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The Misconception People Have About Sales

THE MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT SALES

If you think “sales” is a bad word, then you’re thinking about it wrong.

You may think of it poorly because you’ve had a bad experience or maybe even because you’ve had bad information.

“Sales” sometimes gets a bad reputation because even sales-people often misunderstand their role and the value they provide.

Too many salespeople think of selling as “talking people into things.”

But sales is not about talking people into things at all.

Sales should be thought more of as serving people.

In fact, at Southwestern Consulting, we often use the term Servant Selling to help reinforce the core of what true professional salesmanship is all about.

Servant Selling is about helping people make decisions about what is best for them.

Servant Selling is about helping people make their lives better.

Servant Selling isn’t something you do “to” people; it’s something you do “for” people.

People need help understanding options.

People need help coming up with solutions.

People need help finding answers.

People need help overcoming fear.

People need help pushing past procrastination.

People need help making decisions.

And those are all things that a highly trained, well coached, professional salesperson will help them with!

Professional sales people help people make better decisions.

And that is an extremely valuable service.

When someone has a negative connotation around “Sales” it’s because they typically understand it as adversarial.

As in, it’s the salesperson vs the prospect. And it’s a battle and a fight to the finish about who is going to win…

Will the prospect be able to hold out or will the salesperson have the magic words to convince someone and pressure them to buy something they don’t really want?!

Yuck.

That’s not selling.

Servant Selling isn’t adversarial at all.

Servant Selling is never about the salesperson winning and the prospect losing; its always about the prospect winning.

Because Servant Selling isn’t about the salesperson vs the prospect; it’s about the prospect vs some challenge, opportunity, or problem the prospect is trying to overcome in their life.

In that way, Servant Selling is the salesperson and the prospect together, on the same team, working side by side to try and find a solution to make the prospect’s life better.

The salesperson is serving the prospect.

The salesperson is supporting the prospect.

The salesperson is helping the prospect.

And sales doesn’t happen through one way communication; it happens through a conversation.

It happens through a dialogue.

It happens through the salesperson asking questions, listening, and understanding the prospect’s situation first.

And then offering solutions to help them make their life better.

So if you want a more accurate way to think of professional salesmanship…

Think of it as a conversation about someone’s needs, where we ask them questions and understand their situation.

Then, we enthusiastically show them options that will hopefully solve those problems, and then we gracefully lead them through a decision process that helps them make a choice that’s best for them.

Sometimes they buy and that’s great! Sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay too.

The role of an expert sales professional is to just help them make a decision about what’s best for them.

Think of it as a partnership.

Think of it as helping.

Think of it as serving.

What You Need to Know Before You Write a Book

What You Need to Know Before You Write a Book

Many people want to write a book.

I think it’s great.

Books are a fabulous way to document your philosophies, share your beliefs and experience, build credibility around your expertise, and drive leads for your business.

But there is one important realization that virtually all first-time authors completely overlook.

Before you write a book, you need to build an audience.

Before you create the book, you need to create the audience that is going to buy it from you.

Before you think about what your book is going to say, you should first think about how you’re going to sell it.

Every author loves to write but very few know how to sell.

And this creates a conflict because…

Writers write.

Editors edit.

Publishers publish.

Distributors distribute.

Retailers retail.

But no one actually ever SELLS the book!

And what good is all of the work of creating a book if it never gets sold and never gets into the hands of those it was intended for?

Which is a good reminder of why Robert Kyosaki said “Remember, it’s not called New York Times best writing author; it’s New York Times best SELLING author.”

And in order to sell it, you have to have someone to sell it to.

You have to build the audience for it.

You have to build a sales plan for it.

You have to do the work that most people aren’t willing to do.

You have to “Take the Stairs.”

So, before you start daydreaming of all the pearls of wisdom you’d include in your life’s work, spend some time thinking about how you would sell it.

Pretend for a moment that the book is done and you’re holding the first copy in your hands. Then what would you do?

Who would you tell about it?

