Tag Archives: sales skills

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

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

How to use presenter notes for a natural delivery


Use presenter notes for a natural delivery.

Presenter notes in PowerPoint or Keynote are a great way to make sure you hit key points in your sales presentation or remember to ask your audience a question or reveal an insight. They’re right there in front of you when you need them so you don’t have to shuffle through papers or worry about blanking out. Even if you don’t end up referring to your notes, the act of typing them with the associated slide can provide mental reinforcement. But while there are numerous resources to help you create presenter notes, very little instruction exists on how to use them in a way that sounds natural and engages your audience. Most of the time salespeople exhibit the following ineffective behaviors when using presenter notes: Salesperson is stuck behind their laptop Eye contact is limited to the computer screen Missed opportunities to engage and read audience Script sounds like it’s Read More

Presentation Winners and Losers from The Academy Awards


Chris Pine at Academy Awards

If you think presenting comes naturally, all you need to do is watch the Academy Awards where some of our best actors struggle to deliver a live speech or accept an award.  As a salesperson there are many key takeaways from the Oscars and I’ll be taking note of them all.  In the mean time, have a  quick look back at some of the previous year’s winners and losers in the category of “Presentation Skills:” The Winners: Best Audience Interaction: Ellen DeGeneres, Host 2014 As host, DeGeneres took audience interaction to a whole new level by stepping into the audience to orchestrate the world’s largest selfie with the world’s biggest stars. Taking it a step further, later in the evening she had pizza delivered. Despite the fact that most of the crowd looked like they hadn’t indulged in pizza since the nineties, she put everyone at ease during what was Read More

Sneak Peek: Advanced Sales Presentation Tip: The Power of Intention


Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek:  Advanced Presentation Technique from my new e-Book:  “Take Your Sales Presentation to the Next Level” Get all 10 tips FREE here! A common concern I hear from sales manager’s centers around the ability of their sales team to passionately or enthusiastically present their solution: “I don’t know what it is. They know their material, they say all the right things, but they’re just not connecting with the audience.” “I know they’re passionate about our product, but it’s just not coming across in their presentation.” In my experience the cause of a dispassionate presentation is rarely due to the presenter’s lack of passion about their solution. It more often stems from the presenter’s intention, or lack of intention. What is an intention? Intentions are the driving force under all of our words and actions. They influence how we say things and therefore, how people respond to us. In the performance Read More

Dump the Company Selfie… I Mean Overview


company selfie

The company overview is today’s business selfie.  It’s that slide (or series of slides) that seems to be in most salespeople’s decks that shows any or all of the following: a picture of your building (ho hum), the timeline of your company’s growth (blah, blah, blah), and the awards your company has won (I’m sorry, are you still talking to me?) One thing I’ll say about the company overview is that it is an equal opportunity slide: it is as boring for the salesperson to deliver as it is for the customer to receive.   The truth is that these particular slides are better suited for a brochure than a live presentation. In this day and age your prospect likely already knows–or has access to–much of what you think you need to tell them about your company. Sure, there are key points you want to highlight for your audience, and there’s Read More

Get Real Results from Sales Role Play (psst..the secret is in the casting)


Want Better Results from Sales Role Play? Part 2: The Secret is in the Casting!

Actors love to work with director Clint Eastwood for good reason:  “He expects you to know what you’re doing. And he’s going to take two giant steps back and let you do it,” says Morgan Freeman.  But some Hollywood directors are notoriously difficult to work with.  Kate Winslet said that working with James Cameron on Titanic was “an ordeal” after nearly drowning and chipping a bone in her elbow. As the director of your sales role-play, you control the experience and ultimately the results for your team. In Part 1  of this series on sales role-play, we laid out how to Set the Stage for success by setting clear expectations and selecting a specific customer and opportunity.  Now you’re ready to cast your sales role-play. Sales role-play: the secret is in the casting Take a lesson from acting and don’t thrust salespeople into the spotlight without giving them some tips Read More

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

How to apply the Challenger Sale…when you’re not a challenger


Apply the challenger sale

“I don’t accept the status quo. I do accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.” Stephen Colbert I’m a fan of The Challenger Sale – despite the fact that the book came out the same year as mine (2011) and promptly soared past me. If you’re not familiar with the book or the premise, authors Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson identified 5 types of sellers: The Relationship-Builder, The Hard Worker, The Lone Wolf, The Reactive Problem Solver and, of course, The Challenger. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that they believe Challengers to be uniquely poised for success in today’s marketplace. Why? Because Challengers enter each business opportunity with a deep understanding of their client’s business, tailor messaging to each role and are not afraid to question, yes, even challenge a customer’s beliefs. All of which makes sense especially when many of us work with customers who are Read More

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