Here are the five similarities between sales and stage acting:
1. Good lines together with good execution of those lines generate the highest possible income. A good movie is made up of two things: (1) a great story which is a collection of really good lines, (2) great actors who are able to deliver those lines with emotion and feeling.
2. The best actors and sales people memorize what they are going to say. This allows them to become passionate when saying them. Listen to this quote, “The more you rehearse, the less rehearsed you sound.” This is something a lot of sales people do not understand. They feel like if they memorize a line, they’re going to sound mechanical. Actually just the opposite is true. The sales agents who sound mechanical are those who have not yet memorized their lines.
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3. Professional actors on stage know they only have one shot to get it right. They are 100% focused on how they deliver their lines. When I was on stage doing our Christmas play, I did not have my cell phone on because I wasn’t expecting to take any calls. When I go to make a presentation at a merchant’s location, I don’t have my cell phone either. I’m not expecting to take any calls. I know that I only have one chance to get the presentation right. When you’re out selling, be very serious about doing a good job on your one chance. If I mess up, I’m taking money away from my family, away from my business, away from myself. I’m taking away a client who could be an advocate for me in the community. I am very serious about my presentation when I go into a business. Make the visit a great performance for that merchant.
4. The highest paid actors truly become the person they need to become in order to perform whatever part is necessary. This is a skill that actors and great sales people have in common. Too many sales people tell me things such as, “Well, I couldn’t sell that person because I couldn’t relate to him or her. I’m just not like that.” Maybe you are more of a direct person, but the merchant was a bit more shy and reserved. Or maybe the other way around is the case. You must learn how to become that person. Be sincere. But look at an actor like Brad Pitt who has played all kinds of different parts. He is not any of those – not a super hero, not a cowboy, not a football coach. But he has played those characters in movies. As a great sales person you could learn to play the part of a business owner who is more direct, or you can play the part of stepping back to be more reserved and allow the other person a chance to talk. You want to try to match your client in most situations.
5. Start by writing great lines and thinking through the entire presentation, then you memorize your lines. The way you get started with a play is to plan everything. Imagine if you are a highly paid actor who gets to the set of a new movie and hears that there are no lines yet but just a general idea. Those in charge just want to “see how it goes.” You would walk off the set because that movie would be a failure. You have to think through the entire presentation first and decide what you’re going to say at each spot. Then memorize your lines and start practicing them. Same way in sales. You need to take time to think through your presentation; plan how you want it to go; and then take time to memorize your lines.
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