Category Archives: Acting tips

Emotional Intelligence in Sales, Empathy and the Actor’s Magic “If”


Meryl Streep

“I’m curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.” ~ Meryl Streep How did Meryl Streep play real people like Florence Foster Jenkins and Margaret Thatcher with such depth and authenticity? How did Daniel Day Lewis give the definitive portrayal of Abraham Lincoln? What does either have to do with emotional intelligence in sales?! While neither star had experience ruling a country, or singing opera, but they delivered authentic and award-winning performances requiring remarkable insight and empathy for their characters. One of the key qualities of emotional intelligence in sales is empathy, or the ability to identify with and understand what it’s like to walk in your customer’s shoes. Authentic empathy goes beyond simply recognizing what your customers emotional state is, to actually sharing in those feelings. Who has time for Empathy?! As a busy salesperson it Read More

What’s Your Sales X Factor? 5 Questions to Find Out!


Yes, it’s the name of a popular television show, but it’s also an extremely important quality that salespeople need to have in today’s competitive marketplace. X Factor, def: “A variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome.” What is the Sales X Factor? Your  Sales X factor is that variable that gives you a significant advantage over the competition.  In customer-facing events like presentations and demos, it is often the ability to: Quickly connect your solution to your prospect’s unique challenges Structure your message in a compelling and memorable way Deliver your message in a way that wins the minds and hearts of your audience and inspires them to take action Why you need an X Factor Each day your prospect navigates through a steady stream of vendor e-mails, voice mails, proposals, presentations and demos.  Each vendor claims to be the best.  But product Read More

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

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