“The only thing you’ve got in this world is what you can sell.” – Charley, in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller
As challenging as sales can be, no one should wind up like poor Willy Loman.
The main character in “Death of a Salesman” ends up beaten down – and ultimately dead – from his decades-ago mistake of choosing sales as a career.
Willy went into sales for all the wrong reasons. Portraying the destructive effects the decision has on his family, Arthur Miller painted a dark, tragic tale of misguided ambition that has resonated throughout American literature, theater and film.
Willy Loman never figured out the “why” of his chosen profession. He paid dearly.
No, sales isn’t for everybody.
Figure out your “why,” though, and sales can be a highly-lucrative, immensely-fulfilling occupation.
See, the old saying “people buy people” is true … and the “why” is why they do so.
Your “why” makes up a powerful personal statement, even if not completely verbalized. The intangibles behind it are the most powerful piece in your sales toolbox.
Consider cold calling, which everyone in sales does at one time or another. At my recent Three Pillars of Cold Call Success seminar, I asked the audience which terms they associate with this time-tested tactic.
Some responses were immediate: “Rejection.” “Scary.” “Challenging.” “Necessary.”
Some different answers followed: “Prosperous.” “Fun.” “Entertaining.”
Why the 180-degree differences in perception? My hunch is the second group had defined their “why.”
Truth is, with cold calling, the war is won or lost before you pick up the phone. If your strategy is misaligned, the structure of your call misguided, and your guiding psychologymistaken, you’ll barely get past “Hello.”
You need instant differentiation. Make your intangibles abundantly obvious. Convey the right impressions. Despite the product or service you represent, you’re really selling yourself.
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Are you easy to work with? Are you confident in your product or service? Are you better than others in your field?
No prospect wants to be treated like a number on a call sheet. Do you take a genuine interest in them – you know, tune into WIFM?
Sure, putting your “why” out there to complete strangers makes you vulnerable. You might be nervous or unsure at first. Scheduling a few appointments should cure the hesitation – because, put into practice correctly, this will result.
Here’s how: Lead your cold call with the “why.” Speak confidently. Elevate the mood.
Buy time. Say less, not more. Pique curiosity … which is all about successful differentiation.
A good cold call script runs 20 to 25 seconds. You’re not going to tell your life story. No need to do so, either. Nor to close a sale, or even make the other person like you.
Your aim is to schedule dedicated time – that’s it.
People buy based on emotion, not logic. They buy the “why” you do something … not the “something” itself.
Are you focusing on the right things, in your cold calling and other sales tactics? If you’re leading with what you’re selling, the answer is “no.”
If your approach emphasizes “why” you’re selling, your chances of success just rose exponentially.
It’s a person you’re dealing with, after all. They’re not buying what you’re selling. They’re buying you.
You’re not Willy Loman. You’re a capable sales rep with a bright future. Put your “why” to work … and write a happy ending to your own story.
Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, as well as the Founder/CEO ofThe Cold Call Coach. Struggling with cold calling in your sales outreach? ConsiderCold Calling for Success or Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.