On October 6, I’m co-hosting a unique business event in San Rafael, CA with my good friend, Lisa Safran of Safran Consulting. The event is called where can i purchase femara How to Elevate Your Business: 10 Steps to Sales Success. You can learn more and register for an early bird discount here. We’ll spend a fun and interactive day going over case studies and exercises to make you and your team more effective at selling.
Perhaps what I’m most excited about is what Lisa will bring to the workshop. She’s spent more than 25 years helping business leaders and salespeople become more effective communicators with the power of improv. She’s also written two books on the subject and has served as an improv and communication coach for individuals, businesses of all sizes, and numerous schools.
Why am I so excited about her improv training? I’ve coached sales organizations in small businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. Across the board, I see salespeople struggle with the same issues – poor listening skills, difficulty overcoming objections, trouble going off script, and much more. Improv helps with all of those issues.
Here are three specific ways in which improv training can make you a better salesperson. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll join us on October 6 so you can experience this training and coaching firsthand.
see post “Yes, and…”
If you’ve ever taken any kind of improv class, then you likely know that the first rule of improv is to always reply to your partner with “yes, and…”. This kind of affirmative response is so important because it keeps the conversation going. It maintains forward momentum so the scene can reach a satisfying, and hopefully entertaining, conclusion.
In improv, most scenes start with a prompt or question from the audience. None of the participants know where the scene is headed. The only thing each participant knows for sure is that their partners are committed to keeping the scene moving. That commitment gives each participant the confidence to be as creative as they want. No matter what they say or do, their partners will be there to keep the scene moving.
Compare that to your sales presentations. When you enter a meeting to close a prospect, you don’t always know where the meeting will end. You know that you’ll discuss your proposal. You may have an idea what the prospect’s feelings may be. But you don’t know what objections you’ll face or what the outcome will be.
Your job is to maintain progress and keep the sales cycle moving forward. Your prospect may try to end the meeting, or could try to put your progress on hold by asking to think about it. It’s up to you to get past those challenges and push forward.
Improv training helps you take that “yes, and…” attitude and adapt it to sales. When your prospect objects, your training kicks in to help you creatively think of ways to continue the conversation. Quick thinking is crucial to having sales success, and improv training is all about improving your ability to think on your feet.
I’ve written before about how I regularly see poor listening skills prevent salespeople from reaching higher levels of success. When you’re in sales, every word that comes out of your prospect’s mouth is important because each word provides insight into what they’re really thinking.
Unfortunately, most salespeople don’t really listen to what their prospects are saying. Instead, they’re thinking about what they’ll say next or even issues that are completely unrelated to the task at hand. Listening and observing your prospect’s verbal and nonverbal communication can help you understand their goals and needs and help you anticipate their objections.
Listening is also critical in improv. When you’re performing a scene with someone, their lines and behavior should act as your clues for your next lines and action. You have to intently listen to what they’re saying so you can reply in a way that continues the scene in a logical and entertaining way. If you’re not listening, you probably won’t be able to contribute.
Learning how to actively listen is a big part of improv coaching and it’s something that can have an immediate impact on your sales results.
At its core, selling is about people. No matter what you sell, you’re ultimately selling to other people. They’re making their buying decision based on a number of factors, but one of the biggest is what they think about you as a person. If they like and trust you, you’re well ahead of the game.
To gain trust, though, you have to be authentic. You have to be sincere. Buyers are savvy. They can smell a script from a mile away and they can tell when a salesperson is putting on a front. The best way to get your prospects to like you and to earn their trust is to veer away from the script, drop your guard, and be yourself.
In my experience, though, many salespeople don’t know how to let go of their script. They’re terrified of encountering an objection or question that’s off-script. They then overcompensate by rehearsing everything and subsequently come across as robots in sales meetings.
Robots don’t foster trust. People do. You can win over your prospects by being professional and knowledgeable, but also by being natural. Improv can help you with that because improv gives you the confidence and quick-thinking to overcome any hurdle. With that confidence, you won’t feel the need to work completely off a memorized script.
I hope Lisa and I see you and your team at the Elevate Your Business workshop at the Muir Woods Conference Room in San Rafael on October 6th. As I mentioned, there’s an early bird discount if you register by 9/22. Space is limited. Sign up and reserve your seat today.
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