Episode Eight

How Learning Improv Made Me Better At Sales

Guest: Andrew Mewborn, Solutions Consultant at Outreach

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Andrew Mewborn: How Learning Improv Made Me Better at Sales

About This Episode

A night at the improv might just be your greatest selling hack yet.

Improv classes, while seemingly an unconventional fit in your playbook, teach fundamental sales techniques like learning how to read people and thinking on your feet.

Today’s guest on The Sales Engagement Podcast is Andrew Mewborn, Solutions Consultant at Outreach. Andrew found himself struggling to find a sales method that worked for him until someone suggested he try improv classes.

Andrew talks to us about key techniques he learned in improv, why he continues to take classes and even runs through an act with our host, Joe Vignolo.

Here are the highlights from our interview.

Like Sales Engagement, Improv is All About People

When Andrew realized he was not a good seller, he started looking for ways to improve.

One of his oversights suggested improv classes after hearing that Twitter CEO, Dick Costello, had used them as a business tool, as well.

After watching a class, he started to ask himself, “What are people doing in these classes that are making them so great?”

A majority of the time, he noticed, people weren’t trying to be funny.

Once he started taking the classes himself, he realized that improv is actually more about going through exercises that help you understand human beings–things like how humans interact with each other, how to build a character, how to create a relationship, or how to set an objective.

Andrew Mewborn: How Learning Improv Made Me Better at Sales

Make “Yes, and…” Your New Go-To Response

One of the core beliefs in improv is using the response, “yes, and…”

It means accepting any offer you’re given. In the case of improv, that means running with whatever crazy intro or lead your scene partner throws your way. You take it and then make it your own.

There is an art to using “yes, and…” on a sales call and knowing where to navigate and take the conversation while being open-minded to what the other person is saying.

It’s important to note that “yes, and…” is very different to “yes, but…” which forms the basis of an argument. “But” “No” “Can’t” “Don’t” always cause people to put up walls.

“Yes, and…” helps you transition the conversation back to your point and creates energy at the same time. It’s basically saying “I hear you and I’ll do what I can to make it happen.”

What It Means To Be a Great Listener

The best salespeople are the best listeners, but what does that actually mean?

In improv, listening is crucial. There are two major components of listening that make you successful at improv–and both can be used for engagement.

  1. Active listening – In improv, if you want to build on a scene, you have to actively listen and empathize with the characters to engage in that scene. You can’t be thinking of your response or you’ll miss out on key moments and content. Sometimes, you just need to shut up and listen.
  2. Make your partner look good – Be listening to what your partner is saying so you can build off of it and make them look good. If an AE gives you great research on a prospect, use it to make both of you look good to your prospect.

Action Beats Inaction Every Time

It’s better to try something and fail than to try nothing and still have failed.

Improv teaches you really quickly how to become comfortable with failing, whether it’s in relationships, characters, or trying new ideas.

Words can be weak, actions can be strong.

“Don’t think about doing it or talk about doing it–just do it.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Andrew Mewborn from Outreach. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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