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(SALES) Does Your Story Sell?


Sarah and I just got back from a wonderful vacation in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. In case youre looking for ideas, Conde Nast Traveler named it the number one travel destination for 2013.

Each day, the staff at our hotel (Casa de Sierra Nevada) put together a list of things that were happening around this charming town.

On Saturday, there was a little art fair in one of the city parks.

We collect art -- inexpensive street art is fun, too. A painting is a wonderful souvenir. (Sure the giant sombrero is tempting, but it wont fit in the overhead bin.)

The street artists in Mexico are not shy about selling their paintings. In fact, they sell as if their lives depend on it. As soon as we stopped to admire a painting, the first artist was quick approach us and tell us about his work.

He approached us this way: Thats an acrylic painted on wood. Frame included. Many layers of paint. Then he shot us a price. When we hesitated, he immediately went into price-cutting mode. He quickly knocked off 20 percent. As we pondered that, he added, My daughter is very sick. Need the money.

While his painting was beautiful, I didnt particularly care for the guilt trip. The sick daughter close may or may not have been true. However, after only a few minutes of conversation, it seemed inappropriate and came out of nowhere.

We told him wed think about it and kept shopping.

The artist we ended up buying from was a young fellow named Ramsees Olivares. His approach was more subtle. He told a story about his love of art. I want only to paint, he said. I dont want office job. Have small apartment and low expenses so I can focus only on painting.

His paintings are Picasso-like figures of womens faces. Very colorful and modern. Ramsees had told us that he was willing to negotiate the price, too. We grabbed a cab and headed to the nearest ATM and then went back to make the purchase.

However, Sarah couldnt quite decide which of his paintings she liked best. So on the way back to the park, we hatched a new negotiation strategy. Offer him a little more than he was asking for one painting but ask that he sell us two.

He countered that offer by saying that for a few more pesos more we could have all three that were done in that style. They should all hang together and you can call it your Ramsees Collection, is how he closed the deal.

I have always thought of my life as one big sales seminar. Im either teaching that sales seminar or attending it.

What I learned about selling from a young street artist in Mexico is that customers want a real connection to the people they are buying from. Sarah and I bought more than his paintings.

We bought his better, more appropriate, and more authentic story.

What story are you and your salespeople telling customers about why you sell radio instead of applying yourself to a different career?

That story is how you connect with prospects in an emotional and powerful way.
You can start the process creating that story by answering this question: Why are you doing this besides the money? The answer to that question should connect you to your real passion for the job and help you connect with your prospects and customers.

If you are interested in seeing the kind of art we purchased, then check out Ramsees Olivares on Facebook.

Chris Lytle is the founder of Sparque, Inc. Hes the best-selling author of The Accidental Salesperson and The Accidental Sales Manager. Reach Chris by e-mail

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