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About This Episode
When was the last time you got on a stage and did improv?
If you’re like most people, the answer is probably never. After all, improv is scary, right? To be on a stage, with no script, no direction, and no answers?
But what if improv were actually exactly what you needed to sharpen your sales skills?
What if the answer to every salesperson who lacked confidence, or had trouble initiating a conversation, were to be prescribed improv?
On a recent episode of the Sales Engagement Podcast, we sat down to chat with Bridget Quigg, who is the founder of “You’re a Genius,” a workshop that teaches sales and career skills through the fast paced world of improv comedy.
Because as it turns out, sales and improv have a lot more in common than one might think.
You Are a Creative Genius
This is the core of Bridget’s work.
You’ve got infinite potential, and that potential is always there. Always available. Always ready to be accessed.
And when the more you practice that, the more you hone in on it, the more you actually BELIEVE IT, the more confidence you’ll have.
And couldn’t we all use a bit more confidence?
So is Everyone Else
You’ve got that unlimited reserve of talent and potential, but so does every other person in the room.
Which means that you’re not the only one bringing something to the table. You may have every reason to carry yourself with the confidence that you do, but that means that everybody else does as well.
The trick is to actually listen and build on what they say. In the improv world, they call this “Yes, And.”
“Yes I hear what you’re saying, AND…”
If you can master this skill, because it is a skill to be practiced, not an inherent trait, you’ll be well on your way to success.
On stage, just like in the conference room, you’re always either making an offer, or accepting an offer. Every time someone says something, it’s a chance to make or accept that offer.
So make sure you’re listening, not just waiting for your turn to talk. Make sure you’re trusting your instincts. And make sure that you’re paying attention.
Sales people are terrified of silence.
We look at silence as some sort of daunting failure. Something to be avoided at all costs. After all, there’s a reason they call it “awkward silence,” right?
But silence can be used strategically, and in the conference room, it’s another form of communication.
While you don’t want tons of dead air, a certain amount of silence just shows respect to your colleagues. You’re giving them the time to process what they’ve heard. You’re trusting that they need to process what you just said.
You’re not just filling the air with words.
You’re filling the air with possibility.
It’s All About Trust
But at the end of the day a sales meeting is going to go off the rails, just like an improv session will, if you don’t all trust one another.
But how do you build trust?
First, you listen.
We already talked about it, but listening is more than just waiting for your turn to talk. When you stop listening to people, you lose them. And no matter how good you think you are, they can tell the difference between someone who is listening and someone who is waiting for their turn to talk.
You acknowledge everything.
You become hyper aware of everything in the room. It may not seem like a big deal, but someone who notices the little things on the stage will also notice the little things in the conference room.
And finally, you make your partner look good.
If you go into the meeting with the intention of making the other person look as good as possible, if you turn and pay attention to everything around you, with the intention of helping them shine, they’re going to trust you.
And the customer will trust you too.
So while it may not seem like improv and sales share much in common, they are closer than we can possibly know.
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