Who could argue that we live in a world dominated by information, and that this endless data rests literally at our fingertips? Nobody with any sense. You might think that having the best computing devices and the most knowledge in today’s business world must be the most important key to success in sales, but that’s just not the case. Good old-fashioned enthusiasm is still the undisputed champ. Put that phone on silent, give me five minutes, and I’ll show you why and how.
Think about it in everyday terms. If you haven’t seen someone in a while and they walk into the room kind of distracted when they greet you, how does that make you feel? How does that make you feel compared when they bound across the room with a wide smil
e to see you? Sales is the same experience as meeting up with an old friend. If you can’t get the other person feeling excited to be in your presence, your chances of having a good time are next to zero.
In fact, enthusiasm is more important even than saying the right thing. This point always makes me think of my dad. When I was a kid, every time one of my friends came over, Dad would holler his name with such enthusiasm that we’d all smile and laugh. It didn’t matter that he often got the names wrong. He’d call Chris “Chuck” and Sean “Shane,” but none of that mattered because his enthusiasm was so infectious and sincere that it would always make Chris/Chuck and Sean/Shane walk away a little taller than they walked in.
Remember, though, that it’s not enough just to be enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm must be sincere. There’s a huge difference between enthusiasm and excitement. Excitement can come from adrenaline, like you get from a roller coaster ride. Or a nervous sort of energy that suggests a lack of confidence. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, is a sincere drive and passion that you carry within yourself and about yourself—one that you can share with other people; one that lasts long after you leave the room. It doesn’t matter how convincing your argument is if you aren’t passionate about it.
I’m living proof of that fact. I have this thick Texas drawl, and talk so fast it’s hard for most people to keep up. Sometimes the people I’m trying to sell something to can’t even understand the words I’m saying. But you know what? I manage to secure the sales anyway because my enthusiasm carries the day. They might not be able to understand me, but they can see that I’m passionate and enthusiastic about what I’m selling. Just as importantly, they can see that I feel that same way about myself and the person I’m speaking to with. That real, authentic enthusiasm carries so much weight in anything you do.
As your reward for reading this far, I’m going to share the ultimate secret about enthusiasm. When selling, one must sincerely believe that he can benefit the person with whom he’s speaking. In other words, your enthusiasm must be real and powerful enough to overcome their built-in resistance to being sold. You also must believe in yourself because, more than anything, what you’re really selling is you. This is hard to do if you’re not used to it. It’s so easy to be negative and lose that fire because people get so caught up in the everyday drudgery.
Let’s look at the classic sales scenario. You walk in to a prospect’s office and ask, “How are things going?” Nine times out of ten they respond with a ho-hum comment like, “Good.” Since you’re a salesman, most people will be guarded. At this point, you have a choice: meekly accept their obvious defense, or try to break through that wall with an honest and enthusiastic follow-up question aimed at showing them you can benefit their business. Maybe they won’t break down the wall that first time, but they’ll remember you. The next time you roll in, you’ll hear about how their day is really going. Why? People want to talk to people who are excited to listen. In the end, unless you can get them thinking honestly about the things they need and the things they want, you’re dead in the water. If you just let them tell you their day has been “good” without that follow-up, you won’t go anywhere.
You must want it. You must believe in the product. You must believe in yourself. And you have to show with great and authentic enthusiasm that these things are true. Now, let’s bring it back full circle, and conclude with a reminder about information: In any setting, the people you meet are liable to forget most of the things you said, but what they will never forget is how you made them feel. Think about my dad shouting “Chuck” at a kid named Chris. Make everyone you talk to feel good and excited about your product, themselves, and what you’re doing, and your enthusiasm will produce the results you seek.
-Michael Ray Newman