How would you tell them?

What would you do to compel them to buy it from you?

If you don’t know how to sell, or are afraid to, then you might consider getting a sales coach.

If you have a book and you don’t know how to market it then you might like this free 1 hr training on doing book launches.

But if you’re an aspiring author, build an audience first.

Develop fans and followers first.

Construct a platform first.

Create a sales plan first.

And then once you have it, write the best book ever that captures everything you believe in and go out and sell it like crazy!

The #1 Most Costly but Avoidable Mistake of Presentations 

presentations

There are 66 words in the Lord’s Prayer, and most people can recite it.

There are 179 words in the 10 Commandments, and most people can name at least a few.

There are 282 words in the Gettysburg address, and most people can recognize it.

Then there are 26,911 words in the United States Government’s Regulation on the Sale of Cabbage, and nobody cares.

The point, as I originally learned from the above illustration by James C Humes, is that when it comes to presentations “less is better.”

Yet, it’s perhaps the number-one mistake that salespeople make in their sales presentations and speakers in their keynote presentations: they talk too much.

They go too long. They share too many details. They divulge too much information.

And as a result, their overall message gets diluted and decreases the likelihood of moving anyone to action.

As presenters, we think that it’s the opposite.

We think we’re serving the audience by trying to squeeze more in but we’re not; we’re dis-serving them.

More is not always better, and that’s especially true when it comes to persuasive presentations.

Too often salespeople talk past the close and miss out on the chance to make what should’ve been an easy sale. Too many presenters drone on and on about useless details that water down what could’ve otherwise been an impactful message. In both instances we miss the mark because we share too much.

Experienced presenters know differently.

I remember when I was working on one of my practice presentations for the World Championship of Public Speaking, I was trying to whittle down my presentation from 9 minutes to the allowable 7.

I had spent 9 months pouring over it, not being able to figure out what to cut out. I felt like everything had to be in there.

And then I sent it to one of my speaking coaches David Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking. He said, “Let me have a quick look at it and see if I can give you some ideas”.

Twenty minutes later he emailed me back the speech, and he had reduced it from about 900 words to 600 just by deleting parts that weren’t critical, changing a few words here and there, and suggesting to replace some of the words with stories and facial expressions that could make the points much faster.

I immediately called him on the phone and said “David, I can’t believe this, you did in 20 minutes what I’ve been trying to do for 9 months!”

He replied, “No Rory, that took me 20 years to learn how to do.”

David went on later to say, “The masters tell the audience every word they need to know but not a word more.”

If you’re in sales (and we all are), or you do any other type of presentations, we should all learn how to do the same.

Why most stories will never help you sell but how yours can!

stories

The story is in the struggle.

If there is no struggle there is no story.

You can’t have a hero if you don’t first have a villain.

You can’t have an exciting climax if you don’t first have a dramatic conflict.

You can’t have a win if you don’t first have a chance of a loss.

The story is in the struggle.

That is the secret to storytelling.

If you want to tell better stories then you have to become better at describing the struggle.

Why do stories matter?

Because stories are one of the most powerful, communication tools we have.

Stories are persuasive because they are what people relate to.

Stories are one of the best strategies you can use to influence people to change their behavior, buy, donate, or take action.

The human mind loves stories.

Part of the reason why is because the human mind loves to complete things

It loves to finish things.

And it doesn’t like unfinished things.

Which is why stories are so powerful.

The start of a story begins something and then our brain stays engaged until it is finished.

The opening of a story draws us in and our mind doesn’t let us release until the story is closed.

Think about it, haven’t you ever finished watching a movie or reading a book that you really didn’t like?

Why did you do that?

It’s just because you couldn’t handle not knowing how it ended!

Expert leaders, salespeople, marketers, speakers and of course authors know this and that is why they use stories to communicate their points rather than just delivering information by itself.

And the single most important ingredient to any story is the struggle.

The story is in the struggle.

It is the conflict.

It is the drama.

It is the uncertainty and unknowing of what is going to happen.

