Achieve Celebrity Status Without Becoming an Awful Person

By Jeff Beals

In order to enjoy the lead-generation and prospecting benefits that a sales practitioner can get from personal branding, I recommend you become a sort of celebrity.

But I always feel a little uncomfortable using the word, “celebrity,” because a lot of celebrities are frankly lousy people.

We see it all the time – celebrities behaving badly:

1. A beautiful teenage movie star grows up into a drug-addicted has-been with a long rap sheet and a collection of orange-jumpsuit photos.

2. A professional athlete goes to jail for assaulting his girlfriend.

3. A famous musician and his bodyguard are arrested for punching an autograph-seeker in the face.

And then there are those who do outrageous things in hope of becoming famous.

The continuing popularity of reality television shows and viral social media videos have made it possible for seemingly anyone to be a celebrity if they have the right look, at least a little bit of charisma and the willingness to perform outrageous stunts in front of millions of incredulous eyes. Turn on television and you’re apt to see someone allowing a camera crew to document their most intimate moments just so they can be a celebrity.

The word “celebrity” has become tarnished.

You may be surprised that I, as author of a book on self marketing, am troubled by the over-emphasis on celebrity status in America. I’m concerned despite the fact that I advise professionals to become “a celebrity in your own sphere of interest.”

In a loud, crowded and brutally competitive world, it’s easier to find and attract new business when you are well known by the people who make up your personal target audience: – clients, potential clients, anyone who could refer business, industry VIPs, community leaders, etc. If you’re a celebrity in your own sphere of business, you possess social and professional power that can help you reach your goals.

I think of “celebrity in your own sphere of interest” as being known for an on-going series of respected achievements. In order for your “celebrity status” to be effective, exhibit good behavior. If you work hard and do impressive things, you deserve be “celebrated,” and that’s where the word “celebrity” comes from.

But how do you let the world know the wonderful things you are doing without coming across negatively?

You need the right attitude and the right frame of mind.

Despite the necessity of personal branding, many sales practitioners are not entirely comfortable doing it. They’re afraid they might cross the fine line and become the type of person that others try to avoid. That’s a reasonable concern, because nobody likes braggarts, show-offs, know-it-alls and blowhards.

Ironically, living as a celebrity in your own sphere of interest requires the virtue of humility. Promote yourself while making it look like you’re not trying. Let people know what you’re doing without being obnoxious. Above all, make sure you have real accomplishments to promote.

You can avoid turning your personal branding efforts into egotistical boasting by asking yourself two questions:

If people knew the real reason why I want to become a celebrity in my own sphere of interest, would I be embarrassed?

If the answer is “no,” you’re probably okay.

Do the things I do for personal branding purposes also have legitimate economic, cultural or social benefit?

If the answer is “yes,” you’re probably okay.

Simply put, you will find it easier to generate new business if a lot of quality people know you and have a positive image of you in their minds. Being a celebrity in your own sphere of interest makes you more powerful. Just make sure that as you journey down the path to personal stardom, you take your ethical and moral beliefs along with you. If you do, you should be just fine.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

The Secrets of a Successful Sales Presentation

A sales presentation is your pitch.

More specifically, the presentation is your formal chance to present how your company’s offerings are beneficial to the prospect. It’s a chance to show how you provide value and how you can solve a prospect’s unique problems.

Sales presentations tend to occur after earlier preparatory sales work has been completed.

Before meeting in person, you probably found the prospective client thanks to your prospecting efforts that caught their attention because of some compelling value you presented.  You have most likely had at least one phone call where you were able to ask probing questions.

During those pre-meeting phone conversations, you should have asked the prospect numerous questions to find their pain points and determine what they truly value.

Although the presentation is your chance to highlight yourself and your company, there is still plenty of opportunity to listen. That’s important, because you can never know enough about a prospect and listening strengthens relationships.

Here are 9 pieces of advice to help you make sales presentations more successful for you:

1. A sales presentation is your formal chance to present how your company’s attributes are beneficial to the prospect. It’s a chance to show how you provide value and how you would solve a prospect’s unique problems.  Just make sure the presentation is tailored to how your offering exactly satisfies what matters to that client.  In other words, limit the talk about how long you’ve been in business, how many clients you serve, the combined years of service your staff has, etc.

2. Don’t just focus on presenting. Think about building a trusting relationship with the prospect.  You can build trust by establishing rapport, communicating thoroughly, being appropriately self-deprecating and listening earnestly when the prospect talks.  A presentation isn’t all talk. Make sure to listen as well.

