The most frequent comment I get when talking about the need to memorize or practice sales calls is, “I’m not an actor”. In fact I received a Tweet reply this morning stating, “Sales people who talk like robots irritate customers”. Both statements are true, however these comments miss the mark.
The most irritating sales call experience is ill preparedness. When the sales person shows up without doing their homework, and stuttering through the first several minutes of their meeting they are seen as wasting everyone’s time. They are also competing with those currently providing the services; those who already know the needs of the customer. Only in the wake of a previous provider’s failure will this strategy work. Even “open ended” questions such as, “What keeps you up at night” are irritating to executives who have heard these “lines” meeting after meeting. Executives need input from people who bring experience, understanding, and can communicate effectively.
I would argue that great speakers never sound like robots or they would not be able to command such exorbitant fees. Actors who we recognize as “Stars” take on the personality of their character so effectively that we forget who they really are for the duration of the picture. And sales people who speak with confidence and illustrations that are inculcated into their process will deliver truth in a way that seems natural and spontaneous. On the other hand, sales people who have simply memorized sound bites from their data sheets are bound to lose along with those who have failed to prepare.
© 2011, David Stelzl