Write this Down: Part One

When I conduct a sales workshop (of which I do about 40 in a given year) I have a verbal tic that participants notice right away. As we move through the structured materials and focused discussions of our day, I'm constantly telling them to "write this down." I do this because I'll recall an idea or strategy midstream that I know is going to prove helpful later on.

So I've decided to write some of them down myself. Enjoy.

If you want to be terrific, be specific. Most of us treat our customers' business and advertising problems like so many disposable razor blades. Get just a little specific about their situation and watch the nature of your meetings and your relationships change for the better. It's better to be specific and wrong than accurate and meaningless.

Sell pain relievers, not vitamins. Most of us tell clients about things that are generally good for them. This will extend your reach...this will help your brand. Those who zero in specifically on an important short term pain point are more likely to create urgency and walk away with a sale.

Complexity is your enemy. Clients thrive on direction and clarity. Most sellers drown them in options and detail. Just get to the point. Start with zero slides and build from there. And tell your customer what you think they should do. If you're not there to recommend action, why are you there?

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People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle" TED Talk and his book "Start with Why" are game changers. Don't go more than two slides or 3 minutes into any meeting before explaining "Why We're Here Today." And have a really good answer.

Be the party host, not the entertainment. Sales is not performance art. Most of us are way too wrapped up in what we're going to say and how we're going to perform. Instead, pretend you are the host of the meeting and task yourself with creating a real conversation and making sure everyone is heard and comfortable. Transformative.

Clients will always build something bigger with you than they'll buy from you. We tax our companies and our teams by making them build thousands of polished presentations and demos every year. And they fall flat. Instead, show your customer the plans, the blue print, the storyboard. Keep it rough and invite them to draw, cut, add. If they help build it, they'll also own it.

You never get more than you ask for. And most sellers, unfortunately, don't ask for anything. They imply. They talk about the next meeting, or going back to the office and putting together a proposal. But ask for the order? Close? Not so much. And the opportunity - to qualify, to clarify, to keep selling - is lost.

Watch for future posts in which I'll continue to build on this list.