You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be someone who hates peaches. – Dita Von Teese

In sales, a lot of times you’ll hear businesses who are new technology or industry “disruptors” say they have no competition. 

This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly disagree with. In many cases companies have pretty direct competition. Even if a product or service out there can’t get the same results as you can, you are still competing with everything else your prospect can do with his or her dollar. 

In 2008 Kyra Johannsen and Lian Tal opened Body and Pole. One of the first pole dancing fitness studios in the heart of New York City. They essentially started the pole fitness trend on the east coast. The next 10 years saw their studio grow from one 750 square foot classroom with 1 class running at a time to over 10,000 square feet. They have added aerial classes on silks, hoop, and hammock and run hundreds of classes a week. Students come from all over the world to train with them. 

While Body and Pole is considered the gold standard for this type of training on the east coast, and perhaps around the world, instructors there work hard to constantly raise the bar. In their ElevatED education program, where they train teachers, Johannsen and her colleagues constantly remind new instructors who their competition is. They say you aren’t just competing with other instructors but you are competing with everything else your students could be doing with their time or money. 

Now, I am sure you are saying to yourself what does that have to do with ME and MY business? I’m not planning to open a pole dancing studio (or maybe you are, but that’s another blog post for another day). What if you adopted the same mindset for your business? 

How would you market yourself if you knew you were competing with ANYTHING else your customers could do with those dollars? You might be thinking but I am a B2B business and my customers can’t live without me! 

Let’s say you’ve been providing marketing strategy to a law firm for 10 years. Your strategies have a clear ROI and the firm is happy. What happens when the CMO retires and the new guy comes in and decides the firm is only going to focus on SEO and brings in a new agency? You didn’t lost your contract to another marketer – you lost to company leadership reallocating the budget. 

Try it this week – ask yourself what else could your clients do with the money they spend on your product or service. Let me know in the comments how it goes. Will you change your strategy or communication going forward?

Storyteller

Close your eyes and picture a salesperson. What do you see? Did your mind wander to a cheap used car lot? Did you see emails and LinkedIn messages with badly crafted sales pitches? 

Now, close your eyes and think of a storyteller. Do you see a kindergarten teacher with a circle of eager students hanging on her every word? Did you see the Obamas, giving passionate speeches during a tense presidential election? Or are you thinking about Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters or any other journalist sharing an impactful story with their audience? 

I challenge you to think of sales more like you think of story telling. The best salespeople can tell their stories in a way that solves a problem, entertains and delights a client all at the same time. 

The best salespeople aren’t just there to push a product or service, they genuinely want to make connections with those around them and leave the world a better place. This is the topic I will be exploring through this blog. I’ll be sharing examples, tips and best practices. If you have a thought or would like to contribute please don’t hesitate to drop a comment or send me an email.