We’re not interested in a movie where a man meets a girl and they immediately fall in love and they get married and live happily ever after.

That’s nice but it’s boring. It doesn’t engage us. It doesn’t get us emotionally bought in. And so it doesn’t capture our attention.

But you could make the same exact movie a thousand times just using different characters that follows this plot:

Girl wants love but is unsure she is worthy of it and will ever find it.

Man loves to party and is unsure if he’ll ever trade in his independence to settle down and become a family man.

Upon an unexpected meeting, they both feel a spark.

But neither is sure if it’s real or if the other person would go for them.

Still unsure about the relationship possibility and their own selves, they flirt and it starts to come together.

They start to casually date and all is wonderful as they begin to fall in love.

But then something terrible happens and they separate. It all falls apart.

Just when there seems to be no hope, one of them has an epiphany and comes back to the other desperate for forgiveness.

For a moment though we’re not sure if their partner will ever take them back.

But then they do and THEN they live happily ever after!

Sound familiar? It should.

It’s the formula for just about every romantic comedy ever made. (I love all of them!)

But it works because it’s littered with conflict!

It’s loaded with self-doubt, uncertainty, challenges, and odds.

The story is all about the struggle.

We think it’s the climax that we care about but it’s really the struggle that’s more important.

How do stories apply to business? 

Smart marketers know that you can’t just talk about the results you provide – that is just skipping ahead in uninteresting fashion immediately to the conclusion.

Rather, you have to write about and describe the problems you help solve.

Smart salespeople know that when you’re third party selling, don’t just tell a story about the results your client experienced.

Make it interesting, more engaging, and more influential by first telling us about the challenges they were experiencing and the obstacles they had to overcome.

Tell me a story specifically about what they were struggling with BEFORE they met you and if I can relate to having a similar problem in my own life then I will be more likely to buy from you as well.

You have to sell the problem as much as you sell the solution!

If you’re a leader don’t just tell us about a new strategy the company has. Give us the context for why you made the decision based on a real-life story of what happened that triggered the realization that we needed to change.

If you’re a fundraiser don’t just tell us about all the thousands of people you’ve helped as a collective body. That’s wonderful but we sometimes have a hard time connecting with a mass body of faceless people.

Instead, tell us the story of one person and what they were struggling with and what their life was like BEFORE they found you. THEN tell us about what your cause or charity did for them and how it changed their life.

Do that and I’ll double the amount of the check I’ll write to you.

It’s important that you share the results. It’s important that you tell us what ended up happening. But that is most powerful when you first tell us what the need or the pain was before.

We do want to know what happens. We do want to know how it finishes. We do care about knowing the ending.

But if you want to engage us, if you want us to pay attention, if you want us to care…

Tell us a story.

Tell us a struggle.

Tell us about what the challenge was, what the villain was, what the darkness was, what the problem was, what the doubt was, what the uncertainty was, what the hopelessness was…

Then tell us how you overcame it.

That’s a story that will sell.

That’s a story that will influence.

That’s a story that will lead people to action.

That’s a story because the story is in the struggle.

Managing and Marketing to Millennials with Jason Dorsey – Episode 204 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Jason Dorsey wrote his first bestselling book at age 18. He’s the most sought-after Millennials and Gen Z researcher and speaker, receiving over 1,000 speaking requests each year. His gift is solving tough generational challenges for companies and leaders through his unique research, results-based consulting, and acclaimed presentations. He delivers practical solutions grounded in research that drive measurable results for clients.

Jason has been featured as a Millennials and generations expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, The Early Show and over 100 more TV interviews. Adweek calls Jason a “research guru” and The New York Times featured him in its cover story on marketing to Millennials. His repeat clients include industry leaders such as Mercedes-Benz, Four Seasons Hotels, SAS, Wells Fargo, VISA, and many more. Jason has headlined speaking events from India and Egypt to Ireland, Chile, Canada, Norway, and all 50 US states.

