Category: Sales

Perfecting your sales strategy is like learning the art of boxing: Focus, precision, connection

We all sell something: 

Ideas, methods, technologies, products, services, artistic creations….

We all need people to buy what we sell. This is a basic, unadorned truth. 

Selling our products or services to people is not easy. If you would like to get better at it, or need a fresh vision, this story is for you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I did it.

I finally made the leap. Today was my fourth session.

I recently started doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: learn the sport of boxing. And now I have a personal trainer—a coach—just for me.

When I got up this morning, and put on my sweat suit, my body was aching. I can feel muscles I’ve never felt before. Yes sir, there they are, being stretched and worked for what seems like the very first time.

We probably all think we know how to box, more or less. So why did I get a coach to help me do something that I could have done on my own? All you have to do put your fists in front of your face and punch into the air. Start swinging, right?

Wrong.

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Fibs, tricks and lies: A true tale

The desperate salesman

A woman who lives in a large metropolitan area is trying to sell an apartment that sits empty in a small town just outside her city. It has been for sale for over two years. Four agencies have it listed, and what seems like an infinite stream of other agencies call weekly wanting to list the apartment as well.  They all seem understandably desperate. The woman politely says “no thank you” to them all, telling them she does not wish to list with any more agencies.

One day a man calls and asks to see the apartment; he is very interested. He says he represents an agency and the woman says, “I already have it listed with four agencies and that is enough, but thank you for calling”. And the man says, “Oh, but I am the one interested in the apartment, not my agency. I am looking for an apartment in this particular town with a large terrace. You see, I have to move from where I live now, an apartment with a terrace, and this is why I am interested in yours”.

The man’s story makes sense and she makes an appointment to show him the flat.

The day of the appointment, she makes the half hour drive to the small town, meets the man at the apartment, and he takes a look around. He is carrying a small black notebook, very official looking, which he absentmindedly passes back and forth from hand to hand as he quickly looks in each room.

He then says, “if you would like to tell me the square metres of this flat, our agency can…” The woman interrupts, “but you said the flat was for you”. The man stammers “well, yes, er, uh, well, you see, it is out of my price range and our agency would be interested…“ The woman interrupts again, “I told you I did not want to list with another agency, and you told me you were the one interested, which is why I came to this appointment”. The man stammered some more, fiddling with his shiny black notebook, and the woman repeated herself and the man stammered and the appointment came to a cold and uncomfortable end.

Why?

Because the real estate agent lied.

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The trumpet player and the president

A brief tale about focus groups.

There were once two men with talent; one was a gifted musician and the other an elected president of a beautiful country. The musician played his trumpet every evening for change from passersby in a long underground passageway that connected two lines of the city’s metro. The other delivered very important speeches that sought to explain the country’s difficult economic situation to his constituents. The musician played his music quite well, but he played his instrument so loud that people hurried past, and some even slightly turned away, shielding themselves from the blare of the trumpet which produced a painful sensation as they neared. Not far away from there, the president, who was an intelligent man and competent orator, looked squarely into the television camera and endlessly put forth complex data and technical vocabulary while the citizens listened in their homes with confusion and impatience.

Neither of these talented men was engaging their public. Both had missed their mark. They desperately needed feedback from their targeted listeners. A small focus group would have easily told the trumpet player that he was playing too loud and the president that his discourse did not help them to understand their country’s very real problems.

For the musician, this meant that no people stopped to put money in his hat. For the president it meant that thousands of people grew frustrated and distrustful.

Think for a moment about your talent and your project. Do you know how your public engages, how they feel, and if your art is making the impact you desire? If not, find out. Run a focus group.

It could mean the difference between your success and going home with an empty hat.