All posts by Julie Hansen

A Good Sales Tip from Breaking Bad: Let the Prospect Connect the Dots

A Good Sales Tip from Breaking Bad: Let the Prospect Connect the Dots

Even if you didn’t get swept up in the Breaking Bad saga, it would have been difficult to miss the powerful hold it had on its audience, the awards it racked up or the place it earned popular culture. Maybe you had to listen to coworkers endlessly dissect each episode every Monday morning, laying out the clues, bragging at their ability to spot them—or more likely miss them—always impressed at how they all came together so perfectly in the end. And they couldn’t wait to do it all again next Sunday. What does Breaking Bad have to do with sales? Wouldn’t you like your customer to be that engaged in your sales conversation or presentation? Imagine having them hang on your every word, discussing the puzzle pieces over coffee with their V.P… As a salesperson, anything capable of capturing an audience’s attention with such fierce loyalty is worth studying, but Read More

7 Quick Acting Tips for Sales Pros

Marlon Brando in The Godfather

Most actors have to audition for every role.  In fact, even Marlon Brando had to audition for his iconic role in The Godfather.  Although he was a very successful actor at that point in his career, there were a lot of qualified actors competing for the part.  He knew he couldn’t go in and do the same thing his fellow actors did  and be guaranteed the part.  So what did he do?  He stuffed cotton balls in his mouth and invented the famous Godfather mumble.  It wasn’t in the script, yet it was so critical to the character that it was written into the  movie. Like an actor, salespeople also must audition for each selling opportunity.  And like Brando, when there’s a lot of competition, when you can name a feature and a competitor has it – or soon will – you must bring something extra to the table to stand out Read More

Gain Instant Credibility in Your Presentation or Demo with the Movie Critic Principle

Using the Movie Critic Principle

Thousands of movie-goers rely on reviews from people they’ve never met to guide them before shelling out hard cash for a movie. We are willing to trust the opinion of a disinterested third-party, whether it’s a website like Flixter or Rotten Tomatoes, or a newspaper or magazine, because they, like us, have no personal stake in the film’s success.  Contrast that to the trust factor we have for someone associated with the movie, like the star or the director.  Their claims that it’s a “must see” or “5 Stars” are usually greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism. This Movie Critic Principle can be applied to give you an immediate shot of credibility when it matters most:  at the critical start of your presentation or demo. By using a third party to introduce you, you can set audience expectations, create anticipation and boost credibility.  Three things that are much more difficult Read More

YOU are The Weakest Link. How to Stop Sabotaging Your Sales.

YOU are the weakest link. Goodbye.

“You are the weakest link!,” the catch-phrase from the BBC’s popular game show, The Weakest Link was sharply followed by the word “Goodbye” from the blunt, no-nonsense host, Anne Robinson. What does this have to do with you or sales? In sales, there are several links in the chain that make up your role as a salesperson. In order to be successful, you often have to pass from one link to the next, shifting roles on demand.   One minute you’re making a cold call, the next you’re negotiating a deal, and next you’re following up with a current customer. It’s like being in a one-person show! What happens when you drop one of the links? The show doesn’t go off very well. In fact, if you’re on The Weakest link, you will hear the world “Goodbye” and be promptly led off stage. In sales, you may also hear “Goodbye”—or worse, Read More

The ONE thing you must change in your Web Presentation

web presentation

Bad news: Your attempts to engage your virtual audience by chatting or polling or drawing on the screen won’t make much of a difference UNLESS, you change this one thing in your web presentation or demo. Ready? Here it is: Adjust Your Style What do I mean by this? You  are (hopefully!) adjusting your content to fit each prospect you speak to, but I bet you haven’t put any thought into adjusting the way you deliver that content to fit the medium. Imagine a stage actor who is used to working in the theater in front of a live audience, suddenly cast in a television show. And instead of adjusting to the new medium, he uses the same movements, vocal style, timing and delivery. What would happen?  The actor BOMBS!  The audience is confused or bored, changes the channel and vows never to watch that show again! Remember the film, Read More

Catch a Cue: The Actor’s Secret to Better Listening in Sales

Catch a Cue: The Actor's Secret to Better Listening in Sales

A lot of what acting is, is paying attention. ~ Robert Redford Just between you and me: Have you ever  jumped in to finish a customer’s sentence because you thought you knew what he was going to say? How about rushing in to address an objection before it’s even fully out of a customer’s mouth?  Have you ever started calculating commission during a conversation that’s going particularly well?  Read on:  These tips for more effective listening in sales are for you! In his book Spin Selling, Neil Rackham proposed that good sellers were not necessarily the best talkers, but instead they were often the best listeners. We all know listening is a critical quality for sales success yet it’s so easy to slip into bad habits or take shortcuts when it comes to listening. Listening shortcuts Shortcuts like selective listening (responding to what we expect to hear) or partial listening (dipping Read More

7 Tips for Using Stories in Sales to Win Business

Forrest Gump and sales

Like a great movie, using stories in sales can make a strong impact on your business audience, differentiate you and your solution and inspire action in a way that delivering information alone simply can not.  On the flip side, a poorly crafted or executed story can cost you credibility, attention and ultimately the sale.  With so much at stake, it pays to learn a proven strategy and powerful tactics for using stories in sales from a $1.8 trillion dollar industry that has been engaging and influencing audience’s for centuries: the movies! A successful movie requires the combined efforts of thousands of people, but at it’s core it comes down to the screenwriter, the director, and the actors.   By applying a few tricks of the trade from these storytelling masters, you can bring your sales story to life for your business audiences in a memorable and compelling way that inspires action. Read More

Tina Fey’s Improv Advice for Salespeople

“Start with a Yes and see where that takes you.” Tina Fey I’m a big Tina Fey fan and her book Bossypants didn’t disappoint. Not only is it a fun, insightful glimpse behind the SNL cameras, it also shines a light one of the cardinal rules of improv that has a lot of application for anyone in sales. Improv for salespeople can be a secret weapon when it comes to overcoming objections and moving the sale forward. Improv for Salespeople : Always say “Yes and.” The essence of the Rule of “Yes and” is that no matter what your partner (prospect) gives you, you say “yes” to them. Example: Tina: Hey Julie, that’s a cute monkey you have there. Me: Yes, he is cute, isn’t he? (Even though I don’t see a monkey.) In other words, I accept it. Do I have to agree with it? No. I don’t even have Read More

5 Reasons your Presentation is Boring

If you’ve been selling for more than a week, you’ve already heard plenty of excuses from buyers: I need to think about it. I can’t afford it. You’re too expensive. The details may vary, but the reason buyers aren’t anteing up typically boils down to this: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn because your presentation is boring. Clark Gable delivered this famous parting line after finally getting fed up with Scarlett O’Hara’s self-absorption. (You can only talk about yourself so much — I don’t care how good you look in a hoop skirt.) So what does that have to do with you? Surely you’re not a self-absorbed sales person…but could you be coming across as one to a prospective buyer? Shifting your conversation from an I-focus to a You-focus in the following ways can put you squarely back in the game: 5 Reasons your presentation is boring:   Read More


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