Jason is the Co-Founder and Millennials and Gen Z Researcher at The Center for Generational Kinetics. The Center is the premier Millennials and Gen Z research, speaking, and consulting firm with over 150 clients each year. The center invented Generational Context™, a unique approach to solving generational challenges with measurable results.

Jason wrote his first bestselling book at age 18. His latest bestselling book is Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business

Show Highlights:

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. @jasondorsey

Millennials will outspend every other generation this year. @jasondorsey

Looking at Millennials gives you the best sneak peek into the future. @jasondorsey

You have to be able to recruit Millennials who are the right fit. @jasondorsey

When it comes to Millennials as buyers, you must recognize they communicate differently. @jasondorsey

Millennials are the #1 generation to refer their friends to a person or business. @jasondorsey

Gen Z is going to be the driver for massive change across the workforce and the marketplace. @jasondorsey

When you give millennials accountability, they need to see and feel that they are making progress. @rory_vaden

You can expect millennials to meet you halfway in the office, but not in the marketplace. @rory_vaden

Be mission driven more than money driven. @rory_vaden

When communicating with Millennials, adapt your communication style. @rory_vaden

Be prepared for massive changes to come from Gen Z. @rory_vaden

Learn more from the Center for Generational Kinetics at GenHQ.com

Hear more from Jason at jasondorsey.com

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Finding Your Master Metric to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Master Metric

When you have diluted focus, you get diluted results.

And it’s easier than ever before to be distracted.

You think “Oh, I’ll just check a quick email.”

But then somehow that leads to Facebook and then to YouTube and then to an hour later you’re watching a video about how to make a giraffe costume.

That’s why we, at Southwestern Consulting, often promote the concept of having a Master Metric.

Your Master Metric is your lynchpin activity.

It’s your keystone goal.

It’s your primary focus.

Your Master Metric is the one controllable activity that if you focus on it and accomplish it, that all of your other goals will come true as a bi-product.

This concept was first introduced to many of our coaches when they began their career in sales working for Southwestern Advantage.

Back in those days the Master Metric was 30 demos a day. They promised us that “if you show the books to 30 families every day you will have a successful summer.”

They said “it may not be true on any given single day but it will always be true over the course of the entire summer. Because it’s not the theory of averages; it’s the law of averages.” They were right – and it’s probably why the program is still around after 160 years!

When we started Southwestern Consulting our Master Metric used to be “2 Strong.”

The way it worked was we would get 1 point for setting an appointment and 1 point for running an appointment and every day we had to get some combination that added up to at least two.

It was our minimum level of acceptable performance.

When I was pursuing the World Championship of Public Speaking, I set a goal to practice each of my speeches 21x in front of live audiences prior to the competition.

Each of these are great examples of a principle we believe in at Southwestern and that we promote heavily with our coaching clients which is to put your self-esteem into your work habits and not your production.

The concept is to focus on what you can control and let the results and outcomes be the bi-product.

The benefit is that it keeps you zoned in on the right thing: doing the work it takes to be successful.

And that’s a good thing because if your self-esteem is in your results, rather than your work habits, then it tends to be an up and down inconsistent roller coaster of emotions.

But when you’re focused on the work, you’re always consistently improving your skills, skewing the averages in your favor and increasing your self-confidence which all inevitably point to an increased likelihood of eventual success.

And reducing it down even further to a single Master Metric increases the likelihood of your success even more because it improves the concentration of your focus.

It doesn’t mean you don’t track other things. It doesn’t mean you don’t monitor other indicators.

Most of our coaching clients have 6-9 CSFs (Critical Success Factors) that we measure. But whenever we can, we try to find one that is the special Master Metric. If you’d like help finding yours please click here.

But no matter who you are, what industry you are in, or what your goal is, you should ask yourself “what is my Master Metric?”

“What is one thing that is in my control that I can focus on achieving that if I do it consistently and repeatedly, over the long term, it will help me intimately accomplish all my other goals?”

That will help you win.

That will help you become a master.