3 Sales Lessons of Movie Legend, John Wayne - 22nd June 2016

Once asked the secret of his acting success, John Wayne replied, ‘Talk low. Talk slow. Don’t say too much”. It’s a great ‘secret’ of sales success too with the third and final tip the best. Let’s consider the first two points first.

“Talk low. Talk slow” is all about making sure the messaging is clear and digestible. I’m not sure that you must always talk ‘low’ but the idea of measured, precise wording implicit in talking low is a good starting point. This should be balanced with the fact that you’ll additionally need to inject your voice with passion and vitality at times (something John Wayne rarely did) but this shouldn’t take you into the classic sales mistake of speaking at 100mph.

Enthusiasm in sales is almost universally a good thing (my favourite definition of sales is the ‘transfer of enthusiasm’). The only danger it carries is speaking with such passion that your speed and talk-time gets out of control and just becomes noise. So, keep the passion, slow the pace (Fifty Shades anyone?!).

Lowly, slowly, we come to the third and most important part: “Don’t say too much”. The temptation, when you have the chance to position your product or service to a potential new client, is to jump in and give them all the information you have, every feature, benefit, case study, statistic and anecdote you can think of. I’ll give them so many reasons to buy that they’ll never be able to say no! This is where salespeople talk people out of buying rather than into it. By sharing so much, you actually complicate the buying decision when you should be simplifying it.

So how can you share without over-sharing?

First, you don’t need to tell people every reason to buy, just the reasons that will satisfy their buying criteria (usually only one or two reasons drive this). How do you know their buying criteria? Ask them!

Second, when you are selling those wonderful benefits, break them into digestible chunks and keep the delivery interactive. Make sense? (see what I did there?!).

Great selling is about many things. When it’s your time to talk, it’s all about choosing your words wisely and using them in a way that engages people, that moves them to action, that helps them make good buying decisions. It’s not just telling them all the information and leaving them to work their way through it all.

Low. Slow. Keep it short. Try it out.