Category Archives: sales

Toastmasters: Persuasion project 1

I did my first project from the advanced manual on persuasion. Learned a lot from it, too - and not necessarily what the manual might've wanted me to learn... <laugh>

They remarked once again on my lack of energy. I was too low-key for them. I decided not to use sugar-high-enthusiasm because I want to learn how to talk to suits. I'm good at enthusiasm. I can bounce up and down, wave pompoms, whatever. I need to learn how to speak to people's serious sides, not just amuse them with my antics and my enthusiasm. I need to learn how to provoke thought and establish credibility. I'm not going to be this young forever, and I want to learn how to speak properly by the time I need it!

Fortunately my evaluator also pointed out that I used a pleasant pace - accessible! - not like my usual rush of words. Still, this is the second time I've tried my serious voice on Toast I.T., and the reaction's always been iffy. They like me breathless with enthusiasm, bubbly, sparkling - but I'm more than that! I'm having a hard time getting past this with Toast I.T., even if I wear a blazer and glasses and everything. I want to be both. I want to blend seriousness and joy.

Maybe I can save my "low-key" voice for IBM Toastmasters. Hmm...

The three- to five-minute roleplay situation for me seemed constrained and unnatural. This is strange because I'm perfectly fine with elevator pitches. I think I just need to get better at roleplaying.

I should probably have tried selling something concrete that I wasn't too familiar with instead of selling something intangible. People seem to think that selling ideas is easier than selling something concrete because ideas don't cost money, they just cost time. I wish I could make _them_ try to sell other people on ideas. Time is money. In fact, time is a lot more expensive than the gadgets many people would casually throw money away on.

One Toastmaster was particularly vocal about my being an absolute failure at "real" sales and how I'd be fired right away if this was the real thing. He insisted that sales was a hypercompetitive, cutthroat world and that salespeople are paid tons because of the competition. Personally, I believe that salespeople are paid a lot because they clearly contribute to the bottom line in a quantifiable manner. I also suspect that any numbers-driven sales that's just concerned with how much the salesperson makes is totally not for me. I'm more interested in relationship building. Fortunately, my mentor called him to task and told him that there were other perfectly valid ways of selling.

... And this guy also wondered why I didn't have any flashy slides. After all, we all know that Powerpoint is _essential_ for sales. Mph. Well, he was trying to be helpful, and there _are_ some audiences that need a slide deck. For what I was doing, that was definitely out of the picture.

The same person thought I didn't control the conversation enough, and that I let my roleplay partner do too much of the talking. I thought I did too much talking and not enough listening. I felt that I broke into too many long passages, and I hate that. I feel that I'm most effective when I listen to people, suggesting something after I've understood their situation and validated them by paying attention to them. I hate it when people fake listening, when they just care about when they get to speak next. I hate it when people pretend they want a conversation with you but they really just want to sell you stuff and their message isn't individualized at all..

Wish I had my mom's books to whap the guy with! <laugh> Well, he _was_ just trying to be helpful, and _his_ world is probably the dog-eat-dog world he described. I'm 22 and I'm new to the subject, but I get the feeling that there aree zbetter things out there.

Oh well.

I think I know what I'm going to "sell" for project 2 - houses. Or whatever.

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Random Japanese sentence: 机の下から猫が出てきた。 A cat appeared from under the desk.