First Impressions Matter in Sales…and Acting People make several major decisions about another person in the first few seconds. Decisions like: Is this person trustworthy? Successful? Competent? So how do you make sure your first impression with your prospect or audience is helping you – and not hurting you? Casting directors know a lot about what makes a good first impression. An actor often has less than 20 seconds in an audition to prove why they are different – or be shown the door. While a customer may not physically throw you out, they can (and do!) mentally check out or bide their time until you’re done if you fail to make a good first impression. In this Video I share 4 Audition Secrets for Making a Memorable First Impression. Click here to read more about how you can apply all 5 Tips for Making a Great First Impression in Sales. Read More
I try not to make snap judgments. But I do. And apparently so do a lot of other people. Research studies have found that we make several major decisions about another person in those first few seconds. Decisions like: Is this person trustworthy? Successful? Competent? In sales, this can affect everything from how a customer listens to you to whether they decide to work with you or not. So how do you make sure your first impression in sales is helping you – and not hurting you? Actors live and die by first impressions. When auditioning for a role an actor has to quickly stand out in order to get a chance to be heard. In fact, a casting director may stop an actor as quickly as 20 seconds into a reading if they’re not impressed. While a customer may not physically stop you, they can mentally check out or bide Read More
It can be disappointing to receive a small part of a customer’s business when you are hoping for the lead role. Winning larger deals gets a lot of focus in sales, but sometimes large deals are hidden in small packages. Savvy actors often parlay a small or one-time roll into a bigger or recurring role. For example, Kelsey Grammer was initially cast in just six episodes of Cheers. He gave such a memorable performance he went on to star in the wildly popular spin-off, Frasier. Remember Chandler Bing’s” annoying girlfriend on Friends, “Janice,” (played by the delightfully nasal Maggie Wheeler)? Initially cast in just a single episode, she went on to appear in 19 episodes over 10 seasons! There is no such thing as a “small” part No matter how small the part, a good actor makes the most of it. So instead of mumbling about the unfairness of it all and turning in a Read More
You finally get that presentation or meeting set with your dream account. You arrive at their office pumped up and ready to knock your presentation out of the park! But of course you have to wait…and wait….And with each passing minute you can feel that positive energy slip into anxiety and tension. Before you know it, your mind begins to wander, you’re second guessing your entire presentation, kicking yourself for not practicing more, or searching for distractions on your phone. Presentation nerves claim another victim. Regardless of whether you’re sitting in a reception area or waiting for customers to join you for an online meeting, presentation nerves can rob you of positive energy and necessary focus. When you finally do get to your presentation, you feel awkward and uncertain. And depending on your default “Fight or Flight” response, you either race or slog through it detached from your audience and Read More
I hear a lot of advice a long the lines of “just be confident!” from sales coaches. But I think most salespeople know that confidence is important in sales. The question is – how do you gain confidence? And if you’re not confident, does that mean you don’t belong in sales?
I think it’s a myth that great salespeople are always confident. I think they may know how to get themselves into a state of confidence, or they have the courage to persevere even when they don’t feel confident and trust that the confidence will come.
Sometimes, let’s face it, you’re having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, you lost a deal. Sometimes, you simply can’t think your way into greater confidence. For those times, I want to share with you a really practical technique I learned as an actor.
It’s called Acting as if. And it works like this. Next time you’re feeling really confident, notice what that looks like and sounds like for you. Maybe you stand taller, gesture more, speak louder, or hold eye contact longer.
Then when you have to get on that call or give a presentation when you’re not feeling 100% confident, apply these confident behaviors as you’re practicing. Push through even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and maintain those confident behaviors in your meeting. In other words, act as if you have great confidence. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find that pretty quickly you are actually feeling confident and good. It’s much like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel happier.
So go out there and show confidence, and if you can’t, act as if until the real deal kicks in.
“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
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
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
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