I have often wondered what it would have been like growing up in other places.
Growing up in the south was a wonderful experience for me. The climate was nice. The pace, at least in my hometown, was slower than what I see in other areas of the country. And many of the “sayings” that I grew up with were colorfully woven phrases that stitched together some of my most fond memories.
I think about what it would have been like if I had grown up in other parts of the world, and I wonder how many of my favorite sayings would have been lost to me.
For example, I just can’t imagine someone from Chicago saying, “Well, bless her heart. She just doesn’t know any better.” I can’t imagine a cabby in New York City sticking his head out the window and yelling, “How’s your mama an’ ’em?” And I can’t imagine the Pope addressing the crowd at Vatican City and saying, “If???? Well, if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt neither.”
One of my very favorite sayings from the south was, “That boy doesn’t have a lick of sense!” Although I wasn’t sure of the exact quantity of a “lick” of sense – I knew that having less than that amount was a very bad statement about your intelligence.
About 15 years ago, I had an article published in the training periodical, Leadership In Action. This was an internal publication that Aflac sent to the sales leadership team in the USA. The article was about using the five basic senses in the sales strategy. Statistically, your chances of making the sale increase when you can involve additional senses in your sales process.
Most sales people only use two basic senses in their sales interactions with their prospects: sight and hearing. Those two are the easiest. Your prospect hears you when you have discussions to uncover where you can provide the most value to them, and they see the physical item or the proposal that you use in making your recommendations. Very few sales processes include smell, touch, or taste.
I began to do something different that added the sense of touch. In my case, I was selling voluntary employee benefits that paid cash direct to the policyholder in addition to any other insurance they had, and they could use that cash as they deemed necessary. To add the sense of touch, I bought some large “party sized” fake $100 bills. As I explained how the plans worked, I would get someone from the group to come up front and assist me. As we discussed the features of the policies, I used a story to illustrate what could happen if my assistant were in need of the policy. I counted my “fake money” out into the participants hands as if they were experiencing the claims payment. In doing so, I asked the others in the meeting to count out loud with me as I handed the bills to my helper. When they did as I asked, it gave everyone the sense of touching the money. It felt real to them and connected them to the need for the policy.
I added the sense of touch – and my sales percentages rose about 25%. Sometimes I would bring food to the meetings and add the sense of taste and smell. That worked well too.
Every industry is different. But what can you do that would involve more than just two of the five basic senses when you sell? It will be worth putting some thought into that.
I’m off to cook breakfast now. I’ve made myself hungry! 🙂
Be creative – how can you involve the senses of touch, taste and smell into your sales process?