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How to be an intentional salesperson

Four ways to leverage communication to close the deal


Have you ever had someone apologize to you, and you know darn well they’re not sorry?

But if they said all the right words, how do you know? Perhaps it’s evident in their tone, expression and/or actions. Ultimately it comes down to what their intention is. There’s a distinct difference between having the intention to truly right a wrong and simply trying to get someone off your back. And like you, most people can pick up on the difference.

An intentional salesperson understands that words are just part of the picture. Much of what is communicated to another person comes from the meaning – the intention or subtext -- underneath those words. Intentions influence how you say something and therefore, how people respond to you. Often, your intention speaks louder than the words themselves.

One of the most empowering things I learned as an actor was how to look beyond the words I was saying and make an impact on my audience through the power of intention. In sales, we want to make a strong impact on our audience as well, yet rarely do we think beyond our words or slides. Leveraging the power of intention can be your secret weapon to creating emotional connections, commanding attention and inspiring a change in prospect’s behavior.

“Telling” is a weak intention

Most salespeople don’t consciously think about having an intention, and therefore often fall into the default intentions of “telling” or “informing” when delivering content. How many times a day does someone “tell” you something?  Most of the time it has little impact. This is what actors call a “weak” intention and it has no particular passion or energy that can be transferred to your audience.  It’s simply a delivery of information. There is a much more effective way, and that is choosing and acting on a strong intention.

As Wayne Dyer said, "Our intention creates our reality."

The Power of a Strong Intention

In the performance world, actors consciously choose strong, specific intentions to direct their actions and words and to make a strong impact on their audience. You can do the same. How do you want your prospect to feel after you’re done speaking?  Is it enough for him to feel informed or educated?

Not in a competitive market, it’s not! Those outcomes will rarely get a prospect emotionally committed.  Wouldn’t it be better to have your prospect feel excited? Engaged? Or motivated?  You can use the power of intention to help get them there.

How to leverage the power of intention: 

Decide what impact you want to have on your audience. Do you want to excite or motivate them? Do you need to persuade or challenge them?  Get clear on your intention before your call or presentation.

Practice delivering your message while focusing on the intention you’ve selected.  If you don’t get the results you’re looking for, try another intention. 

Before your meeting or presentation, get your intention clearly in mind. Notice the difference in your energy and how your prospect responds to you when you are intentional.

Want proof? Record yourself as you practice, once before you use an intention, and again after.  You will be struck by how much more engaging your delivery is when you choose and use a strong intention.

Being an intentional salesperson can produce a dramatic and authentic change in your energy and introduce passion and enthusiasm into your delivery, which will in turn, have a dramatic impact on your prospect. 

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Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen, author of Sales Presentations for Dummies, helps sales and business executives craft and deliver winning presentations and demos by applying today’s best practices from business, acting, improv, and storytelling. Julie’s techniques for leveraging proven performance skills in presentations have been adopted by Fortune 500 companies across the globe, including IBM and Oracle, as well as local Colorado companies. Learn more about sales workshops and keynotes at  PerformanceSalesandTraining.com, start a sales conversation at Julie@actingforsales.com  or connect with Julie on LinkedIn.

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