Find Your Inner Zombie: Sales Advice from The Walking Dead


Find your inner zombie

It’s not easy to become a zombie.  Every year thousands of people audition for a chance to play a zombie on TV’s hit series, The Walking Dead.  Once they make it through the initial casting process they are enrolled in “zombie” school (yes, it’s a real thing) where they will learn what it takes to play the undead and make a chance at the final cut.  One of the director’s told the wannabe-zombies to avoid doing the same old arms out in front, stereotypical Frankenstein-type zombie.  In other words, don’t just copy what everyone else is doing, make something your own.  His final words of advice: “You have to find your inner zombie.” In a similar fashion, when you’re competing for a coveted piece of business from a variety of vendors, you can’t go in and do the same thing everyone else does or simply copy a brilliant presentation that Read More

An Actor’s Secret for Getting in a Selling State of Mind


Will Smith - An actor's secret for getting in a selling state of mind

“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.” Will Smith It’s no secret that a focused and positive mindset in sales creates focused and positive results. Learning how to let go of negativity and get in an ideal state of mind greatly increases your potential for getting appointments, negotiating and closing business—and it feels a heck of a lot better!  But just how do you do it — especially when you’re having one of those days?  You know the days I’m talking about: you left your phone on the train, spilled coffee on your new shirt or banged up the car pulling out of the garage.  It happens to all of us.  Especially on those days, it’s critical that you take a few minutes to get your mind focused and clear. Here are some quick tips Read More

How to apply the Challenger Sale…when you’re not a challenger


Apply the challenger sale

“I don’t accept the status quo. I do accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.” Stephen Colbert I’m a fan of The Challenger Sale – despite the fact that the book came out the same year as mine (2011) and promptly soared past me. If you’re not familiar with the book or the premise, authors Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson identified 5 types of sellers: The Relationship-Builder, The Hard Worker, The Lone Wolf, The Reactive Problem Solver and, of course, The Challenger. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that they believe Challengers to be uniquely poised for success in today’s marketplace. Why? Because Challengers enter each business opportunity with a deep understanding of their client’s business, tailor messaging to each role and are not afraid to question, yes, even challenge a customer’s beliefs. All of which makes sense especially when many of us work with customers who are Read More

Screenwriting Tips for Sellers: 5 Elements you Must Have to Move a Prospect to Action


Screenwriting Tips for Sellers: 5 Elements you Must Have to Move a Prospect to Action

Like a well-crafted movie or television show, a successful salesperson must grab a prospect’s attention, pique their interest and establish an emotional connection in order to move them to action.  Screenwriters know that there are 5 dramatic elements that must be present in order to engage and move audiences.  Make sure you can identify these 5 dramatic elements in your own sales conversations or presentations if you want to engage and move today’s busy prospects as well: 1. Interest We’ve all met the prospect who lets us get through our entire presentation, only to announce “I’m not really looking for anything right now,” or “My business is just fine as it is.” Have we met the one person in the world who has no needs or desires? I doubt it.  Even where nothing seems to be at stake, like Seinfeld (the “show about nothing”) the characters are obsessed with any Read More

How to Own the Stage with your Presentation or Demo


own the stage

Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage,” and no where is this more true in business than when you delivering a sales presentation or a product demo.  Whether your stage is a computer screen or a conference room, you must own the stage –  in other words, earn and hold your prospect’s attention with complete conviction and confidence –  if you want to make a lasting impression or move them to take action. As an actor I learned some simple techniques for helping to increase my presence and ability to connect with an audience that are extremely valuable as a salesperson. Here are a five in particular that can help you own the sales stage with great confidence and presence during a sales presentation, a meeting or a demonstration. 5 Ways to Own the Stage  Understand bigger is not always better When I ask salespeople to own the stage,  their Read More

Take me to your leader. Enlisting the help of gatekeepers to get in front of decision-makers


Take me to your leader. Enlisting the help of gatekeepers to get in front of decision-makers

The odds of reaching a decision-maker on your first attempt can be greater than hitting the winning lottery numbers. Chances are you will either 1) end up in voice mail, or 2) speak to someone who will politely inform you that the decision-maker is unavailable but will take a message for them – or put you directly into their voice mail.  If your knee jerk reaction is to opt for going directly to voice mail, slow down. You may be missing a prime opportunity to improve your odds of getting in front of them by rushing past the gatekeeper. Don’t shoot the Gatekeeper! Although it may seem like the gatekeeper’s primary job is to keep you out, they can be your ally. If­ you learn how to enlist their help. It’s important to recognize that the gatekeeper plays an important role in an organization by helping the executive focus on Read More

How to Break Out of “Presenter Mode”


How to Break Out of "Presenter Mode"

                                                                                                                  Illustration courtesy of 24Slides.com In business, most people (and salespeople are no exception) don’t speak with as much energy or personality as they do in their personal lives. They tend to flatten or smooth things out and tamp down the good and the bad news alike. Telling a prospect you’re going to save them a million dollars is delivered with the same enthusiasm as telling them they can get their parking validated. Sometimes I can actually see the switch flip off on otherwise perfectly engaging salespeople as their tone and manner shift into something more suitable for NPR. Why is this a problem? Operating in what I call “presenter mode” eliminates valuable opportunities to engage and connect with your audience. It puts you at risk for sounding like everyone else and having your message blurred as well. How do you break out of presenter mode? Here are Read More

Make Your Sales Script Sound Authentic with These Acting Tips


Workign with a script

The most common question I was asked when I was working as a professional actor was this: “How do you memorize all of those lines?” But the tougher question is really, “How do you take a script and make other people’s words sound like your own…performance after performance?” Making a script sound authentic is a challenge for both actors and for salespeople, but at least actors have the advantage of learning techniques for taking the words “off the page” and bringing them to life. Sellers, on the other hand, are often given a sales script instructed to memorize it and hit the phones or the streets running. No wonder many salespeople feel as uncomfortable as if they’ve been asked to recite  Shakespeare for the first time.  In fact, many sellers dislike working with sales scripts so much they end up chucking them entirely. While improvising works for some, for others their Read More

Sales Presentation Role Play: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – #1 The Opening

If  you’re having trouble closing…it could be your presentation opening!   If you don’t gain your audience’s attention initially and establish credibility, they’re not going to hear your great benefits, your value proposition or your super close!

In this video I role-play how a typical presentation opens.  Take a moment to watch.

What did you think?  I think I wasted a good 20 seconds of my audience’s time and lost some credibility… People have increasingly short attention spans and little patience for a lot of introductory fluff.  You have a precious few seconds to grab your listener’s attention and draw them in.   Don’t waste it

What’s the solution?

  1. Cut to the chase. Invest some time crafting a short, compelling opening that quickly delivers value and practice it until it shines. Having a rehearsed opening in your back pocket will give you a powerful boost of confidence and set the tone for the rest of your presentation.
  2. Eliminate the long intro’s, the thank you’s, the corporate overview /logo slide.
  3. Get more new ideas on powerful openings, here.

How did I start this video?  I jumped right in. Were you thinking, wow, I wish she’d tell us more about herself or her company?!  I doubt it.  Don’t open your presentation like everybody else if you want to make an impact and be remembered!

And, a good opening will make your closing much more effective!

 

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Performance Sales and Training: Persuasive Presentation Skills to meet the challenges of today’s B2B Sales Environment