Pitching yourself through life

13/03/2014

Success involves people and organisations having to sell what they have to offer – this could be our skill, a product or service. This term frightens the life out of many as it conjures images of unethical smooth talking individuals manipulating others so as to get their own way. This is not the case, a great pitch is grounded in ethical behaviour fused to a mindset of offering real value through a passionate belief in what you have to offer. Personal and professional progression means that you will frequently be in a situation where you have to pitch for what you want. Applying for a career promotion, a place on the school board or attracting new customers fundamentally means we are in competition and there is a need to sell.

If you don’t adopt this mindset then you will struggle to get what you want out of life. When you find yourself in a situation where selling is vital, start by asking:

  • Do I understand their world?
  • What problem am I going to solve for the person I am pitching to?
  • What do I know about my audience?
  • What value do I bring?
  • What examples can I use to evidence credibility?
  • How can I bring to life the impact I make?
  • What is special about what I have to offer?

Personal progression means you must embrace the philosophy of life is a pitch. In doing this you condition yourself to delivering an effective and engaging performance to those that matter. Convincing others of the benefit of your talent, idea, product or service is an integral component to achieving your goals. Other people have an influence on whether we succeed or not. Your pitching mindset should help you to position your key messages in the following way:

  • Real and tangible
  • Deliver it with passion and meaning
  • Ruthlessly simplistic message
  • Clearly shows the difference you will make
  • Win – win outcome

Practicing your pitching skills to enhance your chances of success. It will put you in a stronger position to beat off competition.


5 Rules of Selling for Growth Companies

08/01/2013

Any business owner will tell you that the ability to sell lies at the heart of success, however the term frightens the life out of many, as it conjures images of unethical smooth talking individuals manipulating others so as to get their own way. This is not the case; great selling is grounded in ethical behaviour coupled with a mindset of offering real value through a passionate belief in the proposition offered. Over the years the shelves have become crowded with books teaching the art of sales and more specifically, how to close a deal or overcome objections. However, selling is not about imposing a product or service on someone at any cost; this fairly old-fashioned view provides a strong basis for failure and mistrust, which can damage your company reputation. Here are my rules to ensure sales success:

Rule 1 – Your business must be in good shape

Selling is inextricably linked to all of the other functions and processes that help to build a great business. You could be the best sales person in the world, but if you can’t produce or deliver on time, then orders will quickly dry up. Ensure all of your team understand how your internal processes are linked, and how they impact on order fulfillment. That way they will realize how they fit into the overall sales process, even if their role doesn’t sit within that function

Rule 2 – Know what makes you different

Everyone wants to stand out, whatever market you’re in. However, it is important that everyone within your team understands what your unique selling points (USP) are, as opinions can vary. When talking to customers, or simply having conversations with suppliers, partners, or other members of the team, your USP should remain at the back of everyone’s mind to ensure you’re always positioned as you want to be. With this in mind it’s also crucial that your whole team keep an eye on competitors and the market place so your USP remains competitive. For example, if another company launches a product just like yours, your sales team will need to understand why yours is better, and explain this clearly to your customers.

Rule 3 – Behave like a customer

Ensure your sales team truly understands the value of aligning products and services to customer needs. If there is an opportunity for them to spend time in a customer’s world, then they should take it. The art of empathizing with a customer allows you to explore options and suggest the most appropriate solution, not just the one you want to provide. By really getting under the skin of your target audience, your sales team will be able to highlight what your products or services can do for the customer and tailor their approach, rather than listing a series of features which may not be relevant or interesting to the person buying. Remember the importance of service/product impact and be able to  evidence it – be specific!

Rule 4 – Never stop innovating

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious link between sales and innovation, but in fact every sales person should be innovative in their approach. As your business grows and evolves, your sales team will need to think of new ways of doing things. Those businesses, which are growing the fastest, aren’t just those who invest in product innovation- they focus on keeping everything fresh, including the way they sell. If your sales team make customers feel excited by what you have to offer then you are already half way there

Rule 5 – Be energetic and passionate

Sales people generally have to be focused and mentally resilient to deal with a sale falling through, or targets potentially not being met. They don’t just turn up for meetings, they prepare mentally and professionally and are never complacent. If you are just beginning to build a sales team, you should look for passion and energy as much as you should product knowledge, as this positive approach will prove invaluable to nurturing client relationships and getting the best results. Likewise, you must show how passionate you are about helping them succeed, as motivation and drive are key.