Most, in one way or another, will answer: Knowing how to sell. They sell everything from themselves as credible, trustworthy professionals to detailed strategy and tactics. The greats in business - Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Sheryl Sandberg - have all been accomplished salespeople.
Yet, too many thought leaders refuse to follow the fundamentals of selling. Those include:
- Identifying target markets
- Understanding their unique needs and wants. The world never was and never will be a monolith of values. Even in Biblical times, the mindsets of those in Egypt and in Israel were light years apart.
- Researching the most effective ways to address each market segment, customizing, customizing, customizing. Never try coasting on a generic.
- Do a trial close, which essentially requests feedback and with that could come immediate course correction
- Ask for the sale.
- Ask if anyone they know could also benefit from what you are pitching.
A well-constructed speech, opinion-editorial, article, book, white paper, blog post, tweet, commentary on Facebook or email blast isn't enough. That communications vehicle has to be tailored to align with all the selling must-dos.
Beneath John F. Kennedy's eloquent rhetoric was a salesperson's keen understanding about what the American people needed and wanted. A major piece of that was to be lifted out of the Eisenhower era. That's exactly what Kennedy the Sales Rep accomplished. He closed on that sale - all the time.
Thought leaders and their staffs might consider enrolling in formal sales training. There's more to it than the gut instinct of a supposed sales animal.
I have been selling since the age of 11. That's when I operated a Wallace Brown Greeting Card franchise. But, as the marketplace became a dog fight in my industry I invested in an eight-week intensive marketing and sales seminar with Dale Carnegie Systems. It was hands-on and on-your-feet. At the time my communications boutique was based in the Hartford, Connecticut Metro area. The instructor and later my executive coach has been Michael Francoeur.