Selling the Dream – 3 Lessons for the Sales Force

My wife and I were fortunate enough to be in the opening night audience at the brand new Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts in Worcester Massachusetts.  I saw my first movie in that old building around 45 years ago and later, as a teen, went there after they had turned it into a four screen theater.

The successful restoration project showcased a world-class theater that will attract the shows that were previously held only in Boston, an hour east.  Why am I writing about this in my Blog?  There’s are three lessons here for the sales force.

1) One of the many important speakers who participated on opening night,  Fred Eppinger, the dynamic CEO of The Hanover Insurance Group, shared several compelling reasons as to the significance of the theater and hopes of those behind it.  He possesses the ability to connect with his audience and share the dream, the one that inspired the restoration and led to the reopening as well as the dream for the theater’s future.  His great speech got me thinking that most business leaders don’t work hard enough to come across like that when addressing their salespeople (and other employees too).  You must be able to lead by example and if your example fails to concisely demonstrate your passion for the cause, how can you expect your salespeople to fare any better?  Lesson #1 – You must be able to consistently and effectively articulate the dream and motivate those who you expect to do the same.

2) Opening night featured Bernadette Peters, from Broadway, Movies and Television. She was so spectacular that my wife and I enjoyed her show despite recognizing only about five of her songs.  She had an ongoing dialog with the audience and several times mentioned that she had a home for sale in Florida.  In between songs, she mentioned 200 feet of frontage on the water. During another break she mentioned 5 bedrooms and on yet another break she told us how nice it was.  At the end of her concert she sang a beautiful lullaby, Kramer’s Song, she wrote and recorded as a companion CD to a new children’s book she authored called Broadway Barks.  She closed with, “So please go to, type in Bernadette Peters, and buy my book so I can be a best-selling author.  100% of the proceeds go to my charity for animals.”

It was really pretty clever.  She builds value by talking about her multi-million dollar home, gets us emotionally involved with the lullaby, and then simply asks us to buy her book, to benefit her charity and make her a best-selling author.  Easy sale. Lesson #2 – Make sure your salespeople are selling value, getting their prospects emotionally involved and closing!

3) Both of these stories from the Hanover opening are examples of exceeding expectations.  When a company, vendor, provider, salesperson, sales manager or business leader exceeds your expectations, you will tell somebody, try to get them excited and create buzz.  Lesson #3 – Make sure your salespeople are exceeding their customers’ expectations.  That is the surest, fastest way to generate top quality referrals and introductions to new customers.