Nancy Hardaway photo
This month we focus on influencing others, with ideas for how selling has changed, tips on how to influence other styles, engaging your audience, and building an effective sales pitch.  To read this on the web click here.
Really  
Do you "see" the person you try to influence?
The more you're focused on the content you're delivering, the less you pay attention to who's receiving that content. You'll be amazed at what people miss in this video.  What do you miss when you try to sell? 
Hate selling?  Learn how anyway!
Use a 5 Phase Process
Statistics show that people dislike being "sold" to, but more and more of our work is involved with "selling."  No, you say?  You call it selling when you have a product or service to offer, but what about convincing your organization to go along with a new policy change, or encouraging a staff member to increase their production. Dan Pink in his new book To Sell is Human says we spend 40% of our time on the job trying to "move" others.  What's changed and what do you do to get better at it? 
A Visual Metaphor  The Pile of Gloves
A purchasing agent was trying to convince the leadership to consolidate buying, instead of many individual sites doing their own thing.  No one would listen.  Finally he invited a group of leaders to the board room.  On the conference table were piles and piles of different gloves the company used.  There were 424 in all! Each site purchased their own and at one site the supplier price was $5 and the same glove at another site from another supplier was $17.  Every glove was labeled with the different sites, suppliers and price. The leaders were speechless as they walked around examining the pile, shaking their heads. The display quickly became part of a traveling road show to "sell" the central purchasing idea to all the sites.  This example is reported in The Heart of Change by John Kotter and Dan Cohen. 
Sell to My Style
Think of the style of the person you're trying to "sell" or influence.  Read my Shape Quiz to find out which is which.  Are they data people?  Idea people?  People people?  Results people?  Learn to see how we're different, then figure out what's important to me and meet me where I'm at.  Same with love relationships.
Show me you love me my way, not your way.  In The Noticer author Andy Andrews describes the different languages of love through the metaphor of the fish, the puppy, the canary and the cat.  The fish wants you to straighten the tank & feed it (favors and deeds).  The puppy wants you to say "good dog" (words of approval).  The canary wants to be listened to (quality time). The cat curls around your leg (physical attention).  I'm a cat, my husband is a fish, so to show our love in a way the other feels it, I need to get more chores and favors done for him, and he needs to give me more hugs.
In This Issue
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The Awareness Paradigm
Short chapters tell a story and teach a lesson, including successful selling and influencing.

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Build your Sales Pitch

Learn about the "buyer" in advance

Build rapport

Prepare great questions

Watch facial expressions and body language

Stop often and check-in

Use metaphors to create visual stories

Encourage participation

Create a "collaboration"

Ask for next steps

A Successful Movie Pitch:  Collaboration!
Pitch is an interesting word - you're throwing something at the other, inviting them to catch.  It's not one sided. The best movie pitches occur when the studio exec gets interested enough to play catch, taking the ball and running with it, throwing out ideas, and becoming a collaborator.  If the "Pitcher" is so busy talking and can't yield the floor, they've lost the game.  Selling a product, an idea or a change is ultimately a co-created process.  Both parties need to engage
Selling

 

Hate Selling?  Get better anyway:     Continued 

 A 5 Phase Process

Years ago when information was scarce, selling could be more of a "con-job" - the old swampland in Florida.  The bad rep that some sales people got was because they were seen to be fast talkers.

 

Now information is often so ubiquitous that the buyer has the same access to info as the seller. The seller (of an idea or a product) has to be a great listener, not a fast talker.  The information that's needed is all about the buyer - what are their needs?  How do they see the world? How could this product, service, or change impact them?

 

When I owned a real estate office, I advised my brokers to attend to who was doing the most talking.  If they heard their own voice the most, they weren't going to be successful. That's  true for most of the conversations you're in when you're trying to influence someone.  The education phase below should not take the most time! 

 

But I still hear clients get feedback that when they are most impassioned about an idea they are trying to sell to others in a conversation or a meeting - they talk more.  They use more words.   They take up more space.  If that's true for you you need to STOP!   

USE THESE 5 PHASES:   

AWARENESS:  Increase your awareness of your audience: Tuning in to them is THE most important thing you can do.  Learn what you can in advance.  Imagine yourself in their shoes. In the moment, focus your attention  on what they are saying or thinking rather than on what you want to say.  Ask lots and lots of questions!!! Wait for answers. Increase their awareness by encouraging them to be a participant.  

 

ENGAGEMENT Engage your audience:  Although we don't like to believe it, many of our decisions are motivated by emotion, then we justify them with fact.  Damage to the part of the brain connected to emotion causes difficulty making decisions.  Pay attention to the emotions of the other person or your audience.  Chip and Dan Heath, in their book  Switch, use the relative size of a rider and an elephant when talking about how people react to being sold or asked to change (whether changing a product they use or a way of doing something.)   The elephant is the emotion involved, the rider is the intellect. Attend to my emotions.

 

EDUCATION Provide information and data to match the needs and style of the audience:  Pay more attention to what the buyer needs for information and less attention to what you'd like to share. Don't over or under sell. Take my Shape Quiz to see what shape you are, then know you're likely to sell according to your style.  But you need to sell according to the style of your buyers.  A group of engineers might want technical data on the efficiency of the new system.  A group of social workers might want to know how people will be impacted by the new system.

 

ACTION Ask for action that fits:  If you are selling a product that matches the needs of your client, ask for some action to be taken.  If you are selling a new process to your organization, ask them to try it and help improve it.  If the audience isn't ready for the big steps, ask for little steps.  Another meeting, a beta test.  But ask for what seems right.

 

EVAUATION Evaluate and assess: The "sale" is just the beginning. Keep your antenna up.  Don't assume that things are working well just because you aren't hearing complaints.
Continually circle back to see how things are going.  Fix and tweak as appropriate.   A full and complete process makes for a far more receptive audience or buyer next time.

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