It may seem odd I’m writing about selling as a Professional Speaker, Author, and Leadership Trainer. At first, I thought so too! However, over the past year or so; companies, executives, and individuals have continuously asked me about my process of creating and selling and I’ve spent many hours on Virtual Calls and presenting at conferences on the topic… of course after talking about Leadership & Work/Life Harmony! I never thought of myself as a salesperson or sales guy; however, the life of a professional speaker and trainer is all sales and negotiation! If you were a fly on the wall following me around all day, you’d see me on numerous Zoom Meetings with wonderful leaders of organizations discussing their concerns, pain points, and negotiating deals that will be of best and continuous impact! The truth is… in my business you’ll do more negotiating than you ever do speaking. As an athlete, you’ll practice more than you’ll ever play games. The trick is to fall in love with the process and understand there’s a lot to leadership, and eventually it will come down to results. So, how do you Sell like a Leader?
A Leader’s Product
Product is two-fold, a product you already have or product/content you’re creating! You may work for a company that has products for you to sell. My last job as an employee, I took a sales position at Bob’s Discount Furniture. Initially, it was a shot to my ego; as I had my own company, twelve staff, a book next door at Barnes & Noble, and there I stood selling furniture. When you start a business, you don’t make money right away… so, I needed a job! It turned out to be the greatest gift for me professionally as I was able to apply and prove that all of my Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings worked not only top-down but also bottom-up. My point is, at Bob’s, I had existing products to sell. It was my job and it’s your job as a leader to learn your product and know your product… and be able to “Romance Your Product” for the buyer. Some buyers only need to see it to love it and buy it. Others will have questions… some a thousand of questions… can you answer them?
The other type of product is the content you create. This is my realm, as a professional speaker and author, everything I present I’ve created. You may create videos, books, masterclasses, or a tangible product. Whatever you create, do it regularly, consistently, and put “Creation-Time” into your schedule! I can’t tell you how many people ask me how to become a writer, how to get started in their business, or in my field. My answer is to create content on a schedule, know your content, and schedule your content… therefore you have a library and can create out of the honor you have for your craft and not out of stress! For example, I write once per week on Sunday mornings and record a Leadership Video once per week from the writing… it’s in my calendar… giving me not only a library of content but also a list of content to meet the variety of needs organizations face. Not every buyer will want the same thing from you!
You may be asking yourself, “Do I need that much content?”. No, you don’t! I’ve heard some speakers do the same speech over and over for years…. Because they’ve perfected it, they can charge more over the years, do it for different organizations, and say it in their sleep. They’re companies that have perfected ONE THING… and they do it so well their name is synonymous with that thing and you know where to go when you want or need it! Whatever route you choose… learn your content and know your content… in order to sell your content!
A Leader’s Network
When I was working in sales at Bob’s, I was also networking pretty heavy in my area attending the traditional face-to-face shaking hands, giving your 30-sec commercial networking events. I suddenly realized; I had a decision to make… was I going to be Mr. You Evolving Now doing Leadership & Work/Life Harmony for organizations or was I going to be the Bob’s Guy… both would be advantageous, however, I remembered an old saying… “The man that chases two rabbits catches none”. Besides, have you ever had someone come up to you and hand you four different business cards or tell you they’re involved in everything from A-Z… it’s hard to believe they’re any good at one, let alone all of them. I chose, Leadership & Work/Life Harmony and you will need to choose who you are, what you’re selling, and why!
There are several ways to network and one may be great for you and one may be great for another… the question in networking is, are simply entertaining people or do you actually have front-end and back-end process?
Whether you’re using ads on social media, handing out flyers (I remember doing that!), writing blogs, posting videos etc… The point is NOT TO SELL… it is to GIVE!!! When I first started creating content, I was so protective of it and wanted to charge people right out of the gate because I knew how precious the information was; why didn’t they buy? I quickly learned to GIVE not to sell! Think of the lady that stands in the Food Court and says “You try this chicken!” You weren’t even thinking about chicken, now you’re interested, you eat it, and suddenly you have your whole family in line ordering platters of Honey Chicken! As a leader, BE THE CHICKEN!!! When you have a couch or more tangible product that’s harder to free gift… give away the knowledge you have; so whether they buy from you or not… the client/customer will always remember YOU! The trick of sales is that YOU are always selling YOU not the product!
When networking on social media… first be sure you have your organization’s permission of what you can say, cannot say, etc. Don’t let me get you in trouble! Once you have clarification or if the product is your own… it’s not about selling… it’s about teaching and mentoring! If I chose to be the “Bob’s Guy”, I would have created videos or blog content of tips for decorating, how to shop more effectively, great questions to ask salesperson when shopping, what to look for, and best measuring practices to ensure a great furniture fit; giving great knowledge so when they think of furniture… they think of me… not Bob’s… ME. Therefore, no matter where you sell furniture… they are always seeking you!
