When did you last practice your print sales introduction?

  • Can you imagine winning an Olympic medal without practising?
  • Would you take a driving test without preparing?
  • Was about delivering an important speech or presentation without rehearsing?

It doesn’t matter what you wish to succeeding: if you want to do something well it’s essential to work at it.

It is vital for sales people to practice

If you want to get results you need to practice - exspecially if you are in print sales

If you want to get results you need to practice – exspecially if you are in print sales

The trouble is, it is very easy to carry on doing the same old thing without checking how well you’re doing it. This is completely understandable. After all, sales people need very busy lives. You need to be prospecting, reaching out to new prospects, servicing your current customers and dealing with the inevitable production issues.

However, sometimes it is also important to take a step back. It is worth reviewing what we do and asking if we could do it better.

Here’s why practice is so important

Sales people who practice their message are far more likely to connect with prospects and customers. They are much more likely to build a powerful relationship. If they make the right first impression, they are in a much better position to control the sales process. That means they are far more likely to win the customer and to achieve their sales targets.

Sales people who do not review what they are saying may find it harder to achieve their targets. You only have a very short time to engage with a prospect. It is important to make sure that your first introduction is as compelling as possible. Otherwise you will struggle to create the right relationship and take control of the sales process.

Try carrying out this simple exercise

This exercise is something that I do at many of my sales masterclasses. It seems really simple. It should be easy for an experienced sales person to succeed at. Nevertheless, many people as I speak to are nervous about actually carrying it out!

Here’s what I would like you to do. Ask a colleague for 10 minutes of their time. Ask them to assume the role of your ideal prospect. Then deliver your elevator pitch to them. Naturally, this should only take a couple of minutes. Now we come to the interesting part.

Ask your colleague to repeat your introduction back to you. You may be surprised at what they actually come out with! The first time that I try this exercise, my colleague gave me a totally different message to the one that I had tried to get across.

You learn some very powerful information from carrying out this exercise

Firstly, you actually get to hear your sales message. Unless you are recording your sales conversations, you will rarely get the chance to hear what you’re saying. If you are like me, you’re too busy thinking of how to develop the conversation to actually listen to the words you are saying.

Next, you will also hear whether your prospects are understanding what you’re saying. Remember, people sometimes give a totally different meaning to something that you said. They can interpret it in a very different way to the one you meant.

Once you hear your colleague repeating your sales message you will know how effective it is. Do the words sound as powerful as you would like? Did your colleague get what you were trying to say? By the way, this exercise is even more powerful if your colleague is someone from outside your company.

Some people may feel that this exercise is not a true reflection of their sales message.

What happens if you prefer to have a conversation, rather than delivering message?

Some sales people claim that this exercise has limited value because they do not use an elevator pitch. Instead, they prefer to start a conversation with their prospects. I see a couple of issues with this line of thought.

Firstly, many prospects do not have time to have an old-fashioned sales conversation. They want sales people to get to the point quickly. They want to hear an elevator pitch to decide whether it is worth continuing the conversation.

Secondly, even if you manage to have a conversation, you still need a structure to the dialogue. You may not deliver your elevator pitch in a concentrated form. But you will still have to get a structured message over within a relatively short period of time.

Take 10 minutes to carry out this test

Everyone who has carried out the test with me has found a very valuable learning experience. Many people find out that their sales message is not as powerful as they think it is.

Think of this exercise as an insurance policy. If you pass it with flying colours, you know that you are doing all the right things. However, think about how much business you might be missing out on if the results are not as good as you were expecting.

I practice all the time

Practice helps me in so many areas. It helps me to become a better mountain trekker. It helps me to become a better photographer. It makes sure that the presentations I deliver are as powerful as they should be. Finally, it helps me get my sales message across more effectively.
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