However eloquent you are in the Queen’s English, you must still show the buyer what your product or service can do for him
The Sales Pitch column turns four today. This is the 193rd post. A four year old is unpretentious and eager to learn. Equally, the bare knuckles nature of sales leaves little to no room for pretence. I would have used a more accurate word, but it is informal and discourteous, and so to retain the dignity of this blog, let’s stick to pretence. Sales people hate pretenders and sales people who pretend quickly realise that they can’t do so for long before being exposed. And this happens because as every seller knows, “numbers don’t lie”; instead, numbers tell a vivid story-the story of your performance. Most other jobs can allow you to pretend your way up the corporate ladder but not selling.
Pretending to know everything, to prospect, to make client visits and to file impressive reports will only get you a pretend sale. But there are other forms of pretence which is what I want to address.
Eloquence in the English language is nice to have. In fact, in some jobs it may even get you a promotion. “He expresses himself very well. People look up to him. He can make a good leader.” And lo and behold, he soon has the title manager. On the other hand, your capacity to communicate in Queen’s English does not necessarily translate into your capacity to close sales. Some buyer’s may be impressed by your waxing lyrical, but they are still buyers-they need to know how the product solves their problem. In some instances, your accent (genuine or fake) may even intimidate them into limiting their communication to nodding and monosyllabic responses; anything, not to reveal their comparative ignorance in English-whether perceived or real. Irrespective, the sale is impeded and likely lost. If the buyer is of the same ilk as you, the sale quickly deviates to a battle of eloquence. Hoping to hide behind the charade of articulacy in English (or your mother tongue for that matter) is short-lived. Wisdom should be exercised is knowing when to dumb down and when not to-and remembering that content is King.
Overt shows of flamboyance or being ‘with it’ won’t get you the sale either. Have the personalised golden cuff links, the Ray Ban rimless sunglasses and the silver tipped shoes by all means. Conspicuously exhibit the latest i-Pad and the Galaxy S7complete with a Bluetooth hanging from your ear if you will. In fact, it may serve you well especially if you have grown into this space and your buyers expect this from you. If on the other hand it’s merely pompousness then, my friend, the sales job will quickly bring you down from your high horse- your overt show of pretension is quickly seen for what it is: grand standing. The stunningly beautiful customer service representative may have a beeline of men wanting to be served by her; so too, her charming male counterpart who’s dressed to the nines, ladies. When it comes to selling, however, pretending ‘to be with it’ just serves to draw attention to your self-declared importance, yet successful selling keeps attention on the buyer and solving her problem.
I’m not blind to the fact that there are instances where eloquence and flamboyance may actually be necessary to get you the sale. But that’s not the point here. The point is that, pretending or hoping to lie your way to sales success is short lived. Your team members smell it and detest you for it; worse still, your buyers sense it and emotionally detach from you and therefore the sale. Either way, you alienate yourself; you lose. Try being genuine-it may not be cool in this Keeping Up With The Joneses world, and may even feel boring; but you’ll be surprised how it will consistently connect you with your buyers and greatly increase your chances of a sale.
(Dear reader, thank you for your continued loyalty. Happy anniversary Sales Pitch!)
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