March 18th, 2010
During this past weekend, I attended the National Speakers Association conference in Nashville. But instead of speaking, I actually went to the breakout sessions, chatted in the hallways and listened to the keynotes. It was an amazing learning experience; in four days, I was exposed to concepts and methods to make my keynote more effective and more meaningful to attendees — including the two hours I spent with Max Dixon learning how to create and tell a story.
So where does this fit with you as a salesperson (or sales leader or executive)?
Selling and sales leadership are emotional jobs; selling must change buyers’ minds and hearts. But too many times, we hear sales teams selling only the facts.
As a sales manager responsible for salesforce training, what are you doing with your sales team’s training in terms of increasing their ability to tell your story — emotionally?
For our part, with many of our consulting clients, prior to going on-site to evaluate their organization, we review their brochures, Web site and standard proposal content. In most cases, the content is boring or stagnant. When we visit on-site and ask each salesperson,”Why do people buy from you?” or “What makes you unique?” the answers are boring or — worse –logical.
We hear comments along the lines of: “We have been in business since 19-so-and-so” or “Our company has extensive experience” or “Our company is committed to serving you” or “Our people are the best.” These are essentially statements of FACT. My question to the sales teams is: “So what?” What do these statements mean to your prospects? Nothing. It’s emotion that causes the buyer to take action. This is a fundamental truth in selling; sales managers must understand this and train their teams to create stories with emotion that make their points stand out.
As sales leaders, your sales training program must review your team’s content, messaging and verbal descriptions to find the “so what” statements. Create what we call “tribal stories” about when you company saved the day for a client or when your firm solution caused a client’s business to blossom. Write them down and make sure every salesperson can use them in a selling mode.
We recommend you videotape your sales team attempting to sell your firm; this will allow them to hear and see why and when their approach is ineffective. The next step is to create a training session that clearly crafts an actual benefit to each statement of fact. The last step is to “inspect what you expect.”
Videotape your sales team again in three weeks to ensure the new message has been stuck. In short: Tell emotional stories and bring emotion into your selling.
If you’d like Acumen’s “Create a Selling Document” worksheet, send me an e-mail at Ken@Acumenmgmt.com.
Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group Ltd., “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory and platform services have illuminated, motivated and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead! Acumen Management provides keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 3f4qb8v9ge