Next Dance?

Donald Driver on Dancing with the Stars

I love watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Just like with the food channel reality shows, I get a lot of entertainment value and I pick up a lot of tips. I also am constantly amazed at the business lessons that come out from them.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver took home the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. He had been good all season, but probably not technically the best dancer. The two other finalists, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy were probably better technically. That being said, it’s hard to out-poll a dude who plays for the Packers and is getting promos from his pals Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. Similarly, on American Idol, Phillip Phillips was probably the leader in the clubhouse all year, but Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet may have been better. When Ledet got bumped, Phillips probably scored the teenage girl to twenty-something vote to get him the title. People get mad. They thinks it’s not a real contest; just a popularity contest. Really? You’re just figuring this out now?

Of course it’s a popularity contest. When you ask the world to phone, text, or go online to vote (multiple times mind you), it’s basically stuffing the ballot box for your favorite. These aren’t truly “competitions.” They are popularity contests and to the victors go the spoils.

Think about how this relates to acquiring business.

You may be the smartest person when it comes to your product or industry. You can spout off methodology, process, and product knowledge while falling out of bed at 2 AM. You’re a walking encyclopedia of facts and any client would be fortunate to have your knowledge on their team.

But, if you have no personality; no selling skills; no ability to persuade; can’t deal with objections or rejection; and no ambition to market yourself – then you’re not going to get the business. Sales isn’t about who has the most technical “smarts.” It’s not about who has the broadest markets, the fanciest graphics; or the most credentials behind their name. It’s about who the prospect likes; who they trust the most; and who can be the most persuasive and influential. It’s about how popular trumps brains only. You need to have both. And if one is stronger than the other, if you’re in sales it’s about your ability to persuade people to “vote” for you!

Don’t get me wrong. Product knowledge is important. You have to be credible. However, I’ve met plenty of credible sales people who couldn’t convince a starving man to eat. There are roles for everyone and finding those is one of the most important things an owner or executive can do.

Final thoughts. If you are in sales and want to increase your business through professional development, invest more time and money into professional sales skills rather than methodology and process. Spend time improving your language skills, presentation prowess, marketing skills, networking strategy, and writing skills. In the end, your innate ability to persuade and inspire will earn you more business and reap greater rewards for your business.

Time for the next dance…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Running Through the Finish Line

This week’s focus point –

Running through the finish line.

Okay…I like Dancing with the Stars. I’ve become enamored with the athleticism, grace, and beauty of it. Maybe there is a sensitive side to me somewhere down deep! It is also a platform to watch many life lessons play out – perseverance, courage, skill development, and commitment to name a few.

Last week, J.R. Martinez was crowned the champion. This is a true feel good story of a guy who was seriously burned while serving our country in the Army, and now is an actor. This guy was clearly one of the top two all year, yet after an injury was in danger of getting eliminated while others gained momentum. He saved his best dances for last and emerged victorious in a very close competition. He ran through the finish line.

We can spend a whole lot of time preparing, improving, and doing “stuff.” It all means nothing if we can’t close the deal (and this noun means many different things). Business and life are about results. Finishing strong requires focus, commitment, discipline, and action. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory, but in my mind it guarantees success. However, not running hard through the finish line will guarantee that you achieve less than what you were meant to.

As we streak towards the end of 2011, I encourage you to run hard through the finish line.

This week’s quote – “Watch out. The yellow ones don’t stop.” Buddy the Elf in “Elf”
(I would love to hear your thoughts on this quote as a metaphor for business or life. Feel free to send me your thoughts!)