Written By: Julie Hansen
A professional actor would never walk out onto a stage without warming up their instrument to make sure they are communicating at their best.
What is your most powerful sales tool? Your website? Video brochure? Multi-media presentation in 3-D?
While all of these can support your message, the answer lies much closer to home. YOU are your most powerful sales tool.
It’s not so much what you say as how you say it that influences other people.
Studies show that 55% of what is communicated to others comes from our body language, 38% from the sound and quality of our voice and a shockingly low 7% comes from the words themselves.
If you are relying strictly on the “what” to do the selling, you are very likely to be outsold by someone who has also mastered the “how.”
Actors refer to this as their “instrument.” A professional actor would never walk out onto a stage without warming up their instrument to make sure they are communicating at their best.
They know that once the curtain rises or the camera rolls, they must be “on” or risk losing their audience. In sales, your audience is your client or prospect.
Don’t risk losing them by spending those crucial first minutes working the kinks out of your performance and getting your brain and mouth in gear.
An actor’s warm-up is a great place to look for tips on how to prepare for a sales call or presentation.
Here are the key areas to focus on and some simple exercises that will ensure you are communicating at your highest potential throughout the day.
Communication starts with the breath. If you’re feeling the stress these days (and who isn’t?) it’s probably affecting the way you breathe. Most of us have long forgotten that proper breathing is from the diaphragm. Remember that spot under your rib cage? Place a hand there and breathe in, feeling the diaphragm expand as your hand moves out. A few of these throughout the day will get the oxygen flowing and keep you more relaxed and mentally sharper.
Tension is the enemy of good communication; it keeps you from delivering your message as naturally and persuasively as you could. Often we hold tension in our bodies without even being aware of it. Locate and eliminate hidden tension by tensing up each muscle group in your body, holding it for ten seconds, then releasing it.
Most people do not use their voice to their advantage. We get stuck in a higher or lower range than is suitable for us. We lack variety or clarity. Adding a few quick exercises, like the following, to your daily routine can help you find the power in your true voice:
Say “ba-ba-ba pa-pa-pa” and repeat. “ta-ta-ta da-da-da” repeat. “ka-ka-ka ga-ga-ga.” Repeat.
Try some tongue twisters. “Sushi chef, sushi chef, sushi chef…” “Worldwide web, worldwide web… …” “Unique New York, unique New York…”
A lack of energy can drain the impact out of even the most compelling message. Engage your body before you engage your mouth. Do some quick stretches, jog in place, shake a leg, do the hokey pokey. Do whatever it takes to get the blood flowing and wake up your muscles.
Lack of preparation may be the only thing keeping you from effectively engaging, communicating and persuading.
Take a cue from actors and develop a consistent training program for your most important sales tool: You.
Julie Hansen is the president of Performance Sales and Training , an international speaker…
Join more than 360,000 professionals who get our weekly newsletter.
Self-paced courses from the
world's top sales experts
Live, interactive instruction in small
groups with master trainers
One-to-one personalized coaching
focused on your unique situation