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If It Isn't Fun, It Isn't Selling

Last week, I was in Arizona speaking at a conference. During my program I used the phrase, "If it isn't fun, it isn't selling," and the reaction I received was interesting. 

Most of the audience seemed surprised or somewhat taken aback as I discussed the topic. Others were curious as to how to have fun during the sales cycle.

(I have to confess: I somewhat borrowed that phrase from Sam Hagerman, camp director at my old Boy Scout camp, Camp Decorah. His mantra was, "If it isn't fun, it isn't scouting." I did tell Sam I changed his statement to fit my audiences.)

My message last week was more about emotion and selling, managing and building an environment of high performance. There were two aspects around this topic that are important to understand in creating great culture. First, in every organization that I have been with or have consulted in that had great cultures, the sales teams not only worked hard and were professional in their approach -- they also had a culture of fun. Sales managers that created a culture of high performance always made sure they brought an approach to managing that included accountability and high expectations, but also one where the team had fun together. A few ideas to focus on:

  1. Build belief. Make sure your sales teams believe in your company, products/services and each other. This is the emotional work for sales leadership.
  2. Make sure your sales contests are sales games! They need to be fun and creative with exciting themes. An annual sales trip for spouses/sales teams is a must. These kinds of sales incentives build camaraderie, memories and teamwork.
  3. Create opportunities to socialize with your team. Organize pizza nights and breakfast meetings. These kinds of events allow everyone to talk, laugh and build respect between teammates.

The second aspect of creating fun and selling is with prospects and clients during the sales process. In my program, I stressed that you need to be a jokester during the sales process or be less of a professional. However, you do need a more relaxed approach that can separate you from your competition.

Many years ago, someone told me there are three rules in selling: emotion, emotion and emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it to your prospects, and they must take action based upon emotion. Jeb Blount, a friend of mine and the founder of Sales Gravy, likes to suggest to his training clients, "Ask yourself about your prospects: Do they like you? Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them? What kind of sales environment are you creating?"

As a salesperson, your interaction with your clients or prospects will always create an emotion -- positive or negative. Focusing on a positive, fun and interactive approach will lead to a connection with that person. That connection is critical to building the trust and confidence you need to win the opportunity. Here are several ideas to improve the power of connecting:

  1. Identify the personality style of the person you are speaking with. Work with them based on their communication style, but bring your personality.
  2. During any meeting, bring a lighter touch to your conversations. While you should have an agenda for your meetings -- being prepared with a pre-call strategy tool is great -- make sure you add a sparkle in your eye and smile on your face to your approach. It's OK to be yourself!
  3. Make the experience memorable. This is the power of creativity. Ask yourself, "What can I do to break through the traditional sales process and make the relationship unique?" If you use social activities in your sales process, can you align an activity that fits your prospect (e.g., a wine tasting or sports events)? Or if you are selling in a formal sales process, can you bring something else to the table during a sales call (e.g., a best-selling book autographed by the author, or an invitation to your Rotary Club meeting)?

Having fun and taking a lighter personal approach can separate you from your competition -- and that pays off with greater commissions. You will also enjoy the sales process and that emotion and approach will be felt by your prospects. 

What are your ideas around having fun and selling more?

Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 16, 2015 at 1:23 PM