Part of motivating others is appealing to their ideals. Another part is animating the vision and breathing life into it. To enlist others, you need to help them see and feel how their interests and aspirations align with the vision. In sales, the classic example of this is the test drive. The reason sellers want car shoppers to get behind the wheel and take it for a spin right away is simple. There’s no better way to see and feel what it would be like to own that vehicle than by driving it.
Without a tangible, test-drivable product, you must paint a compelling picture of the future, one that is so vivid and specific that buyers know exactly what it would be like to live and work in that exciting and uplifting future state. That’s the only way they will be sufficiently motivated to commit their time, energy, and sustained focus to the vision’s realization. Animating the vision makes it so real and meaningful that people will boldly act to do their part in advancing toward it. You may not think of yourself as expressive or emotional enough to paint a word picture that would give people this kind of courage and commitment. You may not see yourself as someone who can speak with genuine conviction about the meaning and purpose of your work with your buyers.
You may think you work with buyers who want facts and figures, minus the fluff. The truth is that everyone is capable of speaking expressively and convincingly, and you do it more often than you realize or appreciate.
When you believe strongly in something, you naturally speak in an impassioned way to communicate what you feel. Your passion brings it to life. Your enthusiasm and expressiveness come from your beliefs. When you unleash your enthusiasm and expressiveness, you muster commitment and courage in others. Don’t underestimate your talents.
Don’t let your talents be diluted, either, by canned sales presentations that are packed full of data and product features. Details derail sales. Buyers want to be stirred into action. American architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham understood this. When he was eulogized by his archrival Frank Lloyd Wright as “an enthusiastic promoter of great construction enterprises,” Wright spoke to Burnham’s sales abilities more than his architectural style, and said, “His powerful personality was supreme.”
This visionary architect didn’t rely on blueprints, sketches, drafts, and plans. Burnham surely had all of those in hand, but he didn’t lead with them. Instead, in describing his “city of the future” master plan for Chicago, he spoke from his heart about what he’d pictured for his hometown. He used imagery, descriptive words, and the interests and dreams of those to whom he was talking to inspire the city’s movers and shakers to support the plan. Sellers in any sector can do the same.
When you weave the emotional connection to what matters most to the buyer together with the logical case for change, you animate the vision. You breathe life into it by making it more concrete. To accomplish this, leaders use symbolic language to create mental pictures and provide something familiar that makes a vision seem more real. They tell stories and share anecdotes to connect the elements of the vision and portray what it will look like as it takes shape. They offer examples and testimonials to draw parallels between something proven in the past and an image of the future. All of this helps buyers, too, to picture the possibilities.