Tell me a story …

A while ago I was asked to meet up with a friend who was having trouble with his sales. A great product he has although his problem is that he knows how good the product is but doesn’t know how to engage the needy. He was coming out of a corporate background to work for himself and I could see where Phil was having trouble.

He’d spend 20+ years steering the department instead of building. Phil was a manager and not a sales person. Not yet.

I could only reflect on my own experience. Around 20 years ago I’d just taken a sales position selling something I knew well, I was confident although I had not the faintest idea of how to introduce the product to another.

I did though have passion. I had attitude and I was determined. I could smile on cue, was aware that a handshake was the traditional way of greeting in these parts and I could start a conversation.

Fundamental stuff heh?

Even after the aforementioned revision, Phil was not there, yet.

Skills are what he had, coming from the department production floor and into management, he was the go-to guy with the technical knowledge. But could he tell a story?

I reminded Phil that people buy stories, not skills.

Add a story to the fundamental method of introduction and your engagement is complete. Almost. Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them?? Too often Phil was telling me his solution and not listening to my support. Life is like that sometimes; we know we should have inkling about something as primary as personal engagement but it somehow becomes lost in the technical, the driven, and the departmental structure.

I believe all of us are sales people but we really do need to listen to our audience, engage with dialogue. Get our prospect on side before slowly; ever so slowly we offer our own story, verse by chapter in conversation until you come to the offer of solution you have that may be relevant to their needs today.

The ‘IN’ crowd


The Inner Circle thing …

A guy called Bill was in touch recently and asked whether I could help him sort out with preparation to a press release he was writing. It was issues with  editing he was having trouble with and even though I didn’t yet know him well and given that it’s not exactly the type of business I get involved with a lot these days, I just got on with it. At the same time I advised Bill that when you sign up for our particular services, you’re not buying into a membership. You’re investing in a relationship.

The thing is, Bill wasn’t even a customer yet. Just someone asking for help.

You’re not buying a membership. You’re investing in a relationship.

Yes, I know what many of you are now thinking – it almost sounds like “you have to pay to be our friend,” type of thingy.

Business is about belonging. Once you better understand where you feel like you belong, you know that you can serve people better. People either get you or they don’t. They know what you’re into or they don’t.

There’s less friction when you belong. There’s less grey (although it has become popular for some right now!) There is less “fuss.”

The Way One Complains

There’s a lot of customer service associated with my work. We get it wrong sometimes, sure. People lose things or we misunderstand or our system doesn’t send them, or we prepare something and it doesn’t suit, and people need some extra help.

Like any business we get two different types of complaints:

Hey, I love you… but sadly this is the wrong item.”


I paid good money for this, and I expect you to deliver!”

We serve both types of people. That’s what good business is about isn’t it? Service. That’s what good LIFE is. Service.

But naturally, the person who loves us and understands our quirks and who is IN and not just someone buying something from us, they are who we strive to help succeed. Those are the people we go the extra mile for, such as when you are getting to know someone a little better, they appear human because they support our musicians – you want to help, there is an affinity so you pull out the stops.

But it requires work.

Actions You Can Take

For there to be an “in,” there has to be access. Make it easy for people to reach you and have a genuine interaction. It used to be cool to be unattainable. Not these days, business is personal, make it easier to reach you.