Yesterday, I relearned the important lesson: Preparation is more than a quick-run through — you need to rehearse the whole show, with all of the elements. Thankfully, Matt Handal had prepared his webinar presentation: How to Give Your Proposals the Edge They Need, and I made sure to be on site on time, using Citrix’s Gotowebinar.com resources (affiliate link).
But little things, like understanding how to work the “mute” button and how to read the question and answer file, I didn’t prepare. I didn’t think to test these issues in my one-on-one rehearsal with Matt, so when the webinar occurred, there were indeed some awkward moments.
Of course, we all make mistakes, and this lack of preparation didn’t (thankfully) harm the event’s overall value and effectiveness. Yet it reminds me that care, attention, and practice are always useful, especially when you are taking things seriously.
The other challenge yesterday proved to be its intensity. There was a morning community association presentation from a media and communications specialist regarding how to handle crisis communications. Although I didn’t attend the event as a working media member (and so need to be sensitive about sharing the contents directly), I will report and pass on the observations I learned in a future blog posting. (There’s a great video/story of how not to handle media relations in a crisis.) As well, I had to prepare for and co-ordinate a board meeting for the Ottawa chapter of Construction Specifications Canada. This stuff all needed to be managed in the context of overseeing my overall business.
In a day like this, how do you think I would react if someone got through to me on my cellular or land-line and spewed a canned sales pitch? And how do you think I would respond to a spam promotional email? Thankfully, no one dared call me with unsolicited crap yesterday, and I’ll be dumping the spam folder in a few minutes.
However, (in a sign of a healthy business), Terry Hartman, the Florida Construction News co-ordinator, forwarded some observations she had learned about effective telemarketing and communications. She found some material from Australian sales trainer Ari Galper. (Affiliate link.)
I don’t think he will mind the copyright stretch in republishing these words, which resonate with my values and which are the foundations of sales success:
Galper’s model is called Unlock The Game®, which he describes as “A new cold calling and sales mindset focused on building trust.”
- Shift your mindset away from ‘making the sale’ towards whether the fit exists or not. Look for what the other person is thinking and whether there is actually a real possibility of a fit. Do not assume they should buy what you have. Aim to qualify, not force or persuade.
- Be a helper not a pitcher. Help your prospect, instead of referring to features and benefits – this centers the conversation on the other person, not you.
- Focus on the beginning – not the end. Be sensitive to the early interaction with your prospect – keep your mindset and behaviors stay in the present moment (with the client) and avoid pushing forward (where you want to go – which you can only guess at best).
- Stop chasing prospects – behave with dignity. Create an open pressure-free atmosphere – set a tone of equality and mutual respect – strive to be regarded as a helpful human being instead of a typical sales person.
- Connect with your prospects rather than work through a list. Focus on how to make a true connection with each prospect – this naturally helps build trust – think about and discuss their issues, not yours.
- Creating trust with your prospect is your primary goal – not making the sale. Creating genuine trust is the essence of building real relationships and real relationships turn into more sales.
- Diffuse any pressure that you sense in the sales process. By diffusing the tension and pressure in the sales process between you and your prospects, you bring both of you closer to an honest and truthful conversation.
- Change your language away from ‘sales speak’ to natural language that connects with people. By using phrases like ‘would you be open to’ instead of ‘would you be interested in’, you immediately set yourself apart as someone who is patient, open minded and willing to listen.
- Understand your prospect’s problems deeply so that they feel ‘understood’ by you. By having a deep understanding of the problems that your prospects experience everyday, the easier it will be for you to really feel that you know and care about their situation.
- Use the Unlock The Game Mindset – both in your business and personal life because relationships are the same in both worlds. By also applying these principles in your personal life, with people you care about, you’ll begin to see a deeper trust being built that can strengthen your relationships for the long term.
Of course, Galper is advocating respect, trust, and other-focused selling, networking, marketing and personal relationship development. We achieve maturity when we are able to look beyond ourselves into the needs, values and interests of others. The single clearest tracking indicator I have of a sales representative’s success is how much time and effort he or she puts into community relationships and giving/sharing. Our company’s leading sales rep has mastered this skill (and I respect his engagement in the community in areas beyond business.) The more exciting development, however, is a formerly struggling second representative, whose performance is rapidly improving as he builds the client-centred trust approach into his own day-to-day work.
I can’t say I got everything right yesterday. But I learned, reinforced, contributed, and did my best to treat everyone with respect. So it proved to be a good day. How will you spend your own day now?