If It Isn't Fun, It Isn't Selling!

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Ken Thoreson
Ken Thoreson

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Last week I was in Arizona speaking at a conference. During my presentation, I used the phrase "If it isn’t fun, it isn’t selling!" and the reaction I received was interesting. Most of the comments seemed surprised or somewhat taken aback. Others were curious as to how to have fun during the sales cycle.

There are two aspects of this topic that are important to understand in creating a great sales culture. First, in every organization with a strong culture that I have been with or have consulted in, the sales teams worked hard, and were professional. But they also had a culture of fun. In my experience, sales managers that create a culture of high performance always foster an environment of accountability and high expectations, but also one where the team had fun together.

How can you engender a fun sales culture? A few ideas to focus on:

  1. Build belief. Make sure your sales team believes in your company, products/services, and each other. This emotional work is a task for sales leadership.
  2. Make sure your sales contests are games. Contests need to be fun, with exciting themes and creative prizes. An annual sales trip for sales reps and their spouses is a must. These kinds of incentives build camaraderie, memories, and teamwork. 
  3. Socialize with your team. Organize pizza nights or breakfast meetings. These types of events allow everyone to talk and laugh, and build respect between teammates.

The second aspect of injecting fun into selling is with prospects and clients during the sales process. I don’t mean you need to be less professional, or an outright jokester, but a more relaxed approach can separate you from your competition. Many years ago someone told me there are three rules in selling: emotion, emotion, and emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it to your prospect, and it must be at the core of their actions.

Jeb Blount, the founder of Sales Gravy and a friend of mine, suggests salespeople ask themselves the following questions about their prospects: Do they like you? Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them? What kind of sales environment are you creating?

As a salesperson, your interactions with clients or prospects will always create an emotion -- either positive or negative. Focusing on a positive, fun, and interactive approach will lead to a connection with that person. That connection is critical to building the trust and confidence you need to win the opportunity.

Here are some ideas on how to strengthen connections with prospects and clients:

  1. Identify their personality style. Communicate with them in their preferred mode, while also bringing your personality.
  2. Bring a lighter touch to your conversations. It's okay to be yourself! While having an agenda for your meeting and being prepared with a pre-call strategy tool is great, make sure you add a sparkle in your eye and smile on your face.
  3. Make the experience memorable. Ask yourself “What can I do to break through the traditional sales process and make the relationship unique?” If you use social activities in your sales process, can you arrange a fun activity that your prospect would enjoy, such as a wine tasting or sports event? If you are selling in a formal sales process, can you bring a best-selling book autographed by the author to a meeting, or an invitation to your rotary club?

Having fun can separate you from your competition, and that pays off in the form of greater commissions. You will also enjoy the sales process more, and that positive emotion will be felt by your prospects.

What are your ideas around having fun and selling more? Please share in the comments.

Editor's note: This post was previously published on Your Sales Management Guru, and is republished here with permission.

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Topics: Sales Culture

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