Great Management Books

Are You In Business or Show Business?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Early in my sales career I sold the Pitney Bowes range of mail handling equipment. I was planning a major demonstration for one of my prospects and had all the equipment setup. Darien, my sales manager, asked me to demonstrate to him what I planned to present to the prospect.

Darien taught me two vital lessons for people in sales or business that day.

Lesson 1- Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary

Folding invoices and stuffing them in envelopes has to be one of the most boring jobs imaginable. Darien, however, taught me how to load paper, envelopes and brochures with great flair. When he started the equipment folding, inserting, sorting, and franking the mail it was as if he were on the stage.

The first lesson he taught me was the importance of taking this boring activity and make it exciting. He taught me to have fun feeding the paper into the equiopment and use creative ways of describing what was happening “Here is the form the Robinson family will use to purchase that new frying pan from your store” I would say as the machine sucked up the next sheet, folded it and stuffed it in the next envelope.

Lesson 2 – Actors get paid to perform. Sales people get paid for results  

With the smoothness of two actors we put on a show for my prospect. The key difference to acting is we were performing not for applause but to influence and motivate someone to take action, to purchase the equipment we were showing off.

The second lesson Darien taught me was I was paid to sell and not for my acting ability. Acting was only to make the solution we were offering look easy and exciting; it was the rest of the sales process that won the business.

Who you focus on changes the outcome

Sales Demonstration of a Robot
Sales Demonstration of a Robot

Research tells us people spend almost all of their time thinking about themselves, their problems, and their own business. No matter how exciting the performance or smoothly a presentation to a prospect goes, the moment you leave their office their world crowds in again as the telephone rings or the next sales person calls.

It does not matter what level in an organisation you call on, from the CEO down, every person you speak to is a human being. They have emotional drivers just like every other person on this planet. They think about themselves first and almost all of the time.

It is how you control your own feeling of self importance and focus on the emotional green and red buttons of your customers and people you want to have influence with that will determine your ability to be successful in your endeavours.

It would be great if you were paid on your ability to present. What you are paid for, however, is your ability to help others see the way the world could be if they used your products or services and close the sale.

Yes, you are in show business. Showing the way life could be and helping people see themselves in the scenario you act out. It is your show business that drives your business.

Today’s question and Actions

The greatest actors are the ones who get inside their characters and become that person. The next time you get ready to present ask these three questions.

  •  What are my prospects emotional green and red buttons?
  • How can I present the potential new way of doing things in an exciting way which will allow my prospect see themself using my solution?
  • When I present my product or service am I addressing my clients needs or stroking my own ego?

Have a great week!


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