Actor or SDR? Storytelling in Sales

Written by KJ McEachern

KJ is a marketing intern at The Selling Factory and a sophomore at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Advertising with a minor in Statistics. The focus of human habits attracts her to advertising while the creativity of connecting unusual data associations draws her to statistics.


Photo by Ron Lach

Before my marketing internship at The Selling Factory, I had the stigma that creativity was only for marketing, not sales. However, after watching the sales development representatives (SDRs), my initial assumption was put to rest. The creative skills of SDRs mirrored the fundamentals from my acting school. 

The Shared Fundamentals 

#1: Selling Yourself

In theatre, the actor has to become a believable character. Believability starts with the actor understanding the character’s main internal problem. Secondly, the actor has to make the audience care about the character’s problem. The actor does this by establishing high stakes for the character to reach quality solutions.

Similarly, in sales, an SDR must establish a need by highlighting the customer’s pain points. Secondly, an SDR must motivate the prospective customer’s desire for the quality solution to their problem. To accomplish this, the SDR alludes to the risks of not purchasing the product. 

#2: Dealing with Rejection 

Rejection is a daily occurrence for people in sales and theatre. Becoming deterred from rejection is the biggest mistake an actor or SDR can make. Having a positive outlook on rejection is optimal. When hearing a “no”, ask “why?” Ask questions to understand prospects’ hesitations and concerns. This will strengthen your future pitches and  communication in relation to meeting the unmet needs of your audience.

#3: Creative Problem Solving

Like actors, SDRs have to be quick on their feet if they are not connecting with their audience. An actor pours their heart on stage and the audience does not drop a single tear; What now? Change the approach. Similarly, if the statistics of a product seem to disinterest the prospect, the SDR should change their approach to the story of the “perfect world” when the prospect has the product. 

How to Close in Sales

The best SDR’s play a part in the sale. They hit the right notes. They know how to close in sales by relating, engaging, and connecting in order to make people feel comfortable.

Relate to your audience

To help your prospect, you first need to know what their problem is. Personalization is key. Think of your favorite commercial. Why is it your favorite? Did it make you laugh? Make you cry? Make you uncomfortable?

An audience wants to feel connected to your story. To connect to your prospect you need to ask questions. Try to ask questions to understand your prospect’s struggles, then you can craft a story that relates to your audience. 

Engage your audience

Focus on the benefits of the product, not the features of the product. You understand the features of the product, but you sell why your product is perfect for your prospective client. However, telling your prospect just the facts and figures won’t get you anywhere. The prospect needs to know why these numbers matter to them.

For example, which statement sounds more engaging? “Our laptop processing speed is 5.3 GHz.” Or, “Our laptop has the world’s fastest processor that can help you process data more quickly and finish projects more efficiently.”

Use creativity to your fullest advantage

The “perfect world” mentioned before is created through descriptive language. The descriptive language will emotionally connect the audience. The prospect does not connect to a laptop processing speed of 5.3 GHz. 

However, imagine the prospect’s current laptop processor as a single chef in the kitchen. The chef has to cut the veggies; while stirring the broth and rolling the dough. The chef can do all the tasks but the efficiency and quality of the task will be compromised. 

The 5.3 GHz processor is the whole kitchen staff. The new processor allows the head chef to check the food quality, while the prep kitchen cuts the veggies, and the soup chef stirs the broth. The dishwasher will have the dishes clean before the single chef could have served the food.

The Fusion of Business and the Arts

The objective of an actor is the same as in sales. The main goal is to have the audience see the problem and the importance of quality solutions. Creativity will make the audience/ prospect care. Utilizing storytelling through metaphors, personal and proof stories engage the prospect. Everyone in sales can explain the features of the product, but stories connect the prospect to the product.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.