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  • Brett Zalaski

My Biggest Sales Sin

People tend to be pretty surprised when I tell them that I got better as a salesperson while I was at the National Sales Center...and it wasn't because I taught sales training. While I'm sure that contributed a little, it was participating in and leading improv comedy classes that led directly to my improvement as a salesperson.

It is an obvious trope that improv comedy helps salespeople. Thinking on your feet, being creative, etc., etc. etc. But there's a secret sauce to it that most don't think about. Improv comedy helped me listen better. I learned to trust myself, which allows me to stay fully invested in the conversation in front of me, without worrying what I need to say next.

Because here was my biggest sales sin when I was a salesperson...I listened to get to what I needed to say next. I did not listen to hear what the client was saying.

Read that again...and think about it. While I was still a successful salesperson prior to the improv comedy, it was simply in my ability to be passionate and relay information. I can't imagine how many sales I blew with my complete lack of care to genuinely listening to my clients. How much information did I miss? How much trust did I lose by focusing on my agenda? How much urgency did I miss because the connection wasn't strong enough to have it stick?

You know your products. It's your job to. You don't have to race into talking about them. Trust that you know them, trust your ability to communicate them, trust your ability to hear what a client says so you can apply the right product at the right time. If you invest totally into listening to your client, there's no way they can't lead you in the right direction. I wish I knew that sooner.

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