Posted: October 03, 2011
Five quick acting lessons for sales pros
Play the part, and close the dealBy Julie Hansen
Unless they're Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep, most actors must audition for every role they get. When competing against hundreds of other actors, they have to find ways to quickly stand out and convince the casting director that they are right for the part. As salespeople, you are also on an audition of sorts and need to quickly convince the prospect or customer that you are right for the sale.
Against often staggering odds, how do successful actors land the part? What is their secret? Here are five quick acting lessons from my new book, ACT Like a Sales Pro, that will help you land the sale!
1. Make strong choices to reach your goal
Would you watch a movie about a character that "hopes" or half-heartedly "tries" to reach his goal? Probably not. According to Robert DeNiro, "The talent is in the choices." Good actors like DeNiro make strong choices. ("You talkin' to me?") Sellers too should find strong active words that motivate them to take action. Instead of wanting to make a sale, how about fighting for it? Try proving a point as opposed to just making one. Strong active verbs will keep you focused on and committed to your goal.
2. Raise the stakes to uncover prospect urgency
If the hero doesn't capture the villain by midnight he will detonate the bomb. If he detonates the bomb the city will be destroyed. If the city is destroyed the country will go to war. This is a classic example of raising the stakes in Hollywood. You can use this same model for uncovering the urgency within a prospect by connecting emotional triggers to potential outcomes.
3. Use unpredictability to get your calls taken
Lady Gaga wearing a meat suit. Lady Gaga arriving in a giant egg. What will Lady Gaga do next? Who knows?! But you can bet the world will tune in to see! Most salespeople end up doing the same thing in the same way. You don't have to be one of them. Unpredictability will get your calls taken and get you in the door. Do something new. Do something old in a new way. Meat suit? Probably not, but you get the idea...
4. Welcome obstacles to move the sale forward
Obstacles are a necessary part of drama. They keep the audience engaged and the action moving forward. According to one sales study, prospects that buy have 58 percent more objections than those that don't. I would much prefer to have a prospect throw out 20 obstacles than one "I don't care." Reframing obstacles as an important step toward moving the sale forward arms you with a winning attitude and leads you to discover an arsenal of actions to overcome potential obstacles.
5. Use your mistakes to keep prospects engaged
When a professional actor drops a line or a prop, they follow this rule of thumb: Use it or lose it. Drawing unnecessary attention to mistakes takes the audience out of the story and the actor has to work twice as hard to get them back. Similarly, if you forget part of your presentation or have technical difficulties, don't make a big deal out of it. If it doesn't affect your basic message or intention, there's no need to draw attention to it. If you can incorporate it into your presentation to reinforce a point or make a new one, even better. Spontaneity can spice things up and add for some interesting impromptu moments. Remember to use it or lose it and keep your prospect engaged.
Julie Hansen is a speaker, a consultant and the author of ACT Like a Sales Pro, a finalist for “Top Sales and Marketing Book of 2011.” (CareerPress) Through her work with Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and sales teams of all sizes, Hansen provides fresh, effective strategies for engaging and selling to busy decision-makers using the power of the performer. Julie and her work have been featured on NBC and in publications across the globe, including Selling Power and Entrepreneur Magazine, South Africa. Learn more at www.actlikeasalespro.com. Connect with Julie on Facebook or LinkedIn.