Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You can also tell stories and give pictures of future outcomes: paint a picture in your prospect’s mind of what life will be like once they’ve bought the apartment, the new car, or the weekend at your health retreat. Brochures, websites, and ads do this well – I hope yours do. Sales conversations and presentations can also paint a picture of the future. You can weave into conversation the ease of living close to public transport, driving on an open road on a sunny weekend with the roof down, or feeling serene and re-energized in beautiful surroundings. Learn to love language and allow the language to paint pictures. This has been a huge part of mastering the art of sales for me. I know that if all else fails, I can lean back on the language, paint a picture, and enjoy the conversation. If language works for you as a rapport-builder, develop this skill of storytelling. Learn to trust your skill and refine it. Learn about length, how much information to give when, and how to place your listener in the heart of their own story.
Help the recipient see their future with their concerns addressed and their dreams fulfilled. Ask them if this is what they truly want for themselves. Then step back and wait in silence. Let a pin drop. And let them come to you if they want to.
If you’re thinking this takes confidence, it does. Sometimes it means slowing down and chilling out, often in the heart of the sale. I love the rush of the sale, the adrenalin, but taking your sale towards the next step is often more tactical than it is exciting. You need to be clear-headed and alert.. Cultivate a mindset of possibility and follow that through with purposeful, persistent action.
But remember: building rapport is something you do already. Think of who you’re being when you’re being your best – with your relatives, your spouse, your friends, perhaps. When you’re being your most obliging and helpful, without over-extending, when you’re focused on the other person’s needs in that situation. Perhaps you’re patient, quietly firm, and self-assured in your leadership. Maybe people stop and listen to you at a dinner party when you’re telling a story. You can create this awareness too. Develop a sense of who you’re being and how you make yourself heard in your life. How does this help you achieve what you want? Take this best version of yourself to the sale. Remember that numbers tell powerful stories too.
Tell people how much they’ll save when they work with you or buy your product. This worked wonders for me when I gave up smoking. The program was sold on the premise that it was a seven-week course and that within another seven weeks the course would have paid for itself, simply in what I’d save on cigarettes in that time. It worked. I haven’t smoked for twelve years now, so the sums are looking good.
Timothy Daly, the playwright, gave me a piece of advice I take to my coaching clients: ‘Expand what’s good in a work.’ I invite you to expand the good in you, expand the rapport with your client, expand on the benefits in this story for them. Keep expanding the good. Let the rest slip away.
Big thanks to Valerie Khoo, whose generous, enthusiastic testimonial reminded me of the power of storytelling, and led to today's post.
‘Michael Neaylon understands the power of story-telling in the world of business. His no-nonsense approach to creating an effective brand is a must for small businesses who want an edge over their competitors. Highly recommended.’
Valerie Khoo, small business commentator and founder of the multi-award-winning Sydney Writers' Centre.
To your great success
Author of the forthcoming book, 'True Brand Toolkit: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'