How to Speak to Sell

If you’re an entrepreneur – particularly a coach or consultant – you have probably heard that speaking to groups is the best way to boost your profile, command more income and get more clients.

This is all true. What you may not have realized however, is that speaking about your business is really like having a sales conversation. In this case, a conversation with a group rather than an individual.

The challenge to speaking to a group is that the individuals within the group may have somewhat different needs. But that being said, several sales rules still apply. Here are four important ones to keep in mind.

  1. People don’t like being sold to.

Most people love new cars but hate going to the car dealership because they feel intimidated by the sales process.  The same thing happens when when people see a speaker at an event. They may like your topic or idea, but if all you do is try to sell them they will soon be put off and stop listening.

You need to make any talk educational. That means you need to provide some real insight into a particular problem.  What problem is that you ask? It’s the problem that you solve for your clients.

For example, as a speak to sell expert, I solve the problem of how entrepreneurs can get more clients more quickly.

Every business exists to solve some sort of problem.

You have to identify the problem first, then provide insight into how to solve that problem.

Insight means deep understanding. You need to give your audience a new or deeper way to look at their problem, and then give them a roadmap to solve it.

Providing this type of insight has become the best way to generate sales. It’s a lot more effective that simply telling them how great you are.

  1. People will have objections.

Sales rule #2 is that your prospective customers will always have objections. These objections could be related to how much your service is worth, or simply if your solution will work for them.

It’s important that you know the most common objections people have to buying your service or product, and find some way of addressing those objections in your talk. If you can address their objections in a way that’s educational and objective, they’re going to be much more likely to take action with you.

  1. Emotional connection is key.

Great sales people understand that buying is an emotional decision, not a logical one.  After a certain point, the more information you give your prospective customer, the less likely they are to buy as they will start to feel confused or overwhelmed.

Notice I said feel. Yes, those human emotions are a big part of the sales process. If people feel confused, overwhelmed, or uncertain they just won’t buy.

People need to feel confident that they’re making the right decision.  And that means having the right information, not just a bunch of facts and statistics.

How do you do this? By connecting your key information to true life stories. These stories should involve people. People who are feeling the same emotions that your prospective customer is feeling right now.

For greatest impact, some of these stories should involve YOU – the sales person.  This shows that you understand your prospective clients’ feelings and the importance of their decision.

You will also want to include stories about how you’ve helped other clients in similar situations. Again, it’s not just about the facts but also feelings. How did these clients feel before working with you? How did they feel afterwards when they got the result they wanted?

Treat people like the emotional beings they are – and they’ll respond to you. It’s about respecting human nature.

  1. You need them to take one step.

This last tip is obvious, but is sometimes forgotten when sales people speak to a group.

A good sales person doesn’t try to sell five things at once. A good speaker doesn’t either.  It’s always a challenge to get any prospect to take any kind of action, so the best way to approach most sales is through a series of steps.  The same applies when you speak to sell.

You have to ask yourself – what is the one next step I want my prospective clients in the audience to take? In most instances, it’s getting them to commit to a one-on-one sales conversation.

Create your talk with that in mind. Have a simple call to action at the end of your talk that will allow that one on one conversation to take place.

The simpler and easier you make it for people, the more likely they are to do it. Don’t ask them to call you – get their contact information and a promise to call them.  The customer shouldn’t have to chase you to buy your product or service.



Jason Reid helps entrepreneurs get more clients more quickly by showing them how to speak about their business.

Before becoming a Speak to Sell Expert, Jason spent decades as a TV journalist and award-winning story editor.

You can check him out at

Posted in Sales Leader

The Sales Letter: A Marketing Technique That Gets Results

With all the chatter about social media as the marketing method, you might think that traditional print methods to attract business are dead.

Not true.

According to Statista, an online statistics portal, direct mail marketing accounted for some $44.5 billion in spending for 2014 in the United States alone.

And one of the main components of direct mail is the sales letter.

Whether you plan on using a multi-dimensional direct mail package or a simple envelope here’s a way to structure that humble sales letter and get results.

It’s called AIDA.

AIDA stands for: A – Attention, I – Interest, D – Desire, A – Action.

Gain Attention (A). A good way to begin a sales letter is with a catchy headline or a short provocative opening paragraph to grab your prospect’s attention.

A classic headline that sold many books for its author was Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” How’s that for an irresistible headline? Who wouldn’t want to gain more friends and have more influence, except maybe a hermit?

As an alternative, that headline might have been used as part of an opening paragraph. Something like this:

“Have you ever wondered how you could win more friends and influence people? I know I have and here’s how you can …”

Another approach is to empathize with the prospect’s problem. And what is their problem exactly?

Are they troubled about the high cost of their Hydro Bill? Do they want to know how to organize their time better? Where to buy investment products? Whatever it is, you need to ask yourself – what is the prospect looking for?

Gain Interest (I). Now that you have the prospects attention, you have to keep their attention and gain their interest with something specific. An easy way to do this is continue where you left off at the Attention stage by proposing a solution. Yes, you do have a way for them to win friends and influence people, or a way to reduce the high cost of their Hydro Bill.

