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Don’t Waste Time Selling

The real winners in today’s competitive business world are those people who can capture the imagination of their clients very quickly and persuade them to want to continue the discussion.

“To be successful, it’s no longer good enough just to be competent. You have to stir the brain cells – and the hearts – of your intended audience” Harvard Business Press 2002 (yes, it’s a ten year old reference but it’s still true today).

Keep your sales story as brief as you can. The more detail you add, the more you are in danger of diluting its impact. The detail might justify the story but it won’t attract people to it in the first place. Or make it memorable; it can have the opposite effect.

 ‘Less is more’ is phrase that my art teacher used a lot. He wanted his students to use the minimum amount of paint and the fewest number of brush strokes to create the desired impression.  Most of us added too much colour and detail, thinking that every extra splash of colour would improve the final painting. It never did. In some cases, the blank canvas gave a better impression than the ‘final’ painting.

Adding too much detail to your sales story can be worse than saying nothing. I know – I’ve been there, done that and got an entire wardrobe of ‘T’ shirts. So brevity is the key.

Whatever your religion (or non-religion) I’m sure you’ll agree that The Lord’s Prayer has had a great impact on many parts of the world – and yet it is only sixty-six words long. The European Commission report into market forces affecting the price of cabbages is over sixty-six thousand words.  There could be lots of valid detail in this document (oh yeah?) but it’s unlikely to be one thousand times more memorable than the Lord’s Prayer.

 So if we want our message to have an impact, it must be brief and to the point. Once you’ve made a good impact and earned the extra time to tell your story in more detail, you must tell it in a compelling and persuasive manner, and give value for every minute  that you take.  

You can find out more from my ‘elevator pitch kindle books and ebooks. Spend a moment at http://www.kindlebooksplus.co.uk

And as this blog has been about brevity, I’ll shut up now.


Selling? – Then learn from the ‘half-way doctor’

If a doctor started the consultation by telling you the ‘features’, ‘advantages’ and ‘benefits’ of a new pill, you would get worried.  If you mentioned that you had a headache and, immediately, the Doctor said, “I’ve got just the pill for you”, you would probably run for the door.  Medical people at every level, have ‘diagnosis’ as the focus of the consultation; they will ask about your symptoms (pain etc), your lifestyle (drink, smoke, exercise), your worries and stress factors – and so on.  The medical people tell me that ‘understanding the patient completely’ enables the doctor to offer the best diagnosis  – and subsequently (and ‘subsequently’ is a key word), propose the best ‘solution’ to the problem.   Doctors, like sales people, have to learn to resist the urge to produce a solution before they have the complete picture and the priorities agreed by the ‘patient’.   If you think about it, not to do so could be fatal!  A sales person selling an inappropriate solution is a bad situation, but a doctor ‘selling’ the wrong medication would be catastrophic.

I have done simulated patient exercises with Doctors purely on getting a good ‘history’ and making a ‘differential diagnosis’ (diagnosis alternatives). Good consultative selling is similar.  The complete diagnosis (with priorities) is made before any mention of a solution and without prejudging what the solution should be.  I am no doctor, of course, so keep your clothes on; I don’t have the medical knowledge to make a competent diagnosis. But it’s that lack of knowledge inhibiting the urge to offer solutions that makes me very good at getting a good overview of all the problem symptoms.  I am an excellent half-way doctor’

Want to hear my full ‘learn from the half-way doctor’ motivational pitch?  Email me at wdfreeman@ymail.com. My stethoscope is always ready.

‘From bellman to twitter – the lessons for today’

William Shakespeare, a master of the spoken and written word never read a ‘proper’ newspaper; they didn’t exist in any great form when he was alive. Important announcements, messages and warnings would be proclaimed by the town crier / bellman. These were clear, succinct and to the point  – and the Bellman’s proclamation (shout) would be, typically, half a minute long.  The bellman’s posted notice would be on a single page and written so the ‘common man (assuming he could read) would understand it .  No ‘flashing’ powerpoint images (or even ‘non flashing’ ones); just concise verbal and spoken clarity.

Jump forward a few hundred years (and a few trillion powerpoint slides) and we come to twitter. Expert tweeters among you will know the skill in getting your point across in 140 characters or less. We live in a world on newspaper, tv and media communications but we can learn a lot from the ‘bellman and twitter’ demands for clarity and brevity. We also live in a world of powerpoint and have enjoyed its usefulness and endured its ghastliness. If I had £1 for every powerpoint presentation I have slept though, I would be very rich as well as being very rested.

‘From Bellman to Twitter – the lessons for today’ happens to be the title of my latest set of speeches and workshops. What a lucky coincidence. You can find out more at http://www.williamfreeman.co.uk  Look at the ‘training’ page – and, while you are there, take a look at the other pages too. Oyez!