People buy with their heart and justify with their brain. If you believe that, as we do, you must be sincerely excited about what it is you are selling. Sure, you can get excited about the features and benefits, but what captures people’s attention is your enthusiasm for how it solves their problem and the brand story you entertain them with. That’s why, beyond product knowledge, beyond market knowledge, and beyond competitive knowledge, you must convey your own personal excitement about your product and give your prospect a frame of historical reference in to which she can place and remember your product or service. People remember stories, especially when told to them face-to-face by an enthusiastic story teller.
Want to be the top sales person? Go interview the company founder. Find out, in his own words, what his concept and mission was in creating the product you are selling. Do it in person so you can see his expressions, body language and feel his passion. Research the history of the product. So many brands have humble beginnings that were unlikely success stories. Find out about how your brand and product had to overcome the obstacles and finally establish itself to provide the benefits it provides today. Interview the satisfied customers in person. Yes, put down the key board, get up and physically go over and meet these people.
Some sales people today actually try to avoid real-time face-to-face contact. They try to do it all by email. They even avoid phone calls. But they ultimately lose the sale to the person who can convey their brand story and excitement in person. Some folks today rely solely on technology. They even try to make up for the bland, grey nature of virtual communication with sheer volume. The “Sales Funnel” theory is based on just sending out more and more blasts like a duck hunter with a shot gun, blasting away at the sky, hoping to hit a duck. It’s based on the idea that there is no other way.
This of course panders to the basic fear of rejection, which is the big risk of in-person sales. The problem is that it’s inefficient, and the face-to-face sales person can make more sales with less prospects, because he is actually in front of them. He’s not just another incoming email, sample or text to be ignored or looked at later. He’s really there! Imagine that. And when he opens his mouth, he has an entertaining story, and visually demonstrates his personal affinity for his product and his excitement over how it will solve his prospect’s problem.
The resources for your winning enthusiastic story are all around you, and they are not emails, tweets, texts or even web sites. They are real people – the creators and satisfied customers of your product. That’s who you will have to convince anyway: real people. So go visit them, listen and observe. Let their enthusiasm rub off on you, and you won’t have to fake it. You will develop real confidence in your product and its value to your customer. You will be sincere about what you have discovered, and your prospect will know when he sees your facial expressions and body language. Most buyers buy you, not the product, anyway. So why not give them a colorful pitch that entertains and comes from the heart instead of the grey emails that come from a keyboard? Be the top sales person you want to be by being the real person your customer wants to buy from!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders