Big sales tip: How interesting are you?

As salespeople we are always taught to conduct great conversations with customers.  But how do you do that?  What is it that makes a great conversation?  Would you believe me if I told you it’s easy? All you have to do is remember one rule:  It’s not about you.

“If you your lips would keep from slips

Five things observe with care:

Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,

And how and when and where.

If you your ears would save from jeers,

These things keep meekly hid:

Myself and I, and mine and my,

And how I do and did.”

The second stanza of this little poem contains all the wisdom. Just make sure your conversations have nothing at all to do with you, but everything to do with your customer.

Why do you think this is hard to do?

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedIt’s because your manager hammers you about your product goals, the marketing department has sent you a Power Point presentation about how wonderful your company is, your spouse is looking forward to your sales bonus and the product managers have drilled you about the latest features and innovations you should emphasize in your sales pitches.

So what’s on your mind when you make a call?  You start by showing a few slides about the company, you know, the ones marketing sent.  Pause now and inject a little something about yourself. After all, you’ve been in the industry for 18 years and have a great deal of expertise in this, that and the other thing.

Now you can smoothly segue into an overview of the 2-3 products you think would be ideal for this customer.  Say things like “cutting edge,” “best-in-class,” and “state of the art.”  That’ll impress them.  See what I mean?  Your orientation is to talk about you, and it doesn’t work.

Let me tell you about Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs.  Goldman has 30,000 employees and every year they take on a huge number of summer interns.  In one address to the interns, whose goal it is to become billionaires one day, Blankfein simply told them one key to success: “Be interesting.”

That’s a darned good piece of advice.  Are you interesting? Do people find conversations with you to be riveting, absorbing? Here’s how to be interesting.

Show people that the most important thing in the world to you is whatever they are doing, and mean it.  If your customer takes you on a tour of his factory where they make bottle caps, determine that you need to understand everything there is to know about bottle caps, not because it makes your customer feel proud, but because bottle caps is an interesting thing to know.

The most interesting people in the world* are considered interesting mostly because they demonstrate a sincere interest in others. So remember the key words of the poem. If you want to be interesting, these things keep meekly hid: myself and I, and mine and my, and how I do and did.  In other words,

Think Like Your Customer

*Just for the record, I live in Coppell, TX, a city of about 40,000 just outside of Dallas, and I am known as “the most interesting man in Coppell.”  Go ahead, Google it.

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

5 Responses to Big sales tip: How interesting are you?

  1. I’m so proud to know the most interesting an in Coppell.
    This was a biggy for me. I get caught up in stories about my wedding and previous experience when meeting potential clients because it sounds relatable and I want them to know about how much I’ve done, but really I just need to let them go on and on about themselves.

    Hope you and the fam are well. Happy new year.

    Regards,
    Krista Olynyk (Davison)

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • You are a very perceptive young lady Krista. When they’re talking, they’re buying, so let them talk. All you need to do is add summaries and prods, such as “That sounds so exciting,” “what does your mom think?” “is your brother excited?” and so on. Thanks for writing. Gregory

  2. Graham Duryee says:

    Thanks Gregory! It is hard making sure that we stay in the mode of using you (customer/client) or your in all of our statements and questions in a sales setting. We are naturals at using ourselves as examples and in stories to detail a point. Happy New Year! Graham

  3. Chandler Johnston says:

    I like Krista often often fall into the trap that by sharing my stories I am relating to my customer. I am so glad to read this to be reminded, once again, that people often value the opportunity to talk about themselves, their business, their families, etc. I am setting a goal now to open up my ears and practice those open ended, high value, affective domain questions.

  4. Dr. Christine H. Baldwin, Psy.D., LP says:

    Gregory, this is excellent advice and it applies to so many areas in life. As a psychologist, I teach people with social phobias that they don’t have to talk about themselves at group gatherings or even one to one. We practice having them ask ME about ME. This, so they learn the habit of ease in asking about another.

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