You do have the solution to their problem – so now’s the time to spell it out for them.

Create Desire (D). If the prospect has reached this stage of your letter, you’ve likely got a solid prospect or even a potential sale. You can further cement this relationship by clearly stating the offer and make it as attractive as possible.

How much will it cost them? Do they get to try it out for so many days? Is there a guarantee? For example, “try our new database software and if you don’t agree it’s what you’ve been waiting for … return it to us for a full refund, no questions asked.”

It’s also a good idea to highlight the benefits. Remember people buy benefits, not features. What’s the difference? Features are the specific details about a product or service. They tell the prospect what it is or what it does. The benefits are what prospects really get from it. In other words, what the product or service actually does for them specifically. In other words, benefits are the reasons why people actually buy.

For example, you choose a particular RRSP because a fund company has an enviable track record of outperforming the competition. The brochure spells out the specific features about the fund: historical rates of return, types of companies that make up the portfolio mix and so forth. But that isn’t what you’re interested in buying is it? What you’re really buying is the security and the peace of mind that comes from that purchase in the hope of a more comfortable retirement.

A benefit answers the question, ‘what’s in it for me?’

And while there are likely many benefits, make a point of focusing in on the key ones. Remember the prospect is in a hurry!

Call to Action (A). In all sales, the key is asking for the order or telling the prospect what to do next. So what do you want them to do? Call or clip and mail a coupon for more information? Pull out their cheque book or credit card now and place their order? Again, always ask them to take the next step and ask them as clearly and simply as possible. And make it easy for them!

To improve your sales chances even further try using a P.S.

Research shows that the P.S. at the bottom of a sales letter is one of the most read parts of any sales letter. One good way of using the P.S. is to restate the offer.

For example, “Order today and receive not only your first book in the Diamond Book Club at 75% off the regular bookstore price, but accept a bonus CD of classical musical masterpieces at no extra cost to you.”

AIDA is an old sales letter technique, but it’s still a good one because it works. It’s not hard to do; after all we’ve all written many letters, and writing a sales letter really isn’t all that different.

Kevin Short is a freelance copywriter specializing in the education, training and development industries. He can be reached at 905.389.1007 or through his website at


Posted in Sales Leader Tagged with: , ,

Sales & Social Media

“How do I get leads on social media?” Better yet, “if I don’t really like the idea of sales, can I get clients and customers on social media?” If you’ve worked with Claudia Adair, founder of Transform & Perform Coaching & Consulting, then you’re familiar with a more authentic approach to sales. It doesn’t feel like you’re selling when you’re genuinely helping someone reach their goals.

How does this translate to social media? You need to be clear on the need you meet for your audience to create a great sales strategy. On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, that clarity is the start of sustainable community on social media.

Sound Social Media Strategy

A simple yet solid social media strategy covers your:

  • Goals, rooted in your business strategy
  • Audience, those who most need, value and invest in you
  • Tactics, based on your audience’s engagement style
  • Content strategy, at least your content calendar and key sources

but even the most effective strategy works best with your authentic voice. People connect with people.

Sales through Authenticity Online

I always say entrepreneurs have a unique advantage on social media that big brands don’t – they still get to connect and relate as individuals, as people.

Big brands can certainly say “good morning”, express sympathy and say “contact us” when they have solutions for followers, but solo entrepreneurs and small business owners can genuinely:

  • Add personal anecdotes to your “good morning” posts
  • Express genuine sympathy when individual followers share personal woes, and
  • Most importantly, say “inbox me” when followers or prospects express immediate needs

In Their Shoes

Turn the tables. Who do you relate best to on social media? If you have a pressing need, who would be easiest to relate to? Just some food for thought. [300 words]

Author, Crystal-Marie Sealy, MBA

Crystal-Marie Sealy, MBA, is the president, founder and strategy consultant at Successiory (Inc), a boutique social media consulting firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Driven by her passion to empower others to do more and earn more so they have time to live life, Crystal-Marie has developed the E.A.S.Y. Social Media Strategy Program. A 5-week course dedicated to empowering service-based entrepreneurs to create meaningful social media community that fits their busy schedules, she also saves clients at least 520 hours a year.

Successiory also offers annual networking workshops, social media management for those who’ve completed the strategy program and consulting services on retainer. | Successiory e-news | Upcoming Workshops in Toronto




Posted in Sales Leader


Creating your “Signature Selling Style!”

After I graduated from university I landed a respectable job as a trainer in the banking industry. As I settled into my first career I noticed, that wherever I was, sales people stood out. They always seemed to be having fun. They seemed so free – I wanted that too. Read more ›

Posted in Sales Leader Tagged with: , ,


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My decision to call Claudia for help with the sales side of my business is by far the best one I have made since becoming an entrepreneur.  In the few months we have been working together I have seen a measurable increase in both sales numbers and ROI, but also in the number of “yes” responses our pitches receive. Far from being an uncomfortable, necessary evil to gain new clients, sales has become a natural, organic process that is actually enjoyable.  Clear, actionable advice and invaluable, relevant tools have taken us to the next level, thanks Claudia!
Anastasia Antonakis, Principal at Incite Creative Media House