My mom, Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies, came to me yesterday with a request.
She had just written an article for her newsletter on Sales Lessons from Dancing with the Stars--and she wanted me to blog about her amazing connection-making abilities.
Of course, I was delighted to oblige. As I just wrote yesterday in Just Like Teaching Someone to Fish, creativity is all about making connections.
Besides, I had made a connection as well:
Not only do I have my mother to thank for a great upbringing, but she also helped pay for my college education, and has graciously allowed me to be her do-whatever-Jill-doesn't-want-to-do slave so I can earn some money while in grad school.
Plus, I'm dependent on her good will in the next couple months since I'll be living at home while looking for a real job.
So, obviously, I also thought it would be a GREAT idea to write about her brilliance!
According to my mom, here are some Sales Lessons that can be learned from Dancing with the Stars:
"You can't skip any steps."
Every dance has certain requirements that the judges expect to see. When the couples don't have enough turns or taps or whatever, they're docked points – which could ultimately lead to their eviction the following week.
Sellers who skip steps of the sales process in their attempts to get the business quickly, create obstacles that can delay or even derail their own sales efforts.
To win more sales, don't skip any steps.
Katie's note: Don't skip any steps in the creativity product/service development process either. Like, for example, seeing if customers would actually be interested in your idea. Not that anyone would ever forget to do that!
"The best option doesn't always win."
At the beginning of this season, actress Sabrina Bryan (Cheetah Girls) was clearly a formidable competitor. She danced beautifully and powerfully. Everyone was convinced she would be in the finals. But halfway through the competition, she was booted off the show because the viewers hadn't voted for her.
Sellers need to constantly be aware of anything that could negatively impact their sales efforts. If the right people in the company aren't advocating for your product or service, your ability to win the sale is at risk.
To stay in the game, make sure people are cheering for you.
Katie's note: It's not true that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. Let's face it, even the best new ideas get a negative reaction at first. Unless you can get the right people enthusiastic about your idea, it can easily fail.
"Lack of confidence doesn't sell."
Jennie Garth, actress of Beverly Hills: 90210 fame, came out week-after-week and did a yeoman's job. But she didn't believe she was a dancer and it showed. At times, it felt like she was counting steps or moving tentatively, afraid to really get into the role the dance needed from her. Instead, her niceness showed through – and it cost her.
Making a decision to change from the status quo is risky. Customers worry about what might go wrong or if they'll achieve the desired results. Sellers who are confident in their firm's capabilities often can provide the impetus to move ahead.
To initiate change, know the difference you can make.
Katie's note: If you don't know how your new idea does something new and remarkable, chances are that others won't know either. Great ideas get attention and get people talking. That's why we love them.
So, there are 3 of the 5 connections my mom made on her blog. If you want to read the rest, go here.
You know what the best part about the Dancing with the Stars connections she made?
And that's the other part of innovative thinking that's worth remembering:
Don't get so wrapped up in the serious business of coming up with ideas (or being a sales expert) that you forget to enjoy it!
Creativity is serious business, of course, but people always have better ideas when they're having fun!