Stand Out By Selling Creatively
Stand Out By Selling Creatively
Creativity is a very important skill to hone during your sales career. Not only will you need to capture the attention of your prospective clients, but also their hearts as that would help them act on your proposal.
Simply said, creative thinking is the ability to think in new and original ways. For prospecting clients, you’ll have to be creative at getting their attention. Due to the hyper-connectivity of our modern life, most people are suffering from information overload. As a salesperson, you need to take this into consideration every time you prepare a sales pitch: attention is a rare commodity so be creative. This could mean applying your creativity in your marketing channels or in the way that you find leads. For example, for the latter, being creative might mean finding a way to bypass the gatekeepers to reach the decision-maker, which could mean researching where they play golf or which social clubs they’re part of and joining those just to get access to them.
Following that, while presenting your sales pitch, you should aim to connect with them at a visceral level rather than an intellectual one. Filling your presentation with metrics and data may sound compelling, but social science research has shown over and over again that people are not rational beings. Emotions drive a lot of decisions. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied people who had received brain injuries that specifically damaged the part of the brain where emotions are generated and found their decision-making ability was seriously impaired.
Data Tells, But Stories Sell
Stories work because they’re an effective means of communication that can capture the imagination and be internalized. Most importantly, stories have the power to evoke emotion. So whenever you’re interacting with a potential client, as yourself, “What am I trying to make them feel?”
Definitely, the goal is never, “Repelled by me.”
You want them to connect with you and trust you. You also want them to be engaged and entertained by you so they’ll like you. Persuasion research has shown that people are more likely to say yes to people they like. Nobody likes to get bored, and definitely, not during a process that might end up with them parting with their money.
Storytelling in selling doesn’t mean dabbling in fiction, though. Any stories told need to be true. Otherwise, engage the potential client’s imagination by saying, “Imagine a scenario where you…”
Also, everytime you go through a pitch with a client, pay attention to their reactions, validating the exact parts that work and the ones that don’t.
Storytelling is a skill that heavily relies on creativity as it requires a person to take different perspectives.
So how do you become more creative?
Creativity is a skill that can be developed through practice. It requires lateral thinking, which helps people generate new ideas and solve problems by looking at the world from different perspective.
Just like any skill, creativity can be learned through practice:
– Because creative people are good at noticing things around them, practice your observation skills. For e.g. Everytime you find yourself in a new environment, imagine it’s a setting in a novel and describe what you see. How do the windows look like? What is the kind of floor? What color were the tables? Another thing you can do is find faces in clouds.
– Borrow ideas from different fields. Creative people read across genres as it allows them to implant ideas from one field to another. Think of how James Dyson used cyclone systems to suck up sawdust in sawmills and applied them to the home vacuum.
– Hold regular brainstorming sessions with your colleagues or your potential clients. The main ground rule for brainstorming sessions is to not criticize any idea and to have ideas build on each other.
– Apply the SCAMPER method. SCAMPER is a mnemonic that instigates answers to the following generic questions:
● Substitute: What can you substitute in your solution to make it better?
● Combine: What two elements within your solution can you combine?
● Adapt: How could you readjust your solution so it would serve another purpose? Modify: How could you modify your solution to make it better?
● Put to another use.Who else could use your solution?
● Eliminate.How could you simplify your solution?
● Reverse.What if you try to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do now?
- Hang around children. Creativity is usually associated with play, and hanging around children gives one more opportunities to play and experience the world from a different point of view.
Co-written with Amina Islam