Something to believe in!

  • This post is written by Doug Watson.

    A regular contributor on

    Sage advice

    The market for something to believe in is, I believe, infinite.


    Just take a look around at the way people gravitate to self-help gurus in their pursuit to do better in any number of ways. Bookshops, yes there are still some around, have special sections entitled “Self Help”.


    All these books and gurus are fulfilling the basic human need to believe in something. 


    Christianity and other religious beliefs have prevailed for thousands of years because people want to believe in something higher then themselves. And as I have written previously stories give us our sense of place and the basis for our values and beliefs system that help us navigate life.


    In sales we sometimes find ourselves going through the motions. Perhaps we’ve been doing it for so long we have a routine down pat and can simply get by on experience.


    Well, whether you are starting out in sales or have been around a while here’s a bit of a tip. “Become a storyteller”. 


    Think about the best sales people you’ve met. They were all great storytellers and knew how to engage their audience whether a one-on-one situation or to the masses at a conference or through a media channel.


    Remember when you were a kid in school how you would sit on the edge of your seat when a teacher was good at telling a story. Well that doesn’t change just because we become adults.


    Adopt the storytelling techniques of the best. Use audio-visual tools, wrap the presentation with enough emotion to give gravitas to your pitch. Abandon routine, don’t rote learn the presentation, feel it, believe in it and deliver it with passion, love and care. In media tell stories about the audience of the business you’re trying to persuade to buy a schedule. Don’t sell schedule, sell a story.


    A performance guru I know gave me the most frank and honest observation of my work a couple of years ago. He said “ You know Doug you are at your brilliant best when you have done your homework and deliver a presentation with such passion and belief that the audience has no choice but to believe in you. They believe because you believe. On the other hand when you are not prepared you become deliberately provocative and the audience senses that therefore they don’t buy your pitch”.


    Give them something to believe in and I bet you’ll sell more, more often.