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How physics and acting can help your sales career

July 2012 Selling

I passionately believe the greatest athletes of our time are no different than the greatest sales people – or sales athletes – as I prefer to think of them. Just as in sports, sales athletes always strive to exceed their personal best to continually raise the bar.

I have come to believe that the best sales people in the world are ordinary, non-sales people. The people we surround ourselves with, such as family and friends, are great at selling and we don’t even realize it. Think about it. In almost every interaction we have with others, someone is selling and the other one is buying.

Politicians sell to their constituents. Preachers sell to their congregations. Kids sell to their parents. Friends are always selling an idea or opinion to one another. And guess what? Day in and day out, we are buying their opinions, beliefs, dreams, desires and goals.

Can you recall a time when you were “put off” by a pushy sales person? What you experienced in that circumstance was a Newtonian physical law as it applies to the human dynamic. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Today’s economy is hurting. Nearly one out of five people are unemployed or working at low-paying jobs outside their field of expertise. The best sales people are now competing for the same jobs, while their employers are able to offer lower commissions and benefits as a result of the fierce competition.

The best sales athletes know instinctively that there is always another level yet to be achieved – a level beyond dressing for success; one that can take sales athletes far beyond traditional sales techniques.

Have you ever heard a “canned” or stale sales pitch? Was it inspiring to you? Did it make you want to buy?

How does a great performer go onto the Broadway stage and deliver his or her 1,000th performance of a long running show and still make the hair stand up on your arm? It is because an actor knows from their rigorous training how to keep their performance as fresh, compelling, and full of passion as it was on opening night.

Is acting pretending? Perhaps it is for very bad actors, but for the Meryl Streeps of the industry, acting is simply to take an action. The more that action is filled with truth, commitment, and passion, the more we forget we are watching an actor. We suspend reality. We believe.

This is the next level in sales. The level where the true sales athlete is able to transfer the contagion of their strong belief and passion in what they are selling to their customer; so much so that like a fallen tree in a raging river the customer will be compelled to move along with them.

What does selling have to do with performing? Everything. As a sales athlete, have you ever been recognized for your great “sales performance”? Conversely, if you are having a bad month or year, have you ever received “performance management”?

Selling is performing. Your audience is the customer. Your script is your product and the sales fundamentals. You are the performer who must deliver your performance with so much fresh passion, belief and enthusiasm that the customer cannot resist you.

Remember that pushy sales person we thought about earlier? He acted and we equally reacted by walking out the door or getting off the phone; a law of physics at work.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest until affected by an outside force.

As a sales athlete, do you know just how much “force” you can use on a customer without creating a negative reaction? There is another physical law called the co-efficient of friction. Limiting Equilibrium is when the customer is not moved by you to take an action. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. Most sales athletes know that many of our customers have a predisposition to do nothing. They procrastinate.

So exactly how much force is required to get your customers to move toward buying your product? That would be called their Limiting Value in physics. How much force is just enough to move them, but not so much as to cause a negative reaction?

These are a few of many correlations between human dynamics and laws of physics, all of which need to be taken into serious consideration by sales athletes today in order for them to gain the cutting edge.

The time has come for a major shift in sales techniques. Today’s customer is more knowledgeable than ever due to the Internet. Before you connect with them, they may have as much knowledge about your product as you do. What they lack is your wisdom on how to organize their product knowledge.

Today’s customer is more time crunched than ever before. Much communication is done via email, Facebook, Blog, Twitter or other types of electronic communications. Do you know how to create the perfect electronic communication? Are your emails longer than four sentences? Do you end each email with a strategic question setting up the next contact? If not, your emails are not serving you.

Today’s customers have seen enough sales tricks and gimmicks to last them a life time, whether from their own experiences or from the numerous television shows and movies where sales people are openly mocked.

It is time for change. Sales athletes need to be less of a salesperson and more of a vulnerable human being, just like our friends and loved ones who sell to us everyday. By using performance art techniques utilized by the best actors of our time, sales athletes can learn to keep their presentations fresh, vibrant, and compelling.



About the author

James Barry is the co-author of Selling in Today’s Economy: Applying Laws of Physics and Performance Art to Gain the Cutting Edge. He lives in the Vail Valley of Colorado with his wife and four children, two dogs and a cat. He spends his time writing, selling and training others to learn to sell from their hearts.

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