Making it Fun

Linda Cohan steered me to the Corporate Curmudgeon article in the Globe, today. Dale shares some wisdom from Tom Hopkins. After reading the article, I wonder why anyone would buy anything from anyone that wasn’t entertaining. Stories, appropriate jokes, and intentional misinterpretations with a smile in your eyes can add so much to your “presence” that what you’re selling, your price, etc. momentarily become secondary. As time goes on, your presence gets added into the value proposition of your offering.

My wife and I love vacationing and thinking about vacationing. I love watching salespeople work. Elaine loves getting “free stuff”. Occasionally, to combine the three, we’ll take a tour of a timeshare and listen to the pitch. Saturday, Elaine and I took one of these tours. She got 4 free flights to a choice of destinations, a $25 gift card, and $100 worth of gas vouchers. I got to drive 100 miles there, do the tour and listen to the pitch, buy lunch, and drive 100 miles back. I guess it was fair.

Anyway, the lesson. Brian was our guy. We were his first pitch ever. He’d sold in the past and was pretty confident in his ability as a salesperson. So, he told his boss that he didn’t need three weeks of training. Let him watch one and let him go. Then comes us. So, he starts by telling us not to be worried because we’re his first one and he doesn’t know any tricks. His plan is to give us the tour, lay out the program, and if we want it, great. If we don’t, no problem. No pressure. He tried to show us the indoor pool, but the door was locked. “See how we make the pool area secure for our guests?” He showed us the miniature golf course and told us that Tiger Woods has not made par on it. Obviously, the joke was that Tiger hadn’t played the course. He talked about his family life, past employment, got us to talk about ours. It was a very enjoyable 90 minutes turned 2 hours. We had no intention of buying anything and we did not. If he had something better to do, he might have disqualified us and set us loose, but he didn’t, and he made it very enjoyable. He rolled with his ineptness at the script, but showed that he had good skills.

Paraphrasing a friend’s tag line, “Life’s to short to be or deal with boring, crappy salespeople.” Make it fun!

To check out Linda Cohan, go to http://www.lindacohan.com/.

To read the Globe article, go to http://bostonworks.boston.com/news/articles/2006/11/19/theres_time_for_a_laugh_even_in_new_selling/.

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