Sell it, don’t tell it

Whether you are a leader in business, in your home or in your community; or you are in sales/recruitment – essentially any position which requires you influencing others to  ‘come on board and buy into’ what you are proposing – this is for you.

In my role as a leader and coach to leaders, one of the key skills we need to be adept at is how to; ‘persuade’; ‘motivate’; ‘engage’ our audience to make a change and go down the path being proposed. Now change, in most cases, is never easy and I have found that people are typically reluctant to change – HBR published a great post outlining the Ten Reasons People Resist Change
So how do we get people to buy into what we are proposing and start that change?
Thankfully, I don’t need to re-create the wheel on this one as Simon Sinek, author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant, a guru in this area has already given us the key. Take a moment to watch his TED talk
Now, because this clip has had over 30million views there is a high likely hood that you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt!” which is why I have a second principle to add which goes as follows

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. “

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This quote (which I love) was brought back to my attention by one of my recruitment trainees after a session they had attended on ‘selling the opportunity’. In this session, my key objective is for participants to walk away with the ability to get a prospective job applicant committed to a role they are suited to, and it teaches a number of sales fundamentals centered around two mantras  –
Sell it, don’t tell it
Sell the opportunity, not the job
The reason for two mantras is that: the first is the essential process/flow to follow, as so beautifully explained by Simon (the sell). The second is the essential msg/focus of the message. Most people (sales and leaders alike) focus their message on (the job) what people are going to be doing and as Antoine so beautifully points out this does not get you buy-in. Rather, you need to paint a picture, create a feeling of how lives are going to change; how desires are going to be met; how expectations are going to be fulfilled (the opportunity) and then let your people decide how they are going to get there.

Remember, any time you are asking anybody for anything, the first question in their minds is “Whats in it for me?” so it’s critical that the message communicates this. In order to ensure the message connects with the ‘need’, do the following

  1. Identify their ‘what’ through curious questioning and loving listening
  2. Then take them on a journey of what this will look like, feel like when accomplished ‘why’
  3. Tie this tightly to ‘what’ you are proposing
  4. Finally then get their insight and commitment on ‘how’ they want to take that journey with you

Have fun, because you can

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