It began, more or less, with the messenger pigeon. Cyrus the Great, king of Persia and ruler of the largest empire the world had ever seen, used pigeon-delivered messages to stay abreast of what was happening in all corners of his kingdom. Back in the Age of Iron, that was pretty cool. 5000 years later, in the Information Age, we find ourselves sending text messages saying “check your email,” and emails reminding us to pick up the phone.
In the realm of sales, communication is key. Are you clear about the details? Do you understand the prospect’s situation? Are you conveying the right message to establish trust, differentiate your agency, and show the value you can deliver?
Today’s sage advice: start with a broad view, consider your goals, and understand the dynamics of synchronous and asynchronous communication channels. Continue reading →
The classic sales acronym AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, puts attention right where it belongs — at the very beginning. If you want to tell your story and influence people, you’ve got to first get their attention. But what about the focus of your own attention?
In her recent book, Rapt, Winifred Gallagher distinguishes between two kinds of attention. The first she calls stimulus-driven. It’s the attention that advertisers and the media aim to capture when they bombard our senses with color, sound, movement and emotion. The other kind is voluntary. That’s when we make the conscious choice to pay attention to one thing rather than another, deliberately focusing on what’s relevant at the moment rather than succumbing to what dazzles our senses. With deliberate attention, we determine what to ignore and what to focus on. Continue reading →
When Don Corleone agrees to grant a favor to the neighborhood funeral director in the first Godfather movie, the Don is creating a future obligation on the part of the undertaker (and certainly one he won’t be able to refuse). It’s not only the power of the Don that exerts the influence, though – it’s the power of reciprocity.
Wanting to reciprocate for something we’re given is a deeply rooted cultural norm; when we get something, we feel it’s only proper to give something back. This overarching worldview, says psychologist Robert Cialdini, is common to every culture, in every part of the globe. The rule, he says, is drilled into us as children, “…essentially thou shall not take without giving in return.” Continue reading →
What motivates people to sell? What drives people to sell more and reach for higher goals? The traditional business view is that incentives like bonuses, prizes, and awards are the best way to drive production. In the last couple of decades, though, social scientists have been looking at things from a different perspective.
When tasks are simple and goals are clearly defined – make 20 cold calls; schedule 4 sales appointments – incentives like money and pats on the back work well to foster productive behavior. The “this – that” incentive model promises if you do “this” you’ll get “that” reward. It’s the old carrot and stick idea: people want positive rewards and don’t want to get stuck on the bottom of the sales chart.
In situations when the goals are more complicated though, these kinds of extrinsic incentives don’t work as well. In fact, according to business analyst and writer Daniel Pink, extrinsic financial incentives can actually dull inspiration and lower results. Continue reading →