When you were a little kid, you had some opportunity where you wanted something really, really bad. To get what you wanted, you thought about your options and then went in for the big pitch. Whether your target audience was one of your parents, grandparents, relatives, friends or someone else, you gave it everything you had to convince that person that they needed to purchase whatever it was that you wanted. That’s selling.
That desire doesn’t necessarily go away when we get older. Andy Stanley, a popular seminar speaker, author and pastor, describes effective passion as equal to a 16-year-old girl who wants the latest iPhone. Especially if you have a daughter, this mental picture is very effective. Have you ever interacted with a teenage girl who lives on her phone? If you have, you get the idea . . . and you understand the passion involved.
So why don’t we have that kind of passion when we sell, promote, or market who we are or what we do for a living? For many of us, that’s a great question.
Here are some reasons why we’re not as effective as we could be – and some compelling reasons to change that situation in our favor:
We’re braced to be rejected personally – and it’s not personal.
We were taught in junior high school that words really do mean something – probably more than we should value them. Frankly, that’s what the one dishing the rude comments wanted you to think. For many of us, we didn’t let those comments go away very easily. Unfortunately, we should have let them go. As adults, we tend to dwell on rejection way too much, in large part because we were taught to dwell on rejection when we were younger. And it really shouldn’t have that much of an effect – but sometimes it does.
We never thought about what we sell can solve a crisis.
Many of us are taught that the selling process is an opportunity to get ripped off. We need to guard our wallet, because someone is trying to separate us from our hard-earned cash. The problem is that we start to think that we’re actually trying to separate the buyer from his or her hard-earned cash, which is a major mistake.
We don’t identify with the product/service.
Sometimes we sign up to “do the job,” but we don’t really “get it.” Instead, we figure that we can give out facts and figures and that approach will be good enough. Frankly, it never is good enough.
Here’s the reality of the situation: we usually only have a few seconds to make a first selling impression. If we can get past that first impression with a great presentation, we have about 10-15 seconds to get through that stage where our audience decides if it’s worth listening to the rest of the speech.
If we start our speech with a lackluster, “you probably don’t want to hear this, but . . .” style of introduction, we’re sure to fail. Even if we have a “hey, this is a pretty good product/service you need to consider,” it’s still risky. If we do a presentation with a “I am really convinced that this is a great solution and you will be, too!” as the approach, we’re going to gain some attention. The reason is we give the impression that we believe in what we’re promoting or selling. That gets people interested and initially convinced that what you’re selling is something to consider.
When we provide a solution to someone, rather than just selling something, it creates an opportunity to engage with something that will allow to make someone’s life better. We make the opportunity more engaging with the buyer. It also makes us feel better about ourselves as we feel like we’re helping someone. It doesn’t feel like we’re taking money from someone, but that they are trading money for a great solution.
Here are some good points as you build a strategy to sell with passion:
Figure out how you can use the product/service yourself – and why it makes your life better.
When you know a product or service very well, and can share it with a buyer, that’s good. What makes the presentation a great one, however, is when you present a compelling argument for why it makes the buyer’s life a better one. When you make this kind of presentation, it’s focused on the buyer, not the sale. More importantly, it builds trust as you are engaging with the buyer on a personal level. Keep in mind, however, that you need to take a genuine interest in the product or service you are promoting – or otherwise you will look foolish and deceptive.
Figure out how to solve the buyer’s problem with the product/service you are promoting.
If the buyer can’t see the problem, it’s useless selling them a product or service. If I am recruiting for a company and am trying to get qualified candidates, I am careful with securely employed candidates. Those candidates may find it disrespectful for me to ask them to betray trust their employer has placed in them.
More importantly, they also don’t see any compelling reason to leave. They have decided at some point to be in the best situation for themselves. I shouldn’t tell them they made a bad career decision if they haven’t come to that conclusion themselves. Now if a potential candidate is working for a company that treats their employees poorly, that is a different situation. If I have gained that person’s trust as a confidant and expert, I can be effective for them. In all cases, we should make a committed effort to meet the buyer’s needs, not to make a sale.
Tell the story and let the buyer decide if the story is for them, too.
When you tell a story, you know that every story isn’t for everyone. However, it’s your story and it’s for you to treasure. Don’t memorize a script and quote it by heart if it doesn’t sound like your genuine voice and opinion. Make it your own, and it will resonate with others. If the listener doesn’t want to make the story his or her own, that’s up to them. You don’t have to take it personally. Certainly the process of crafting the story for selling your product or service requires you to craft it well. Focus on how you can help others be a part of your story.
Be convinced, be committed and be able to tell a story if you want to sell with passion!