We’ve talked about the importance of authentic branding and presentation through using our creativity. Once you are clear on who you are—the personal brand you’re promoting—it’s time to share that authenticity with potential clients: it’s time to connect.
Connection is magic. Say you are giving a presentation to the executive of a chain of stores in hopes that he or she will agree to carry your product.
Of course you tell them why your product is the best and how it will benefit them to sell it. But the fact is, most sales aren’t made from a logical place. Buying is an emotional experience. People don’t just think, “is this the best product?”, they also think, “do I like it? How do I feel about buying it? Will this make me happy?”
You can’t usually make people feel emotionally inspired by a product. That feeling experience needs to come from somewhere else—it needs to come from you. This is why your sales pitch is so important! Yes, you need to know all the facts around what you are selling; yes, you need to research the company or people you are pitching, and demonstrate why they need you; but equally important, you need to connect with them. If they like you, this will sway their decision.
On a practical level, some ways to accomplish this sort of connection are:
– Listen as much as you speak. As you are chatting before your presentation (because you must chat before your presentation!), ask them leading questions that will show you what their needs and wants are—then during your presentation, show how you meet those needs
– Be vulnerable. Share a story about a time you failed badly, what you learned from it, and how it helped you deliver an even better product or service—the very one you are offering them the opportunity to buy today!
– Be personal. Make eye contact, address everyone by name, and refer to specific details about them if you can (“I’m sure that, as CEO, you have seen this problem many times before…” or “someone with jewelry like yours obviously appreciates quality”)
– Reference how your product impacts their lives directly. If you are selling to a large company, mention a way that working with you will help whomever you are pitching feel better about themselves personally, make more money, impact more people, or something that makes it relevant to them as individuals. Remember, however, not to force or fake it. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time (your intuition will tell you when this is so). In that case, it may be a strategic move to say, “you know, it sounds like this isn’t the right fit for you now, but let’s stay in touch and maybe we can revisit the idea in six months.” Showing that you are invested in a long-term relationship, rather than a one-off sale, also establishes connection—and if you maintain that relationship with thoughtful reminders over the coming months, those can sometimes become your best long-term clients.
Just remember that people buy emotionally. Give them all the facts they need for a logical decision, then show your best, most available and engaging self to connect with them and impact their emotional decision.
To be continued….
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