I have a secret. Once you hear my secret, it will not be “my” secret, but “our” secret. It is a secret to sell an idea. My secret is an open secret. I am not trying to hide any thing, I am going to very open about it. My secret is to have a plan. I call it the secret of the six: a plan to sell.
It is very simple even if it seems complicated. There are certain barriers between you and your goal. If you identify the barriers, you can find the tools to overcome them. This will work for everyone because everyone is selling something. Most people don’t know what they are selling.
I remember a meeting with 4-5 other people, representing a cross functional team assembled to address a quality issue with hose assemblies. The issue had been communicated at the close of business the day before. Our VP Operations called the meeting for 7:30 AM the next morning. We were sitting around the table waiting for him to arrive. He walked into the area and asked a simple question…”Who has a plan?”. We all looked around…thinking…That is why we were here… to discuss what needs done. He looked at our blank faces and said, ”Ok, I have one, if no one else does, we will use mine.” He taught me a valuable lesson. If I have a plan…most likely, no one else has one…we will use mine.
1 minute to introduce the topic is to gain some one’s attention + 5 minutes to fully explain yourself = 6 minutes. That is the secret of the six.
Begin at the end. Write your conclusion first. Introduce the Topic and find 3-5 points that logically bring your audience to your conclusion. Think about their objections. Why will they not buy from you? How can you overcome the objections? What prevents them?
The first 1 minute of any discussion should be used to introduce the topic. If you can gain someone’s attention in the first 1 minute, you should be able to deliver your message in 5 minutes. 5 minutes is enough time to get your point across using the following outline.
Gain attention – Introduce the topic. This should be done in a compelling way. Of course, we need to actually have something to say. We are not just trying to get attention for no reason. Asking a question, making a statement: are examples of gaining attention. “I have a secret” was my introduction. Leave them wanting more so they will continue to listen. It should be the very thing that opens the door to the conclusion.
3-5 strong points that support the conclusion –You need to overcome the objections. You need to talk about the steps that it takes to get someone to the conclusion. Each one builds upon the next. A great way to build excitement is take the weakest point first and build until the last one being the strongest reason for someone to buy your idea. Each of these points could have the secret of the six method applied.
Summary or Conclusion of your point and why someone should give you 5 more minutes.
Rinse and Repeat. Each strong point could follow the same method as a subset to the greater conclusion.
1. Introduction to Topic (Gain attention)_____________
3-5 points to support
Summary or Strong conclusion _________________
Have a plan
Have a point
Determine your goal. If you have a point, you can develop a plan to reach the desired goal.
Leave out facts, thoughts, rambles that don’t support the conclusion. Don’t go “off” topic without a purpose.
Now we both have a secret. Next time you sit down and visit with someone. Have you thought out your plan? Are you in on “the secret”? Or are they? You won’t know until you start. Be willing to allow your mind to be changed if you are wrong. You may not understand all of the facts. Be humble. Be kind. Be pleasant…But have a plan.
Feel free to share “our” secret to anyone. If we plan ahead when we talk or sell, we will be more successful and prepared to show our value. Not only will we have something worthwhile to share but it will be worthwhile for people to listen.
Now you know the secret of the six.