You might be thinking what does Spartacus and winning sales have to do with each other?
Well, I was watching the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie the other day, and when it got to the famous scene where Crassus asks the slaves to identify Spartacus, and one by one they all stand forward and shout “I’m Spartacus!”, I started thinking about what had just happened in the movie.
Because all the slaves had stood forward and all said the same thing, Crassus had no idea how to identify Spartacus from the rest of the crowd. Without standing out in the crowd, he just faded into the background.
Now, I know we don’t live in Roman times anymore, but if you are in business, you do need to stand out from the crowd – the crowd being your competition. If you don’t stand out from your competition, why should your customers buy from you and not your competition?
What do you do to get noticed and stand out from your competition? Look at your business, and ask yourself What makes me different?
We all want to be liked – it’s a human condition – but sometimes we can’t always be everyone’s cup of tea. Trying to be all things to all people can lead to you sitting on the fence too much and diluting your opinion, adn what makes you different.
Your opinion is part of what makes you what you are, so don’t ever lose it! If you’ve got a strong opinion on the subject of your business then voice it.
It is what you believe, so if you say it enough other people will believe you and start to believe you can help them. There will be some who don’t agree with your opinion – well, that’s fine; don’t alter yours to bend to theirs. Otherwise you’re just becoming part of the crowd, and no-one will remember you.
You need to stand out, otherwise all you’ve got to differentiate yourself is being cheaper than the competition – and that’s a game you will always end up losing!
Think about other people in business that you admire (not necessarily like) what is it that you admire? What sets them apart from the competition?
What is their Spartacus Effect?
I met someone the other day that had recently seen my old business colleague Andy Bounds (business communications guru) speaking at a conference. I asked him what he remembered from the talk and he said Andy has a blind mother.
I know many people who remember Andy because he has a blind Mum and is partially blind himself – that is his Spartacus Effect, part of what sets him apart from his competition.
I was recently chatting to Brad Burton (founder and MD of 4Networking) and he was dressed exactly how he looks on the cover of his book and in every photograph I’ve seen of him – jeans, T-shirt and trainers. That’s Brad’s Spartacus Effect – the every-man for people who don’t like traditional networking. Like him or loath him (and Brad really is Marmite!) you certainly won’t forget him. He stands out in the crowd.
My Spartacus Effect is partly how I look too.
I’m a 6’ 3”, 290 pound, former rugby player. I have a shaved head and a goatee beard. I look more like a door-man (which I used to be) than a business consultant. I certainly don’t look like I’ve worked in and around sales for the last 20 years, and I definitely look bad in a tie!
I also hate selling, yet have been successful in sales and sales development for over 2 decades! Why? Well, if you have read my blogs and book you’ll know why.
But this is my Spartacus Effect – I’m not liked by everyone (nor would I want to be) but my blogs attract plenty of comments, ranging from I LOVE THEM to I HATE THEM and very little in-between.
I stand by my opinion on what increases sales, and that is why I put together my book. I believe in my advice and know that it works.
That is exactly what you need to do with your business – work out your Spartacus Effect and be proud of it. Don’t change it, don’t dilute it and never make excuses for it.
It is what will make you stand out from your competition and help you win more sales - remember I’m Spartacus!