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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Serve and volley - a profitable Wimbledon afterthought - and a reminder that this blog is moving

A while ago I confessed that for my first six years in this business almost all the copy I wrote was rubbish, but I sold it very well.
The best person I know when it comes to face-to-face selling is Andy Bounds. 
He has written a book you will often find on airport bookstalls called The Jelly Effect. Don't be put off because he mentions me at the start. It is a good book, and he tells me he is writing another.
Here's some advice he sent me this morning. It is good.
A powerful technique to help people think differently is to use what I call “serve and volley” – two questions that work as follows:
  1. The serve – a simple question that everyone knows the answer to; and
  2. The volley – a second, related question that provokes people into realising they need to change their mindset
For instance, I recently addressed a conference audience I knew hated networking.  So, I used “serve and volley” with them, asking these two questions:
  1. Do you feel uncomfortable when you are networking?  (90% of the room put their hand up)
  2. Do you think your discomfort is worse than other people’s?  (Again, 90% put their hand up)
I then made the point:  “Well, you can’t all be right.  After all, you can’t all find it worse than everybody else.”  Once people realised their feelings were similar to others, it was easier to improve their confidence, safe in the knowledge that they weren’t the “only one”.
Another example:
  1. Is your product good or bad?  (Everyone says “Good”)
  2. Given how good your product is, do you win as many sales as you should?  (The only answer people give to this is “No”)
Conclusion:  It’s not what you sell that’s the problem; it’s how you sell it.  So, let’s look at how you can win the sales you should be winning.
And another:
  1. Do you hate reading presenters’ wordy slides?  (Everyone says “Yes”)
  2. Do you use wordy slides when you’re presenting?  (If you do, you are doing to others what you hate people doing to you)
Conclusion: you really ought to take some words off your slides!
See how it works?  If so…
  1. Might “Serve and volley” help you change people’s perceptions?
  2. Do you think it’s easy to master, or not? 
Action point
If your answers to these two questions were “Yes”, then “Not”…
… Think of someone’s mindset you want to shift. Then work hard to identify two related questions you can ask to get them to see things differently.
As I mentioned the other day, this blog is moving over to Draytonbird.com - which at the moment looks like a building site.

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