I’m never shy when it comes to approaching celebrities.
Sometimes they respond with haughty self-importance and let you know you’re asking something from them. (Read, bad salesperson.)
Sometimes they genuinely smile and appreciate you initiating a conversation as equals. (Good salesperson. After all, even as a celebrity, why not keep an admiring fan?)
Last night I had the wonderfully good fortune of seeing that Nadeschkin was among the guests at our wonderfully successful TEDxZug event.
Nadeschkin is a superstar in Switzerland and much of Central Europe with her duo “Ursus & Nadeschkin.” The duo has also had success in London, New York et al.
So there she was, mingling with the other guests during the intermission at TEDxZug. No yellow overalls as she’s seen on-stage. Just looking urban hip in a leather jacket and jeans, wild hair toned down a touch, and that irresistible big-eyed smile.
I didn’t hesitate. Immediately we were having an easy, warm chat… as equals.
And I got right to a big question about her (which doesn’t hurt in networking, either).
“Your performances appear… spontaneous and easy. But I bet you prepare and rehearse exhaustively. Am I right?”
“Absolutely,” Nadeschkin smiled, albeit with an expression of exasperation reflecting the work it really is. “We prepare, go through it, re-work it, and when it feels good, we rehearse… and rehearse… and… yeah.”
A number of things bring Ursus & Nadeschkin success, I believe. Their material is unique and, of course, excellent. (Content.) Their style is consistent, even though you can expect the unexpected. (Branding.) Their performances are fast-paced and “all over the place,” and they pull it off without a hitch. (Preparation.)
And sometimes I sense they stray from their schtick, whether in response to their audience or the situation, but they do it coolly and seemlessly. (Situational flexibility.)
How does this relate to Selling in the Brave New World?
“Preparation may not get you compliments, but it does get you results.”
Sure, Nadeschkin probably gets compliments. She’s a celebrity. (And an equal!) But those compliments only happen because she and Ursus get results! Preparation is central to their success because, as Vidal Sassoon once said, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
So here’s the WIIFM…
… the “what’s in it for me (us),” the benefits of preparing:
The obvious one is, preparation helps you deliver smoothly, whether it’s a presentation, a pitch or an early meeting with a prospect.
But a meeting can get interrupted, with objections, or curious questions, or whatever. And therein lies the most under-rated benefit of preparation… for both performers and salespeople.
As Nadeschkin says, “When you’re prepared, you’re not stiff. You’re loose.
“When you’re prepared, you can really focus on the audience, and not worry about your material. You can feel the audience. You can respond to the audience… without worrying about finding your way back to your material.”
It’s not about celebrity status. It’s about results. Preparing for a meeting with a prospect, rehearsing a pitch, getting mega-comfortable with your material… makes you more attuned to your audience… and confident with yourself. You can focus on… the customer.
And then you can genuinely smile… like Nadeschkin.
Photo by Geri Born, Zurich. http://www.ursusnadeschkin.ch/e/download.php