Category Archives: Acting tips

Presentations Lack Energy? Let Your Bad Actor Out!


Stallone and Arnold

Many salespeople don’t speak with as much energy or personality in business as they do in their personal lives—we tend to flatten things out, pull them in, tone them down.  Why?  Because they’ve been conditioned to go into “business mode.”  What’s business mode, you ask?  Think of the soothing voice of an NPR host, a golf announcer or a flight attendant.  The very intent of business mode is not to rile, disrupt or stand out.  It’s background noise.  Our clients and prospects have dozens of people every day droning on to them in business mode.  When you’re in business mode you blend in with the crowd – no matter how exciting or innovative your offering.  In business mode you do not stand out.  And to not stand out as a presenter means you are relying on your product or service to make the sale. So how do you break out Read More

Tom Hanks, Credibility and Sales


Tom Hanks and Sales Credibility

Describe a film as a “Tom Hanks movie” and everyone knows what to expect:  A highly likable, regular guy who gets caught in extraordinary circumstances but rises to the top due to his true good character. It’s this credibility that has landed Tom Hanks at the top of the list of “Most Trustworthy People in America,” according to Readers Digest and Forbes. The credibility of the Tom Hanks brand translates to big bucks for the actor and the projects he’s associated with.  Sales credibility and the power of your brand translates into dollars for you and your organization as well.  So it’s good to do a gut check and ask: “How is my sales credibility?” Credibility is incredibly important and difficult to quickly gain in sales. When trust is low, as it is at the beginning of most salesperson-buyer relationships, your every statement is subject to scrutiny and skepticism. So Read More

5 Proven Acting Tips for More Confident Presentations


Confident presentations

“Show confidence!” This was one of the least helpful pieces of advice I received before delivering my first sales presentation.  Not only did it lack practical tactics or steps, I didn’t want to just appear confident.  I wanted to feel confident. Confidence is vital in sales. Prospects want to feel like they are making the best possible decision and placing their business and trust with a credible partner. A lack of confidence on the part of a presenter can quickly call that trust into question and give prospects reason to choose another vendor, especially when all things are equal. I learned more about delivering confident presentations from my training as an actor than from any sales training I’d received. The acting tips below are tactical and proven to work in a craft that knows what it takes to appear – and ultimately feel – confident in front of an audience Read More

Beware the Sales Zombie: Lessons from The Walking Dead


zombies

For most audiences, it’s hard to distinguish one zombie from the next. While the on-screen zombies may exhibit varying degrees of decay or gore, the dead eyes and extended arms as they lumber towards their prey is replicated over and over.  Rarely does an individual zombie stand out or receive credit for his performance.  In the eyes of the audience and the director, they are merely scenery.  In fact, like most show extras, they are often referred to as “background.” A salesperson is in danger of being part of the background as well when they follow the crowd or continue to do things the way they’ve always been done in their presentations or conversations.  Turning into a sales zombie is a real danger as blending in with everyone else makes it difficult for prospects to differentiate you from the competition, much less buy your product or service.  So how can Read More

5 Sales Role-Play Tips for Success from the Theater


Sales Role-play

Sales Reps hate to role-play. But you knew that, right?  Done well, role-play can be an exceptionally powerful tool in helping sales reps master communication skills and navigate many  changes in products, customers, and competition they continually face.  Unfortunately, approaching it with a gallows-like resolve as most sales reps do, limits the opportunity to get the real transformative benefits that role-play can produce.  What Sales Role-play Tips can help? Look no farther than your local theater.  Stages across the world consistently churn out winning performances using role-play as their primary tool.  Applying a few fundamentals from the theater to your sales role-play will greatly increase your sales reps’ understanding and confidence in the process and provide them with valuable insights they can apply immediately in the field. 5 Sales Role-play Tips for Success from the Theater: Clarify expectations.  Making sure everyone is clear about the goal of the role-play is key.  Keep Read More

Can you handle the truth? A sales lesson from actors on taking feedback


Hardly anyone likes being told that the way they’re doing something isn’t working.  For salespeople and performers alike, there’s a certain vulnerability that comes with stepping into the spotlight and taking feedback.  Feedback can feel like a personal attack if not handled properly, but just like any other competitive performance, there is rarely improvement without it. As a presentation coach, I honor the courage that it takes for each salesperson to put themselves out there when I give feedback.  But taking feedback is only half the equation.  It’s how salespeople handle that feedback that ultimately determines their success. Two Ways Not to Take Feedback I’ve noticed that salespeople who struggle with taking feedback fall into one of two camps.  The first explain (often in great detail) why they made a certain choice, what they were taught or read, or what they meant to do and why it should be working. The 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

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

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

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