As a sales trainer and keynote speaker, I am, of course, a member of the National Speakers Association. Which means that last week I was in Washington, D.C. for the 2015 NSA Annual Convention.
More than 1700 of the world’s top professional speakers and trainers gathered for four days to learn from each other. The result was an overwhelming outpouring of business ideas and insights.
Here, in no particular order, are fifteen of the best:
1. “In a world full of data, stories enable us to digest the information.”—Terry Paulson (@terrypaulson)
Data, while useful, isn’t as powerful a persuasive tool as stories are. Rather than bore your prospect with reams of data, tell them a story of how you helped another customer solve the same problem they have.
2. “The more you focus on them, the higher their opinion of you.”—Kelly McDonald (@kellycmcdonald)
Too many salespeople focus on their product or service, under the mistaken belief that doing so will make the prospect want it. But prospects don’t care about you, your product, or your company. They care about themselves. Focus on your prospect instead of your product and you’ll make more sales.
3. “Each time you contact a potential client, your contact needs to be tied to a purpose.”—Ed Robinson
“Checking in” is not a good reason to contact a prospect. Every contact must serve a purpose, not just for you, but for your prospect as well. How can you serve your prospect with each contact?
4. “Just because it’s effortless (for you), doesn’t mean it’s worthless.”—Seanlai Cochrane (@seanlaic)
Most of us undervalue our talents because they come so easily to us. To earn what you’re worth, it’s critical to remember that others can’t do what we do, and as a result they will pay handsomely for it.
5. “It doesn’t matter how good the baker is, if the cashier spits on your cake.”—Laurie Guest (@laurieguest)
Your product can be the best in the world, but if your customer service isn’t good, people won’t buy it. Hire well, train continuously, and fire when necessary. Customer experience is paramount.
6. “Be different from your competition in a way your customers value.”—Gerry O’Brion (@gerryobrion)
Being distinctive is vital in a crowded marketplace. (If you’re the same as everybody else, why should I buy from you?) Yet just being different isn’t enough. The prospect has to see some benefit to them in your differentiation.
7. “Your perfect audience is looking for you.”—Dawnna St. Louis (@dawnnastlouis)
Whatever you sell, some people will love it, some will hate it, and the vast majority simply won’t care. Rather than wasting time, effort, and money trying to market to everyone, figure out who your product or service is perfect for, and focus your marketing on them.
8. “We all need to belong.”—Mark Scharenbroich (@NiceBikeMark)
Human beings are social animals. And we need to feel part of a community. It’s a fact that companies like Harley-Davidson and Disney understand well and capitalize on. How can you foster community among your customers?
9. “Happier employees = happier customers = successful companies.”—Jenn Lim (@DHMovementCEO)
Want to ensure exceptional customer service? Take exceptional care of your employees. Companies such as Southwest Airlines and Zappos have learned that making employees a priority causes them to make customers a priority.
10. “Consistency is the mother of trust.”—Owen Hemsath (@owenhemsath)
Trust is essential to the sales process. And consistency is crucial to building trust. When prospects and customers are disappointed, frustrated, or unpleasantly surprised, they trust you less and become less likely to buy from you.
11. “Prospects are lazy, busy, and befuddled.”—David Newman (@dnewman)
In today’s busy society, people don’t have the time, energy or mental bandwidth to devote to the buying process. So make everything about your buying process as easy as possible for them. The less they have to do, the more likely they are to buy.
12. “It’s not about whether or not you make judgments (you do), it’s about what you do with those judgments.”—Jessica Pettitt (@jesspettitt)
It’s well documented that we all make snap judgments about people based on their appearance and personality. And those judgments can cost us sales. The prospect who walks in wearing an old t-shirt and ratty jeans could very well be a millionaire. Notice the judgments you make and consciously push them aside.
13. “Don’t let your pride poison your prosperity.”—Willie Jolley (@WillieJolley)
It’s one thing to take pride in your work and your accomplishments. (In fact, it can be healthy.) It’s quite another, however, to allow pride to mutate into hubris or ego, either of which can be detrimental to your career or business.
14.“The only thing standing in the way of growing your business is you.”—Mel Robbins (@melrobbins)
Most of us are our own worst enemies. While it’s easy to blame the economy, competitors, employees, and others when we don’t get the results we want, more often than not, we’re the ones who are truly at fault. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own success.
15. “What will people pay for? Money, sex, happiness.”—Robert Bradford (@robertbradford)
Everything we buy is a means to an end. What is the end your prospects are seeking to achieve? Is it one of these three things? Or perhaps status, health, or security? Link what you sell to a result people want and you’ll boost your sales.
For more ideas and insights from these fantastic speakers, click on their names to visit their web sites or click on their handles to follow them on Twitter. (To follow me, click here.)