Sales as Performance (Issue 465)

In which we are reminded that people frequently make decisions based on feelings, first, then on facts. During a heated discussion recently, one of our colleagues growled,  "Facts don't count."   At the time, I thought, "What an IDIOT!   Of  COURSE facts count.  This is a BUSINESS we're talking about."    But... what if facts DON'T count as much any more?  What would  that mean for how you sell?

It’s what another friend refers to as “the Mary Kay” effect (as in  Mary Kay cosmetics).  Features and benefits are replaced by  feelings and  anecdotes. Merrie Spaeth, founder of Spaeth Communications, Inc.   and former member of the White House Press Office, gives us  another look, saying, “We don’t live in an age of facts.  We have  to turn it into pictures.”  Continuing, she added, “News isn’t news  anymore. We live in an age of entertainment.”

So, sales as entertainment?  That would mean that you’re a  performer.  Using the principle that “good teaching is one  quarter preparation and three quarters theater,”  perhaps good  selling is or will be the same.  And, if that’s true in your  business, you have to ask yourself, “How good a performer, how  good an entertainer am I?”   Not entertainer, as in “take clients  out to dinner and a ball game,”  not that.  Entertainer as in  “competitor to VH1,” entertainer as in user of images, raconteur  of anecdotes, evoker of feelings.  The Oxford Concise Dictionary  says: “That which entertains usually does so because of a plan or  program that engages the attention by being pleasing  and  sometimes instructive.”

A plan or a program that is pleasing and SOMETIMES instructive.   And to think we spend all those hours working on the instructive  part.  How many hours do you spend working on the “pleasing”   part of your sales calls or sales presentations?  [Or are you,  like most of us, slapping a series of densely-texted Powerpoint  slides together so you can ‘walk people through’ your ideas?]  And, how have you invested in your stage presence?  Can you  pull people  to the very BRINK of their seats with your voice….  with your facial expressions?

If all the world’s a stage, then every sales call is a performance.   Curtain call, ladies and gentlemen. To be, or not to be…a performer,  that is the question.

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