Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why We Must Sell.

The profession of sales gets a bad rap. Salespeople bother us when we're eating, jump on us at the car lot, interrupt our strolls through the mall, and we can't trust a word that comes out of their mouths, because they only care about one thing: The Sale!

I hate to break this to you, but...You are a Salesperson. Especially when you Speak & Deliver. Even if you aren't on stage or in front of a group. Have you ever sold the idea of "Clean your room" to a child? Ever said "Can I have a popsicle" to your parents, with saucer-size eyes and a coy smile? Or, perhaps you're guilty of uttering the dreaded "How YOU doin'?" (with much the same look you had asking for the popsicle...) upon meeting an attractive man or woman?

We are always in sales mode to some degree, even if we're just selling the idea of "I have to get up and get ready to go" to ourselves when the alarm goes off.

Don't worry. It's OK. You don't have to go buy a polyester suit and rent Glengarry Glen Ross. There's nothing to be ashamed of! You'll be much better off when you accept reality. Only then will you be able to harness your powers for the good of your audience. Of course, what's good for your audience will be good for you, your ego, and likely your pocketbook, as well. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

When giving an effective speech, you typically need to hit the following buttons:

A. What you want them to do. (In sales terms: The Offer)
B. Who else has done it, and what happened when they did it. (The Testimonial)
C. Why its good for them to do it. (The Benefit)
D. An acknowledgement about why they may not want to do it. (The Objections)
E. A story about how they will feel when they do it. (The Assumptive Sale)
F. Instruct them to do it. (The Close)

The rules of sales parallel those of the speaker. What annoys your customer will annoy your audience. Conversely, what inspires your audience will inspire your customers!

For some of you, this is a tough concept to handle. As a speaker, it's important that you come to terms with it, for the sake of your audience.

Your audience needs to hear what you have to say - if they don't, you shouldn't be saying it. Your audience needs believe that you believe what you're saying - if you don't, stop saying it. Your audience needs clear direction on how and when to do what you're saying - if you don't provide it, you've wasted your time and theirs.

The best salespeople eventually learn to work from the self-interest of their customers. As speakers, we must do the same. Believe it or not, we have a responsibility to sell to our audience for their own good. This starts with selling our idea. It may expand to selling books, tapes, or coaching. It may go so far as blatantly asking for money to support the cause we're speaking on behalf of.

In the end, whatever outcome we want must come from the benefit of the audience. They must see what's in it for them - the change, the avoidance of pain, the joy, the satisfaction, the success that awaits them upon taking action.

Fellow speakers, go out and sell. Its okay. Like it or not - it's what you DO.

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