Selling Tips From a Priest’s Sermon

Selling bears quite a resemblance to a sermon.

A recent sermon at a special Catholic mass, brought this message home
clearly and loudly.

Let me give you a few details of the event that related to selling.

This special mass celebrated the first Holy Communion for excited and
proud 8 year olds. It also was a big deal for the excited and proud parents.

This mass was also special because two past parishioners from the congregation
had returned to help the Communicants (those celebrating their first Holy Communion)
celebrate this important time in their young Catholic lives.

The guests happened to be brothers, both of whom were priests. The older brother
had also reached the exalted position of Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
If you saw the Tom Hanks movie, “Angels and Demons,” you might remember that
the Cardinals were the elite group designated to select a new Pope.

Being a Cardinal is a big deal in the Catholic Church.

With these details as a background, see if you can tell how they relate to selling.

The pastor, in planning a celebration of the Mass, elected to do the following.

First, he had the older brother, not the Cardinal, assist in the Mass. The Cardinal sat
in a chair opposite the pulpit so that he was neither facing the altar nor facing the
congregation. The Cardinal did not say one word during the entire proceedings.

The pastor’s sermon addressed the congregation, reminding them of how important
receiving first Holy Communion was. He addressed the parents with a message to have
them encourage their children to consider a religious life. The rest of the sermon rambled
on about a few other religious concepts that clearly bored the Cardinal and his brother.

All of this, while reading his content from behind the pulpit. Granted, at least he looked
at the congregation when he had finished a sentence or knew the next point he was going
 to mention. He even looked at the communicants once or twice.

I’m guessing by now you have figured out the connection between the priest’s sermon and selling.

The Point

First, the priest missed the point entirely. Nothing he said related to, sparked interest in, or
was even vaguely remembered by what should have been his primary audience, the kids.

Everything he read that day was meant to impress the Cardinal and his brother.

The priest missed the point entirely.

Many salespeople, company owners, and even some marketing gurus miss the point in
their sales efforts when they focus on their products, services, profiles, prices, and other
company brag points.

Successful selling focuses on the clients’ wants, needs, desires, and expectations.
Your presentations need to clearly detail your ability to recognize, solve, and uniquely
satisfy the client’s situation.

You must clearly display  your understanding of what keeps your clients up at night, what
they see as the solutions to their problems, and how they will feel when you exceed their e

The  Focus

The priest might have succeeded in impressing the Cardinal had he not lost focus. As a
matter of fact, he could have impressed the Cardinal, his brother, the congregation, the
proud parents, and the Communicants, if he had focused on what should have been his
primary audience.

First Holy Communion is the most important religious event for Catholic elementary
school-aged kids. This is their big day. It’s a big day for the parents.

Every word the priest said, should have related to, focused on, and engaged these kids.

Rather than reading to them from behind his position of power, he should have abandoned
the security of his fortress and left the altar to walk among the kids. He should have engaged,
entertained, and educated these very impressionable minds.

He should have talked to them in their language, told stories they could relate to, and do
anything he could to make this a positive, memorable day.

Instead, he left his flock to wander aimlessly in the pasture of abstract religious detail.

Your focus when you sell should always be on the client. Your focus should not be on
your products, services, profiles, locations, or satisfied clients. Yes, they may be important,
but they should not be the focus of the presentation. You need to focus on how your approach
solves problems for them, saves them money, or saves them time.

What you have done successfully for another client does not necessarily translate into something
you can successfully do for this particular client. You have to focus on what you can do for this client
and how that will benefit your client in ways your competitors cannot.

The Approach

The pastor had a perfect chance to score big points on many fronts that day.

He could have made a big deal about having the two former parishioners as guests out on this
special day. All he did was to mention why these two strangers were present. He did not tie
their visit to the importance of the day.

He could have had the Cardinal deliver the sermon.

I guarantee the Cardinal would not have delivered it at the congregation from the pulpit.
I guarantee he would have focused on the kids and talked their language.

And, the pastor could have asked the Cardinal to administer Holy Communion to the
Communicants as a special honor. The pastor reserved this honor for himself.

These kids see the pastor every Sunday.

Few Catholics ever meet a Cardinal.

What a blown chance to give these kids something to remember the rest of their lives!

The pastor administered Holy Communion to the communicants first.

Then he invited the two brothers to help when the kids were done.

When he had administered  Holy Communion to the last Communicant, the priest
should have, at that time, asked the congregation to give the Communicants and
their parent a big round of congratulatory applause. That did not happen.

So, the question becomes, how do you approach your selling efforts?

Do you tell your clients everything your products and services can do, or, do you spend the time
to discover applications and problems that specific aspects of your product can address.

Make the benefits to the clients your primary message, not the capabilities of your product.

Your wares may do 20 wonderful things. That’s impressive.

But can any of them solve your client’s major problem or concern?

The message: Leave egos, quotas, and fabulous features at the door. Impress your clients
with understanding, solutions, and value.

Selling in person requires one set of skills. Selling on paper or the internet requires another.