Today, I attended a sales conference conducted by my current company, and the guest speaker was the Chairman of the consulting firm I had worked with for 3 years at the beginning of my career. I was thrilled to meet him today and hear him speak, More thrilled than I used to be hearing him while I was still a part of the consulting firm. The audience was engaged, and the talk was applauded!
What makes consultants succeed in what they do? Is it their skill? Is it their knowledge? Is it their experience? The very simple answer is a straight NO! Well yes, consultants are the subject matter experts, consultants are skilled, consultants have experience – but an average young consultant just doesn’t match an experienced industry professional. So what sets consultants apart, is their excellent ability to communicate, to tell stories, to pull the audience together, and to explain things in the most understandable manner. I learnt this at my first job with the consulting firm I am talking about – the consultant who succeeds isn’t the person who is the most capable or most skilled or most knowledgeable, but the person who communicates the best!
If you are a seller, you need to convince your potential buyer in order to sell your product. This applies to almost anything in life. Many years ago, just after the IIT entrance result had come out, I had asked my dad to buy me a digital portable music player (that it broke in less than a month is a different story). I had to explain my demand, not just with justifiable reasons, but also by giving examples of people I knew who already had such a device. It got tough for me to convince him, but I got it nonetheless as a gift for cracking the exam ;). Nowadays, I apply the same tactics back. Dad asked me to buy a house as an investment, and I was hellbent on making sure that he justifies the demand. The economist-banker’s sense prevailed, and today, 33% of my monthly salary flows out to the loan account the day it arrives in my salary account!
Ability to convince comes with the ability to communicate the right thing, in the simplest of terms, with the most relevant correlations, and a juicy story to weave it all together. Not everyone can convince, else there would have been no bad sales guys, and hence no good sales guys. Leave alone convincing, not everyone can communicate! Of course, had everyone been a great communicator, we wouldn’t have found our not-so beloved Members of Parliament, or our very-much beloved Bollywood movie stars often misquoted in the media.
So long story short, I’ve realised that they way forward for me, is to be more convincing in my discussions. Especially when I am recommending something to someone, or selling my idea! For that, I need to be able to weave a story, I need to be a good story teller!
Have you noted that I haven’t yet made a resolution for 2013? Well, guys, this is it! By the end of this year, I hope to be a better storyteller, a better seller of my ideas, and overall, a better communicator! Oh, and after reading this post, next time we talk, please :( do not argue with me just for the heck of it, even if you believe you can play a part in helping me achieve my resolution! :P