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Stories as Strategies for Selling and Marketing:the HeART of STORY

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Ever since the first salesperson stood up on a soapbox and plugged away the scripted benefits of a heal-all, cure-all and save-all snake oil, people have become wary of commercials. They are tired of producers and salespersons pushing new products with added features in their faces. Commercials have not just invaded our homes through magazine, radio, and TV ads; they have also appeared on our dinner place-mats, sports arenas, and our hand-held devices and phones.  A former actor-comedian John Cleese, now a professor of creativity and marketing, claims marketing professionals are aware that 70-80% of their commercials and advertisements have no direct impact on sales. Yet, according to him, marketing and advertising professionals continue plaguing the world with commercials for the sake of keeping their industry alive.

Connect, Engage and Influence your World Creatively!

The same is true about other forms of direct selling, whether to individual customers or large businesses.  Salespeople keep on making linear, unidirectional, hackneyed presentations about how useful, and beneficial their products are without being concerned if all the noise they make with their flyer distributions, PowerPoint presentations, and product demonstrations make any impact at all. The truth is buyers do not buy when they are told to or sold to. They buy when their minds, memories, and emotions do a pivot upon hearing a story. It is a story that reaches out and touches them, and it is that story that engages them and turns their hearts around.

A very simple example might be that of a salesperson talking about how good the location, the construction, the price, and the potential appreciation of a piece of property is.  The same salesperson becomes amazingly more effective when he explains how the former owner, Mrs. Anderson, personally supervised the construction of the place. He can follow with another story about how the present price–much lower than the current market value– helped Mr. Smith sell his property down the street with a whopping 25% gain within a year of having purchased it.

The whole tenet of wrapping real, valuable truth in the colorful images of a story promotes the truth easily and happily.  The stories, of course, must be relevantly parallel and put across a simple, honest truth—buying the product makes good sense.

So, next time on site visit to one of your properties:

  1. Dig through the history of the property and the people that used to live there.
  2. Who were they? What was their life like? What experiences did they have in that house?
  3. Chose the happy, productive and life-changing events that occurred in that house.
  4. Tell those stories to the new, potential owners.
  5. Back up the story with the numbers and paint a picture of a happy future they can have in that home.

For more such ideas and insights to hone up your influencing skills take up storytelling as a hobby and a practice.

Here’s the book Amazon: the HeART of STORY 

 

 

 

Warm, Cold Calling

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A week before last Christmas I was in the middle of a training session in Mumbai, India when my silent phone lit up with an incoming call. During the break I noted that it was from an unknown number from the Philippines. Instead of asking an impolite “Who is this please?” I sent an SMS saying, “I am in the middle of a meeting-how can I help?”

“You can help me buy a cocktail dress,” came back a prompt reply. This time, since I didn’t recognize the incoming number I responded with an impolite, “Who is this please?” “Pamela,” came back a quick response. Thinking this was someone from my family or friends, I responded with, “Right. Ha ha ha, and a Ho ho ho to you too!”

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The Map & the Reality

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One of the principles I put across in most of my workshops is that it is fine to mindlessly mouth the adage that change is the only constant in the world. What we do not realize that change is not just a constant but that there are multiple realities and all that we perceive to be realities are also constantly changing. Thus, everything we perceive or “map” to be our reality is not what others perceive it to be. And, not only do these internal maps or perceptions differ but they are also, always, in a constant, frenzied flux. It’s as if all our individual minds are like frenzied snow-globes of different kinds and then we all live, work and progress inside a huge snow-globe called life.

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Intention and Action in Sales

I am a big believer in the power of intention. Of course, believing in the power of intention does not, for me, cross out my faith in the power of action and my trust in taking action. Intention is the non-tangible seed and action is that aspect of all successes that is visible and measurable. Thus, without the right intention, your actions can be insipid and your outcomes can amount to zilch. Nada. Nothing!

In sales and selling when approaching new clients, analyzing their needs and presenting them with options or, even, solutions your true and authentic intentions will have a direct correlation to all outcomes and to the closing of the sale.

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Five Questions on Sales Coaching

It has been an interesting day one at the 5th HeART2HeART Sales Management & Coaching workshop at the Ascott in Makati, Philippines. Though I have talked many times about the various aspects of coaching at several venues still the questions that come up from a brand new audience create brand new opportunities for deepening and broadening my understanding of the field.

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Sales Coaching, a Calling

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The real value underlying coaching others, especially your sales teams, is the fact that while you are helping, guiding and nurturing others into being their own best and unleashing personal resources for personal success, is that you as a coach, as a leader learn thrice as much. These are just three of the things that happen to YOU when you coach others:

  • Your own insights into the finer nuances of selling skills multiply exponentially.
  • You become a more cautious and a careful person and develop an uncanny ability into seeing what others need, what others say and how others express themselves.
  • You also learn to assimilate information in a dynamic and a holistic way.

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I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?