Next, please understand that simply positing via social leads to entertainment not sales. The formula is to post, but have a back-end process to connect! Connect with possible prospects, reach out to say hello and provide a short learning video to teach a tip, wait a bit and send a request to connect… with another short learning video or video to say hello. You’ve offered to connect without selling, said hello without selling and added value, requested a meeting without selling and added value… by the time your prospect says “Yes” to meeting… all you have to do is be the same person you were on the video or blog! It also helps to offer two dates… Thursday at 1:00pm EST or Monday at 9:30am EST. This will save you the numerous emails of chasing and organizing a time; enhancing your Leadership and Work/Life Harmony (A Leader’s 2 Dates)!
This holds true in the old-school way of attending physical networking events. Decide who you are and what you’re promoting. Be able to say what you do in 5 seconds… the 30 Second Commercial always made me cringe; as if anyone would want to hear you ramble on for 30 seconds straight to introduce yourself! I say, “I’m a professional speaker and author”. Then people tend to respond, “Oh, what do you speak about?”. NOW we can talk! When you meet a prospect of interest, it’s not like social media where you have the time frame I mentioned above. It’s time to ask the simplest of questions most don’t… “It’s been great talking with you and it’d be great to get together to talk more. Would you like to schedule a time? I find it best to do it while we’re here (while pulling your phone out) so I’m not chasing you and you’re not chasing me!” Feel free to make this your own; as most people exclaim, “Yeah, that’s a good idea!”. For me, three of those types of contacts checked the box for a WIN and I was free to mingle and relax. Know your definition of a “WIN” prior to attending and winning is what you’ll do!
A Leader’s Jewel
When I first began in sales, I did the complete opposite of what I did when I was a Mental Health Therapist. I was either so eager, desperate, or nervous to sell I spewed my menu all over people. When I started my business, I was so proud of what I created and so sure no one would pay for my high-ticket item I spewed my less expensive menu all over prospects. Then, one day it hit me… know your products, how they best serve and impact, and simply ask the question that has become the Crown Jewel of Questions… “What would you like to get out of bringing someone like me in?… allowing me to match what I have, customize, create, or refer”! I’ve found this statement allows your prospect to relax, breathe, and respect that you may have a cure for their pain, you’re willing to brainstorm to create it, or you’re not simply here for a quick sale and open to referring… it also gives them some skin in the game; having to identify their pain points aloud! 99% of the time, they will lay out the issue and you will know what you have that works, can customize, create, or refer. Now, it comes down to timing and budget!
A Leader’s Now or Later
When you’ve determined a plan of how your service will impact their needs, it only makes sense to move the process forward. It may be a proposal sent, an agreement that needs to be constructed, or an outright sale to be processed. The questions are:
– So, how do we best move forward? Would you like to sign/purchase/etc. today or did you have another time in mind?
– When were you looking to have this, today, this month, later in the year, next year?
– Ok, the next step is I will put together a proposal and you’ll have it no later than tomorrow morning. I find it best we schedule a Follow-Up Meeting now. When we talk again, it’d be great to hear what you liked about it and anything you’d fine-tune! This is my favorite, especially when the prospect needs more time or the flow of your deals tends to take two to three meetings to conclude. It also allows you to get back to your definition of busy and them to go back to theirs with less stress and without you chasing them for a sale… and without them feeling like they’re being hunted… all because a Follow-Up Meeting was set up!
Imagine how difficult sales would be if you always needed all new people to buy your product… make it easier for yourself, your business, and your organization by working smarter and harder as you Follow-Up with those that already know and enjoy you! What a simple concept that often gets ignored due to “Busy” and rushed when it’s month’s end or time to fulfill a quota! As a leader, be sure to follow-up with past clients/customers, past prospects, current prospects, and recent sales. Whether it’s an email, postcard, or social media DM… something! Past sales are more likely to buy from you again; especially when you utilized this strategy. Past Prospects may have not been ready then or are in an entirely different situation now…. Follow-Up to say hello, connect, and inform. Current Prospects are as “busy” as you are and tend not to mind reminders from time to time. Lastly, follow-up to thank and say hello to your recent sales wishing them a Happy Monday or a great Holiday… you like it when someone does it for you!
“The trick of sales is that YOU are always selling YOU not the product… Be Mindful!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Click www.youevolvingnow.com to find out more about Andre Young’s Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings, Speaking Engagements, Books, and more; evolving your organization, your leaders, employees, and teams!