This past weekend, I saw the British movie, The Trip. Nothing happens. There is no plot. There are no car chases, no gun play, and no naked women. It’s just two guys driving around the north of England, talking endlessly, and occasionally eating dinner.
I loved it.
The reason I found this film so fascinating, funny, and compelling was because of the incredibly rich character development and the razor-sharp dialogue. I felt real sorrow for the emotionally tortured character, and I delighted in the antics of his hilarious sidekick.
Which brings me to my point about sales.
People want to work with and buy from authentic personalities – people who engage their sense of humor, their intellectual and emotional curiosity, and their fascination with truth.
Many sales people, however, attempt to drive sales by “plot” alone. They describe features and functions. They craft elaborate narratives about the future success of their prospects and clients. They showcase the stories and experience of other customers.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do all these things. You should. What I am saying is that you can distinguish yourself from your competitors simply by being more human. Stop fearing your own vulnerability and stop acting like a pre-formatted “sales guy.”
Try a few of the following strategies in the course of your next sale, and I guarantee that you’ll enjoy your work more, build better relationships with your prospects, and improve your bottom line:
• Divulge some unexpected and interesting detail about yourself.
• Share an important life goal.
• Make a point of discovering what your prospect’s biggest frustration is outside of work – and see if you experience anything similar.
• Ask your prospect what the most challenging thing is about his relationship with his supervisor or his work in general – and propose a solution.
• Find out what your prospect wanted to be when he was a kid.
• Let him know what you wanted to be.
• Ask your prospect for advice – and take it.
• Tell an embarrassing story about your kids.
• Take him to lunch and order something that you’ve never eaten before – and are pretty sure you won’t like.
• Compare Smartphones.
• Take off your game face – be real.