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.