Sales As Performance, A Metaphor

By: Dan Kennedy on: July 18th, 2011 3 Comments

I was recently going over Sydney Biddle Barrows material, particularly her “training class” for the ‘escorts’, I was reminded that I have always viewed selling as performing, a sales presentation as a performance – and that I tend to forget, most salespeople do not share my view, or Sydney’s.

This viewpoint translates in many practical ways, including scripting; rehearsal and practice; attention to detail; pride in the performance itself….as opposed to saying any damned thing that comes to mind in any random order, winging it, using any old pen or pad, no props, and so on. Ernie Kessler, who has since died , a superb speaker/platform salesperson (who is in the Platform Selling Boot Camp program with Ron LeGrand and I) had his presentation choreographed….so he took his sip of water at the same minute, against the same phrase every time. I’ve always sold that way.

That’s important if you happen to sell, face to face, by phone, from the stage, and very, very, very few folks have the self-discipline to perform professionally like this, even when it is pointed out to them as the difference between a peak performer and an also-ran. But it is also a metaphor for whatever you do. One of the great speakers I’ve had opportunity to work with and learn from, Bill Gove, had a talk: “Are You A Pro?” Most people simply aren’t.

Woody Allen famously remarked that 50% of success was “showing up.” Too many people stop there, and get 50% of what they could – if they showed up as a real Pro. Alert. Prepared. Practiced. Primed in every way to deliver an extraordinary performance and get extraordinary results.

Nido Qubein and Tom Hopkins who both spoke at previous SuperConferences are speakers we all recognize as consummate professionals. But why shouldn’t you be a consummate professional doing whatever you do? And imagine a whole business staffed by consummate professionals.

The person taking phone calls, a consummate pro, with practiced scripts, polished skills. The salespeople, the service people. The guy putting the packages in the trunk of the car. Each person viewing their job as “Performance Art”. Such businesses are rare – and usually ENORMOUSLY profitable, as they are fueled by zealous word of mouth advertising, spend little or nothing on paid advertising and keep all that money as profit.

In fact, professionalizing yourself and everyone in your business might be the best way to boost net profits.

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    3 Responses

    1. This reminds me of what I’m doing in my business now – creating systems, flowcharts and documentation so my work becomes more reliable and consistent.

      Great stuff Dan!


    2. Scott Martin says:

      The first place people should start when it comes to their ‘performance’ should be their website. I don’t mean installing tons of Flash stuff but getting the content right. Yet very few websites demonstrated any type of performance or flair–or simple information!

      Thanks again, Dan, for posting.

    3. That seems a solid sales technique. Just wondering if anyone has found that by alliterating the first two adjectives in your sales script, has that lead to higher appointment ratios?

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