Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

File this under "What?"

How many times have you met someone for the first time, who rattled through their name so fast, you had no idea of what they just said?
If you are like most people, you may or may not ask them to repeat their name once, but would you do it twice, or three times until you got it right? At that point it gets kind of weird. No?
So you blow it off and next time you simply say "Hey . . .. . . . . . you" and they become the dude or dudette with no name. Kind of a bad situation to be in. Just out of curiosity, have you ever been that person?

Here's another one: Have you ever had to replay a voicemail an inordinate amount of times because the genius at the other end left their phone number like they were practicing to be an auctioneer?

I'll tell you flat out that I have been guilty of both of these scenarios and quite frankly, many people are. Think about it, things like our name and phone number are presented numerous times a day in our world. Because of that, the tendency becomes to rush through it. Its quite natural, but very confusing for the other party.

OK, so now that we just had our "Fast Talker" support meeting, what do we do about it?

Pausing and Parting: The folks at Dale Carnegie teach this wonderful technique in their courses. To pause and part you would simply pause (briefly or people will think you are special) after saying my name is . . . This is important because it captures the attention of the other person. Now comes the "Parting"! To part, you separate or part you first and last name. Example Paul (part) Castain. Doing this prevents one big tapestry of babble and lets you communicate your most important asset, your name. The same technique can be used for your phone number.

Consider having a way for folks to remember your name if they are struggling with it. I have two ways that I have people remember my name. The first is that I have a way that I like to spell my last name. C. A. S like "Sam" T. A. I. N, like "Nancy" The other way is to use a memory technique. The brain thinks in images. The crazier the image, the higher the probability of retention. Here's what I will say as my "break glass in case of emergency" memory jogger. "I want you to picture Saint Paul but he has his arm in a cast. The cast is stained in the shape of a dollar sign because I always make money for my clients. Then I repeat my name again to drive the point home.

Silly? Heck yes, but its funny how many people will tell you that crazy story next time you run into them.

Slow down: Remember, to fight your tendency to rush through things you present often. Be mindful of your nerves and how your adrenaline will speed up your rate of speech. You might even want to video tape or simply tape record other things you communicate often such as:

Your 30 second commercial (elevator speech)
The voice mails you leave
The voicemail on your own phone

Side note: I knew this lady ( I really hope she isn't reading this now) who used to get so nervous in certain situations that not only would she rush her message, her voice would go up like 700 octaves and she would sound like Minny Mouse but I digress.

Reevaluate what you are saying. Is it confusing? Is your message compelling enough where it will capture the attention of your audience?

So, there you have it. Some simple things you can do to avoid getting that confused, head tilted look from the people you meet.

Wishing you incredible success!

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  1. Good one Paul! This is a major pet peeve of mine.

  2. Please slow down when you are leaving your phone number at the end of a voice mail message. If necessary, repeat it slowly.

  3. @ Pam. Thank you. I will share a funny story on this subject one day with you offline.

    @ Anonymous: Well stated!

    Thank you both for stopping by!

  4. Terrific, Paul.

    When I'm caught in the position of having forgotten a person's name, I reflect back to an old Australian mate of mine. He would say, "I have a finite number of brain cells. In order to remember your name, I'd have to forget someone else and I'm just not prepared to do that."

    Probably not a technique taught at Carnegie, but fun, nevertheless.

  5. Great post. I was just talking with a co-worker the other day about this very thing. Add a strong accent (i.e. New England area)
    to that and become someone's memory of the guy no one could understand. This little piece bears repeating (and re-reading)

  6. if you WANT to REMEMBER a name which you didn't quite reconigize ask the question "is that like....?" OR BE REMEMBERED creat a "nomme de guerre" that ties in with what you do...such as .....toshibabob

  7. Once upon a time in college, @ 2:30 am I learned a lesson of a lifetime. To remember someone's name, immediately after you meet them, scream their name at the top of your lungs. I will never forget Craig and this lesson he taught me.

  8. Yes, good communication is key!
    If I write down the person's name and some quick note about them, I have success retaining their name. For my last name, "Hohman", I say "it's spelled like Santa Claus, Ho Ho man".

    When I networked with BNI(Business Networking International)they suggested leaving your phone number at the BEGINNING and END of a phone message and I appreciate it when people do so.


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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