Can you "learn" to be passionate about what you're selling?
Often when I speak, people ask me where I get my passion from for certain topics, ideas, products, business techniques, etc. The short answer is that it comes from within. If I like something I embrace it. If I embrace it, I am naturally curious and want to understand benefit vs cost (or alternative) and how it helps me or others. We are all consumers and we have opinions. This is why Amazon reviews are so good and popular. For the most part, people's honest "neighbor to neighbor" opinions go a long way to making or breaking products and services. But what about sales, can you learn to be passionate with regards to what you're selling? Can you be a sales person for something you have no excitement for? The answer is Yes and No.
Yes, because of course you can take a robotic approach to sales and just do the minimal necessary. We've all seen and had to deal with people that take this approach. Order takers. No emotion, no opinion, they don't breath life into what they are selling - at all. It's usually a turn off and I don't believe that those people have a long career ahead but they are out there. The better answer is No, you can't be good at selling a product or service without passion and a connection to it.
So if we take the premise that passion isn't learned it's inherent, where does it come from and how does it evolve? Let's address the fist part of that question. It starts with your own opinions. We all have opinions. We all voice those in different ways. I'm writing this article as my "opinion" on passion with regards to sales. Passion comes from within. You don't have to be passionate about every single opinion you have. I'm sure there are some products or services in life that you have an almost "non-opinion" opinion about. for example, how do you feel about the door knob on your front door? Most people might say, "It's a door knob, it works, and I really don't give it much more thought than that." However, if you're a door knob salesperson, you might say, "We have the best ergonomically available and high-tech door knobs on the market! When you reach for our gorgeous doorknob which is attached seamlessly on your front door, our technology senses your approach and the door knob itself lights the way for you to grab it with confidence. As you turn our knob our silky smooth silica coated patented internal rotator baffle reminds you that your about to transition from chaos into your inner sanctum." See what i mean?
Ok, so how does passion manifest itself from person to person? We know that some of us are better outward personalities and speakers and others are better inward, reflective personalities better suited toward writing. Depending on the actual sales role, that's where we all run into trouble. If your job is to be a writer with a blog and website content updates as deliverables and you're great at speaking and horrible at writing, well then that is a problem. Not saying you can't learn to be a great writer, but you'll have to work at it. Of course, the opposite is true for the great writer who wants to improve their speaking confidence. So though everyone's passion is inside, it comes out in different mediums. My advice is to know yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses. Put yourself in sales positions to have your best natural medium come out for the job you have or are seeking. Be honest with your employer. If you're fantastic at phone and in-person sales, your employer might just pay for an evening business writing class. You never know...
So is there a "right amount" of passion that needs to be in my sales repertoire? How can my passion evolve to where it's natural? I would say that there is no such thing as percentage of passion - you're always passionate! Passion doesn't always mean speaking loud or crying or yelling. Passion is thoughtful, passion can be exciting and calm, passion is educating, passion is your natural tenor in how you present. Sure, you might need to present some dry facts during your sales pitch, but you can do it in such a way as to conclude those facts with an analogy and why when thinking about those dry facts, they're really amazing in relation to the competition's dry facts. Hopefully you have a passion or a very good understanding of the needs of your customers in relation to the product or service you're selling. So ask yourself, "What would I want to know about the service or product?" This translates to outward sales as well. Customers notice a passionate person who, simply by talking about a product or service, is memorable. They take notice at your enthusiasm, your tone, the way you speak and especially your conclusions. While they are not judging you personally, it's pretty easy to tell when someone is not passionate and they don't know their stuff. When you are passionate and excited, you don't need to read from a script, the product or service details flow out of your mouth (or onto the page) naturally and freely and at the right time.
So how best to harness your passion during a sales pitch? Practice, practice, practice. First, write down the bullet points of what you need to convey like the benefits, costs, certain specifications, advantages over competition, etc. Next, put those in conversational order - as if you were discussing this over the dinner table or with a friend a party. Lastly, let your personal opinion come out. If you feel strongly about one area of the pitch vs another, then make a point to emphasize that. Maybe your blown away by the specs, or the beauty of the product, or even the simplicity of the service, the amazing team, or the price for the benefit, etc. As a customer, I don't just want to be sold, I want to have a partner in the purchase. I want to feel lucky to purchase the product and that there's someone else in the world, sharing my (new) passion for this product or service. I want to feel like my gut instinct is right and this salesperson is proving me right with their pitch. It's not all about price. For the customer it's about feeling good about their purchase. For you the salesperson, it's about your passion translated to your new fiend, the customer, and you feeling like you absolutely conveyed why you love this product.