Sales Coaching Series, Part 20: Becoming creative in "selling"

When you Google the word creativity and search for images to describe it, you won't be surprised to find light bulbs and the brain, with lots of imagery and colour and phrases like "outside the box" coming up. In other words, it looks as if we are in a thinking game here. Sales has always been a thinking game and most of all, thinking about what it is your prospect wants, needs, can use and can afford from your stable.

There are various categories of creativity. The everyday stuff like getting the kids to bed at night, calmer and earlier, I'm sure has been "created" by every parent in one way or the other. You might then get some transformative ways of doing things, a little mini-brainwave that solves challenges around the place. In fact, if you look around you right now, I bet every item you have or service that you are using today, are as a result of ordinary people coming up with better, smarter, faster, easier and possibly cheaper ways of doing things that people did in the past. It is said that you can sell 1 million of anything you have brought creativity to the professional level. If millions of people adore what you've done, or are doing, perhaps you are in the realms of genius. Then you might have the top 1% of geniuses to compete with!

Einstein is reputed to have used by 15% of his brain… So, where does that leave us? I believe that there is genius in everyone of us; the difficulty is we have so little time to think about what we are doing, so many demands on us to produce the numbers, the results, that we do not use our creativity/genius.

So, if sales or any other profession, for that matter, is a thinking game, the game starts with you and your goals. Are you just going through the motions, work, work, busy, busy bang-bang! Or have you clear and specific short, medium and what is called a "BHAG", i.e. a big hairy audacious goal in mind? A BHAG makes you think what is that you truly wish for in your (sales) career. Do you want to be in the middle/ "average" or, have you dreams and ambitions to be in the top 5 to 10% of business development specialists?


If you want to be in the top percentile, then you have to make a decision to move away from what Einstein called insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and hoping to get a different result. I see people doing this all the time in sales. They never change what they are doing and how they are doing it. They are hoping against hope that the customer will change, that the market will change, or that something fortuitous might happen that Venus will cross Mars and everything will work out. Forget it! Change happens from within and unless YOU change first, the results will always be the same. It is like throwing a pebble into a millpond. It ripples out from you, to your boss, through to the team, to the company and eventually the customer gets it. The customer always "gets it", like it or not!

Being in sales, as I have repeatedly said, is difficult. Every day you put yourself out there. Every day you are subjected to hearing the word "no". Every day your self-esteem can take a hammering. So why would you do it? We love sales because there is nothing quite like the thrill and adrenaline of bringing a sale over the line, and like a top goal-scorer in soccer, you can't wait for the next match, the next opportunity, the next goal, the next thrill, and dare I say, high, the win!

One of my favourite business models is Strategyser's Business Model Canvas. Look it up and you will notice that gives you an overview of all the constituents that make up a business. There are some excellent free tools that you can download from them and also of course subscribe if you wish.

What I like most about this model, is a supporting methodology called value proposition. Again, without going into the fine detail of this, do yourself a favour and learn about value proposition. It talks about carrying out the diagnosis, first. Just like any good medical consultant, you must diagnose before you prescribe. What the Value Proposition model does is get you to think (there is that word again!) about what it is your target clients/prospects do every day, what job functions must they fulfil, and on what results are they going to be judged. What products and services are they using currently that help them to get these jobs done? Once you know the answers by asking questions, I guarantee everybody is going through some pain with their current use of product/services.

Equally, they leave work every day with dreams of someone (like you possibly), coming into their lives and easing those pains and, turning that pain into gain.

Think about that for the moment. When have you last gone back to your clients/prospects and asked them what we call "killer" questions? These will get them talking about the jobs they do, unearthing the challenges that they have with current products and services they use and painting pictures in their heads about some of the possibilities that are out there in the context of your product or service offering.

Think about this for next week and we will address your approach to offering your solution on our return.

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