I Want In – by Chris Goodrow

I recently participated in one part of a series of sessions designed for real estate investors, led by a fellow named Richard, to establish an approach of engaging others in their business; but the message of these sessions is relevant not only to people who are interested in real estate. As a participant, I was encouraged to develop “my story”: a well-crafted value proposition, one similar, in theory, to what a salesperson designs prior to establishing a connection with a prospect. In this case, a successful “your story” value proposition would engage others to say “I WANT IN!”

Have you ever talked to a friend or family member who is describing a vacation they are about to take and all you can think about is, “I want to go there and do that too”? We all have. Why? Whether we acknowledge it or not, something is triggered internally that envisions that location or activity, compares it to our situation and analyzes which scenario is better. That’s “I want in!”

How Richard engaged all of us at the workshop was to walk our audience through our story that lead to our decisions in real estate investing. We crafted our story: a journey through our past, present and future in a way that mirrored a play, paying special attention to the dramatic structure–back story, inciting incident, rising action, crisis, climax and resolution. One key message was to provide the audience with an ending that was unexpected or didn’t follow the outlined path. I’ve sat through enough movies where I knew exactly where the plot was going and how it would end, and I may have enjoyed the movie nonetheless. But the movies that have resonated with me the most are the ones that were unpredictable, or the main character took an unexpected step (think Seven Pounds, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, etc.). Ultimately by pulling your audience into the story, they feel your enthusiasm, pain, urgency, desire, and ultimately they want to know more and experience more.

Sounds like sales, doesn’t it?

A salesperson’s primary objective is to obtain customer buy-in, to get them saying, “I want in!” Smart salespeople know not to burden the prospect with their personal life story or that of the company’s, but to engage the customer to reflect on his life story. Smart sellers know that designing a value proposition and specific target questions prior to meeting a prospect is paramount. The seller needs to engage the prospect to reflect on not only his past and present, but also–most importantly–his future. Our job is to craft (read: research, prepare and develop) a future where our service or product will play a role in changing our prospect’s path. Whether it’s reducing downtime by 22%, increasing closing ratios by 41%, increasing market share by 12%, or something else, it’s a change from the way things currently are. If we can create a scenario where the prospect feels change will have a positive affect on his business, “I want in!” becomes the only logical response.

 

Chris Goodrow, author of the blog Sales, Life and Leadership, is a former math teacher turned sales professional. Chris is passionate about developing sales leaders by helping them plan and execute a strategic approach. He believes that sales, like any other skill set, can be taught if a person has the right attitude and drive to succeed. Chris currently manages an Inside Sales team in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To read more stories with Chris’s unique perspective, you can follow his writings at chrisgoodrow.wordpress.com