How Do You Command Attention?

There is a problem in the world today that I personally don’t see getting better anytime soon.

How do we, as sales people get and keep someone’s attention?  How do we stand out in a noisy world? 

I was driving to work this morning listening to Dave Matthew’s Band on SiriusXM.  It was cloudy, misting and overall a gloomy, depressing day.  My eyes were on the road and my brain was working overtime, thinking through a myriad of daydreams, to-do’s and worries.  Before I knew it, I was at my office but I couldn’t really remember my commute.

Over the past several weeks I’ve thought a lot about how fast life moves these days and how we all kind of sleepwalk through it.  We engage in our daily routines and suddenly days go by.  Those days become weeks, months and years.  That may sound like cliché but I believe it’s gotten a lot worse in the digital era. 

If that is true, it has to hold true for our prospects and customers as well.  That’s a scary thought as competition grows and our lives get busier and busier.  How do we combat this?

Let’s look at a basic example of how we rush through our lives…this story has been told numerous times before but I believe it applies to the point here. 

In a Washington DC metro station on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that more than a thousand people went through the station, most on their way to work.

After a few minutes, a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing.  He slowed down for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the musician received his first tip; a woman threw money into the open violin case as she continued walking by.  

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At the 10 minute mark, a 3 year old boy stopped and listened but his mother tugged him a long hurriedly.  This happened to numerous other children over the next few minutes.  All the parents, without exception forced their child to move on quickly. 

In the 45 minutes that the musician played, only six people stopped to listen for a short period of time.  About 20 gave money but continued at their normal pace.  He collected a total of $32.  When he finished playing and there was silence, no one noticed it.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, widely considered one of the best musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. 

A few days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where seats averaged $100 per ticket.

This is a true story as it was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities. 

This experiment tells us a lot of life today.  Needless to say, it is really difficult to get and keep someone’s attention. 

How do we react when someone is trying to sell us something or set up a meeting to pitch an idea??  

As a salesperson how are you positioning yourself and your company to look different than the rest? 

You need to have an answer to the eternal sales and marketing question….why should I do business with you versus every other option out there in the marketplace?

If most people are sleepwalking through life, how do you come up with the secret sauce to compel them to listen to what you have to say?

Answers will be vary based on what you’re selling but you to need to stand out in order to create novelty and intrigue in the mind of your prospect.  They want to hear something new, something different, something that will make their life easier and something simple to understand.

Bottom line is you need to create wanting.  Take the time to answer some of these important questions.  Really think about them and identify how you’re going to position yourself for future success.  

Your product or service doesn’t need to be sexy however your message and how you craft it better be. 

Greg McKinney is a respected sales leader and is nationally know as a speaker, sales coach and consultant.  He believes in helping others and serving the good of humanity.  His phenomenally popular website is a must see for all sales leaders, small business owners and sales professionals.

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