I’ve attended and chaired many workshops and seminars over the years with senior sales people, sales leaders and CEOs. It never fails to amaze me that when top professionals are asked to stand up and explain what they do, they generally struggle.
It’s never easy to do this in front of your peers, but to be successful you must be able to do this easily, impressively and consistently. I’m convinced the majority of business people rarely practise delivering their propositions – which is incredible, really, as a powerful proposition is at the heart of effective selling. But, as so often happens, complacency kicks in and people forget to practise the basics.
Matthew Syed, a former table tennis player, is a sports writer for The Times. He has spoken to The Sales Club members on this subject and has written a superb book about it. Bounce – The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice is a great reality check for all businesses. I’d encourage you to read it, as his philosophy of continual practice and improvement could become a key factor in the successful scale-up of your business.
Practise your proposition
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to be able to get this right when the pressure is on and you’re standing in a big pitch with some huge potential clients. Your proposition must just roll off the tongue in a way that makes the audience sit up and think, ‘That sounds really excellent; I’m seriously impressed by this company!’
The way to ensure this happens for you and your team is to practise your proposition time and time again:
» involve yourself, your fellow directors, and your sales team;
» incorporate this type of exercise into your regular team meetings (your people won’t like it to start with, as it will take them out of their comfort zones); and,
» to take it to an advanced level, interrupt people mid flow, throw in tricky objections, and generally be difficult!
Once you can all do it well in front of your peers (always the hardest people to sell to), everyone will enjoy these exercises and and it easier to perform in high-pressure sales situations.
This process enables you to perfect and test out the strength of your proposition, and also to build resilience, so that your people learn how to deal with the tough questions and challenges that will inevitably come out in the field.