3. Structure your sales presentation both rationally and persuasively, taking advantage of human nature.  Don’t forget the emotion.  Salespeople love to present logical arguments as to why a prospect should buy, but prospects purchase based on emotion.  Yes, that’s true even in complex B2B transactions.

4. When you coach and facilitate your prospects, the hard sell is not necessary.

Determine what part of your sales presentation is boilerplate and which part is to be customized. Focus your preparation on the customized part.

5.  Cast a vision of how great life will be with your product or service by using a little showmanship during the sales presentation.  Highlighting value-added benefits can be just enough to push the deal over the top.

6. Over-reliance on audio/visual aids or props is a mistake but not using them all can make you come across as unprepared, unprofessional or unsophisticated.

7.  Tell the truth, communicate earnestly and be yourself (but be the most appealing version of yourself).

8. Two presenters are usually better than one, but three presenters can feel like a crowd.  The larger the number of prospects in the meeting, the more representatives you can have from your company.

9. Doing something a little special and out of the ordinary makes prospects feel as if you truly value them and their business.  If there is a pleasant surprise during the sales presentation, it can help you chances, just as long as the surprise isn’t cheesy or over the top.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

Consequences of Missing Out on a Sale

By Jeff Beals

I was talking with my brother-in-law last week, and he shared an experience he had at a local chapter meeting of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

An insurance executive was delivering a speech about sales success.  During her presentation, she talked about how insurance agents sometimes miss out on a sale.  When that happens, she said, the typical insurance agent just quickly moves on.

“We might not get paid, we miss out on a commission and we’re disappointed,” she said, “but we quickly move on to the next lead.”

But sometimes missing out on a sale is downright tragic.  She used life insurance as an example.

“What happens if you didn’t prepare before the presentation or you don’t come across just right, and you miss that sale?” the speaker asked. “You might find yourself years down the road, having a dreaded conversation with the surviving spouse and the children.”

In other words, missing out on a sale doesn’t necessarily hurt just us.  It could end up hurting your prospect.  The products and services you sell are important.  People need what you offer.

But prospects often don’t know what they don’t know.  They sometimes just don’t understand how your offering can protect them or at least make their lives more enjoyable.

What’s more, prospects often reactively, reflexively say “no,” even when they don’t know all the facts and even when they kind of want your offering.

I’m reminded of book, When Buyers Say No: Essential Strategies for Keeping a Sale Moving Forward, by Ben Katt and Tom Hopkins.  The book provides a number of reasons why buyers say “no” even if they’re actually interested in your offering:

  • The prospect has unanswered questions or concerns
  • You haven’t fully figured out what the prospect values and addressed all those values.  That can lead you to offer products and services that aren’t quite right for the prospect
  • It’s possible you haven’t unearthed all the prospect’s objections
  • The prospect might be uncomfortable with how quickly the sales process is going, and he or she simply wants to slow things down.

Now, sometimes, “no” indeed means “no.” You can usually tell when a prospect is resolutely uninterested.  But that’s often not the case after a prospect has taken the time to meet with you and talk at length about your product.

If you sense the prospect might not really mean “no,” the best thing to do is go back into probing-question mode.  And certainly don’t get defensive or start worrying.  Those reactions are counterproductive.

Ask them about their concerns and hesitations.  Chances are good that you misunderstood one of their answers or failed to ask a key question in the first place.  Listen carefully to the answers and truly absorb what the prospect says (instead of going through the motions, making it look like you’re listening).

Katt and Hopkins then recommend you confirm the buyer is ready to take action. At this point, you simply say something like “If I can adequately address your concerns, would you be ready to move forward with the purchase?”

Then you provide an appropriately customized answer and ask for the business again.

When you go the extra step, and make one more effort, you are not just helping yourself.  You could be making a huge difference for your prospective clients.  They just might not initially realize what a big favor you are doing for them.

Lifelong Learning Loop

For the last month, I’ve been sharing my favorite book summaries with you because of my partnership with Readitfor.me.

Between now and the end of the month, my friends at Readitfor.me are offering a Lifetime Membership to their service for only $249. Their founder, Steve Cunningham, has made a video outlining the offer, along with his presentation on The Lifelong Learning Loop: The 7 Practices of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners.

You can watch that video, and take advantage of the Lifetime Membership Offer, here.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.