!