I walked into the conference room to find half of the class already there. I wasn’t late. But I was late getting there early. I said “Good morning” with a big smile and from the response I got, I could tell it was going to be a good group of attendees. When the clock hit 8:00 am, I formally welcomed everyone followed by “I know this class is called Selling in the Connection Economy, but we’re not going to talk about sales tactics and techniques today.”
You should have seen the looks on their faces.
As I write this, yesterday was the first workshop I’ve taught classroom-style in over a year. It’s been awhile, especially since I took my business virtual in 2012. It was by far the most fun I’ve had in all my years of presenting and instructing. Hands down. And get this… the attendees learned so much in spite of actually having fun! Well, there’s a concept that works.
When my confidants each separately asked me why it turned out so well, I immediately knew the answer.
I got to be The Shin Kicking Life Spark 100 percent and I gave myself permission to unleash my sassy spunk. In so many words, I was being me at my best and it showed.
I digress for a minute here. Back in 2011, I almost committed brand suicide after being approached by a local university to consider creating a coaching program with the caveat being I abandon my Shin Kicking tagline. I write more about that in a previous post. As you can tell, I said “%&*# no” to that.
While I stood in front of the classroom yesterday, I saw something peculiar happen. Arms were initially folded. Everyone was giving me the “What did I get myself into” look. It wasn’t anything I had done wrong up to that point. They were in a classroom for heaven’s sake! All of those years of sitting in classrooms as students and then in conference rooms as sales professionals really give those four walls a negative connotation.
I knew I had to make their learning experience different than the stodgy sales courses I’ve been forced to go to in the past. I decided to just have a conversation with them. Through the curriculum I developed for the workshop, I knew the selling I would do as an instructor, speaker and coach was not going to happen in the conference room. In the conference room, I was simply building rapport. I was earning their trust. I was demonstrating value.
Let’s not get tripped up on the word selling. When I refer to the term selling in this context, I’m talking about completing the entire sales process. When did I know I had created buy-in with the folks in my workshop yesterday? In the hallway, during the first break, when a few attendees stopped to ask me a more specific question. I responded with additional questions to help them uncover their own answers. The attendee’s response reminded of a scene from the movie Analyze This, “Wow. You’re good. That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to learn some more from you.”
The kicker here? He answered his own question with my help. As Seth Godin says,“People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves.”
I’m happy to report that I received my workshop evaluations and I got mostly 5’s, some 4’s, and only one 2. The one rating of 2 was because the attendee thought the session length was not appropriate. Most of the comments indicated that they didn’t want the 4-hour training to end.
The take away for them and the golden nugget for you today… I can’t reiterate this enough and I won’t stop using Maya Angelou’s quote to bring this point home:
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.