Tag Archives: Improv

Better Results from Sales Role-Play Part 1: Setting the Stage


Better results from Sales Role Play

I received a panicked call from a salesperson last week.  Carol’s annual sales meeting was fast approaching and she and her fellow sellers were asked to participate in a day of sales role-play with management.  While promoted as a “learning experience,” Carol knew better; this was a test.  Carol and her team would be judged on their ability to successfully articulate the company’s value proposition, highlight benefits, handle objections and ask for the business—all within an artificial, high-pressure scenario. A learning experience?  Yes.  Learning to hate role-playing! Under these circumstances, Carol will likely summon up all of her acting experience (dating back to the 3rd grade class play), and put on a role that she thinks is expected of her.  A role of what she thinks the perfect salesperson might look and act like.  A role that has little or no resemblance to Carol on an actual sales call. Don’t 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

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

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

Tina Fey’s Improv Advice for Salespeople


“Start with a Yes and see where that takes you.” Tina Fey

“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. Improv 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 Read More

Giving a presentation? 5 must-know rules of Improv for Presenters


5 must-know rules of improv for Presenters

It’s a presenter’s nightmare:  Transformer’s director Michael Bay melting down when giving a presentation for Samsung at the huge CES conference.  Yikes.  If you’ve ever had to give a sales presentation and forgotten your lines or blanked out, you can feel his pain.  You don’t have to be an actor to experience Stage Fright!  How can you avoid this disaster? In a word:  IMPROV Improv skills are perfect for helping presenters recover from Michael Bay type moments as well as help navigate tricky sales waters, keep the conversation moving forward and overcome objections. But there is more to Improv than just spitting out the first thing that comes to mind.  Improv performers work hard to achieve the kind of lightning-quick speed and laser-like focus necessary to react to changing circumstances.  And, they have a set of rules that make the whole process look effortless. With an increased reliance on technology, the Read More

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