Like most professionals, I subscribe to Michelangelo’s motto for living: “I am always learning.” I attend conferences (excited to be going to SXSW for the first time in March), listen to webinars, read extensively, and am always seeking out interesting, smart people to meet. In that spirit, I looked forward to a “What’s New in Selling” webinar sponsored by no less than a highly respected “thought leader” firm. What a surprise!
What’s “New” is Very “Old!”
In a nutshell, this is what they said is “new:
- Bring something of value to every conversation.
- Have empathy for your buyer. See things from his point of view.
- Be smart. Know as much as possible about your buyer’s industry, company, competition, situation, challenges, etc. and then connect the dots to make the most appropriate fit.
- Focus how you spend your time.
This is not “new”.
My mentors taught me these things thirty years ago – before the internet, before social media, before smartphones, before digital sales software, and before self-styled “thought leaders.”
There are certain human truths that are timeless both in life and in business.
- People have never wanted their time wasted.
- People gravitate towards people who understand them.
- People appreciate creative, practical problem solvers.
Honor these truths and you will succeed. You don’t need a webinar for that.
What They Might Have Said...
The bar for sales success has risen.
- The acceleration of just about everything requires quicker mental agility and a sharper ability to focus on what is important.
- The universality of access to information increases the need for smarter preparation.
- The increased number of decision makers in a complex sale demands the highest emotional intelligence to read what people are really feeling.
- The similarity between and among products requires more creative thinking to present solutions and solve problems.
- Technology can be a “false friend.” (Don’t you cringe every time an inside sales rep calls and starts a conversation with you as if he/she were an old friend?)
- (My favorite) The shorter attention spans of people demand a more exacting use of the English language in every aspect of the sales process.
It’s a Higher Bar
The bottom-line, in my view, on those changes, particularly, but not exclusively, for complex sales, is that salespeople today need to be smarter, more strategic, more disciplined, and more facile with language– a profile that is harder to find than ever before. It is not so much doing "new" things, but doing "old things" far better.
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!
Talk About Smarter Use of Language! Did you miss this article?
My latest post on LinkedIn that explores three levels of metaphors you can use when you need to sell, influence, persuade, or explain anything to anyone.
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"Anne and I recently worked together on a speech I gave at a large conference. She helped me turn a series of somewhat interesting points into an expertly crafted, compelling and actionable story. Together, we built a storyline with attention-grabbing headlines. We worked and re-worked the language, making sure every word was important. Finally, Anne coached me on the delivery. The result was so exciting - I've never been so well received in a speech before. Thank you, Anne!" Kate Griffin, Vice President, CFED.org
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