Friday, July 5, 2013

A Friend’s Perspective on Your Business



A Friend’s Perspective on Your Business

Over my 25+ years as a sales professional, I’ve come to realize that none of us will ever know all there is to know about any of our professions…..and sales may perhaps be the hardest one of all to conquer.

I’ve attended dozens of conferences and seminars, hundreds of webcasts, internal training, external training, new hire training, I even once took a course on how to train.  Still, with all this training, I will never fully understand all there is about selling.

I have worked with loads of other sales professionals…. some old, some young, many my age, and learned something good or bad from each and every one of them.  In our early years, it seems easy to pick up closing techniques, prospecting tricks, and perceived shortcuts to success.  Later in my career, I’ve found it more likely to observe people using methods that involve new styles, like social media, SEO, self-branding, and using other modern systems to succeed.  Today, the information available to us through the internet is almost infinite.

But to put this all into perspective, is using Hoover’s or Jigsaw or Linkedin to research companies and prospects any better than the old school method of “dialing for dollars” out of the phone book?  I’m not sure; I guess it would depend on what works for you….

But over the years, I have learned that the best method to get a neutral perspective on how your sales pitch works is to simply run it by one of your personal friends.  I have a lot of friends outside of sales and many work in fields completely removed from my product line.  There is no better test for your pitch than running it by one of your friends who has no idea whatsoever what you really do for work and what you really sell.

If you can maintain the interest of your friends with your sales pitch and at the end of your five minute pitch, they understand your product,  you’re on the right track.  I have even had the pleasure of hearing some great ideas from some of my friends which I have put into play and had great success with.  I consider this a bonus, but it happens more than you think.  It just takes you to practice perhaps the hardest sales skill of all…Listening!

So the next time you’re at a lunch, a ballgame, a cookout, or perhaps on the golf course with one of your friends, take a couple minutes and give him or her your pitch.  You might be surprised at what comes of it…and you might even discover they have a great contact or two for your to reach out to.  They had them all the time but never truly understood what you did or what you sold?  

But be prepared...good friends are brutally honest.  Just as quickly as they'll tell you your clothes don't match or you car is filthy, they'll tell you your delivery stinks!  If after you've finished, they still have no idea what you sell, you need to go back to the drawing board and rework your story.

I'm looking forward to hearing how successful you are in the coming weeks after you try this technique.  If there's someone's friend out there who's had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of someone's sales speech, I enjoy hearing about that too.

So let's get out there and engage our Friends!

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