Stop me if you heard this before: “Three blind mice walk into a bar and the first one orders…” The sales professional with a bunch of jokes is a tired cliché. But that does not mean comedy does not have a place in sales success. Improvisational comedy’s success fundamentals actually mirror tactics for sales results. The storytelling aspect of a good routine aligns perfectly with the most impactful, modern sales tactics. Nevertheless, success depends on two non-negotiable fundamentals that performers listen intently, then respond with “Yes, and…”. Whether in sales or comedy, these simple rules are much harder than they sound.
Believe The Process
Improvisational comedy, or improv, is a comedy routine featuring multiple comics with an objective to continue one sustained joke despite the performers having not rehearsed together. Although team sales should include formats and preparation leading to their presentations, the similarity remains considering that actual paths of sales calls and their results are unpredictable. Nevertheless, participants in both scenarios must believe that everyone on the team will do their job.
That belief’s foundation depends on faith in the product. The team has the advantage that the audience clearly does not know where the sales process is heading. The team may not know the path either. But, they have a clear vision of where they want it to end. A strong belief in the product, the teammates’ professionalism, and a positive outcome drives them toward the goal. That confidence results from knowing your material, the proper time to close, and the target audience’s signals upon capturing their hearts and wallets.
Trust The Team
While belief is essential to start the engine for sales success, trust paves the road to the final goal. As a matter of fact, trust is the pavement permitting the process to work. Despite an improv group not rehearsing, the best performances result from professionals who trust the rules of engagement. The winning performance, like the winning proposal, results from a unified focus on the ultimate goal and respect for their teammates’ skills. As the sales team approaches the target audience, seeking to connect with them, the team must demonstrate confidently that all contributors are proficient at their responsibility.
Consequently, trust among the individuals must be inherently secure. The graphics expert needs to have relevant and memorable images. The technical expert needs to have facts, figures, and functionality easily accessible to the team. And, the sales lead needs to build rapport and demonstrate industry expertise effortlessly to establish connections resulting in consummating the transaction. Together, all efforts must smoothly coordinate. The team’s bond must shout trustworthiness to the external target. That trust must be communicated unquestionably to the customer-in-waiting to get them to “Yes”.
Ultimately, the reason that successful sales teams have trust is that they believe in the two rules. Through faithfully listening, and responding, “yes, and…“, the results are magic. The reason that the magic works is because the performers believe. “Yes, and…” communicates a can-do spirit. Evident connectivity exudes relationship. Consequently, the target experiences that sense of relationship and becomes eager to participate in it. Clearly, product quality, brand recognition, price, and vendor reputation contributes to the final decision. Also, displaying proven communication proficiency, in addition to teamwork, appeals to prospects emotionally and rationally, leading to the sale. Even, a good laugh along the way helps!
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond