Tag Archives: sales skills

Screenwriting Tips for Sellers: 5 Elements you Must Have to Move a Prospect to Action


Screenwriting Tips for Sellers: 5 Elements you Must Have to Move a Prospect to Action

Like a well-crafted movie or television show, a successful salesperson must grab a prospect’s attention, pique their interest and establish an emotional connection in order to move them to action.  Screenwriters know that there are 5 dramatic elements that must be present in order to engage and move audiences.  Make sure you can identify these 5 dramatic elements in your own sales conversations or presentations if you want to engage and move today’s busy prospects as well: 1. Interest We’ve all met the prospect who lets us get through our entire presentation, only to announce “I’m not really looking for anything right now,” or “My business is just fine as it is.” Have we met the one person in the world who has no needs or desires? I doubt it.  Even where nothing seems to be at stake, like Seinfeld (the “show about nothing”) the characters are obsessed with any 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

How to Break Out of “Presenter Mode”


How to Break Out of "Presenter Mode"

                                                                                                                  Illustration courtesy of 24Slides.com In business, most people (and salespeople are no exception) don’t speak with as much energy or personality as they do in their personal lives. They tend to flatten or smooth things out and tamp down the good and the bad news alike. Telling a prospect you’re going to save them a million dollars is delivered with the same enthusiasm as telling them they can get their parking validated. Sometimes I can actually see the switch flip off on otherwise perfectly engaging salespeople as their tone and manner shift into something more suitable for NPR. Why is this a problem? Operating in what I call “presenter mode” eliminates valuable opportunities to engage and connect with your audience. It puts you at risk for sounding like everyone else and having your message blurred as well. How do you break out of presenter mode? Here are 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

Gain Instant Credibility in Your Presentation or Demo with the Movie Critic Principle


Using the Movie Critic Principle

Thousands of movie-goers rely on reviews from people they’ve never met to guide them before shelling out hard cash for a movie. We are willing to trust the opinion of a disinterested third-party, whether it’s a website like Flixter or Rotten Tomatoes, or a newspaper or magazine, because they, like us, have no personal stake in the film’s success.  Contrast that to the trust factor we have for someone associated with the movie, like the star or the director.  Their claims that it’s a “must see” or “5 Stars” are usually greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism. This Movie Critic Principle can be applied to give you an immediate shot of credibility when it matters most:  at the critical start of your presentation or demo. By using a third party to introduce you, you can set audience expectations, create anticipation and boost credibility.  Three things that are much more difficult Read More

7 Tips for Using Stories in Sales to Win Business


Forrest Gump and sales

Like a great movie, using stories in sales can make a strong impact on your business audience, differentiate you and your solution and inspire action in a way that delivering information alone simply can not.  On the flip side, a poorly crafted or executed story can cost you credibility, attention and ultimately the sale.  With so much at stake, it pays to learn a proven strategy and powerful tactics for using stories in sales from a $1.8 trillion dollar industry that has been engaging and influencing audience’s for centuries: the movies! A successful movie requires the combined efforts of thousands of people, but at it’s core it comes down to the screenwriter, the director, and the actors.   By applying a few tricks of the trade from these storytelling masters, you can bring your sales story to life for your business audiences in a memorable and compelling way that inspires action. Read More

Tina Fey’s Improv Advice for Salespeople


“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. 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 have Read More

5 Reasons your Presentation is Boring


If you’ve been selling for more than a week, you’ve already heard plenty of excuses from buyers: I need to think about it. I can’t afford it. You’re too expensive. The details may vary, but the reason buyers aren’t anteing up typically boils down to this: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn because your presentation is boring. Clark Gable delivered this famous parting line after finally getting fed up with Scarlett O’Hara’s self-absorption. (You can only talk about yourself so much — I don’t care how good you look in a hoop skirt.) So what does that have to do with you? Surely you’re not a self-absorbed sales person…but could you be coming across as one to a prospective buyer? Shifting your conversation from an I-focus to a You-focus in the following ways can put you squarely back in the game: 5 Reasons your presentation is boring:   Read More

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Performance Sales and Training: Persuasive Presentation Skills to meet the challenges of today’s B2B Sales Environment