Salesmanship is to selling, as acting is to talking. The latter in each case being a poor faded facsimile of the former. Would you pay to see a movie where people talked their lines, without any depth of emotion, or interest, or inflection of voice or the many other factors differentiating a stellar performance from an amateur YouTube-level production?

Salesmanship and acting are synonymous. It’s what the Top 1% have in abundance and what the other 99% sorely lack. It’s what separates out the unintended comedies on American Idol from the true future performing stars. Those weeded out of the competition are incredulous and often angry. Why? because they have been deluded by themselves and their enablers (so-called well-wishing friends and family) to the point that they actually believe they have talent.

Sales reps delude themselves because to do anything else would be to admit that they are less than perfect and that it is their fault, one thing homo sapiens does not like to do. They actually believe they are talented, and are thus untrainable, since they don’t need training. Top 1% reps detach from their ego and give up their delusions by critiquing themselves realistically. They want to learn so always find opportunities to do so and to grow. Eventually inevitably they master their craft.

Prospects are bombarded by what I call idiot telemarketers. These unthinking automatons read scripts and don’t listen, they just drone on. Prospects dread receiving these calls and if they do take one (because they actually need a product or service) are quickly bored to tears. Why? No salesmanship.

A true top 1% professional would learn about the prospect and the business before deigning to make recommendations. She will use a dramatic flair to engage the prospect emotionally not just rationally. She does this to illustrate situations and solutions, realities and dreams of a better future. A bored prospect cannot be sold. Boredom is death and it will be the rep’s fault if it happens.

Boredom is easily banished, as anybody with a 3-year old can attest to. You just need to be able to stay ahead of a 3-year old, and if you can’t then you should never have kids or be a sales rep.

Here’s how:
1. Talk about the prospect not yourself.
2. Never make statements, tell stories.
3. The best stories are about the prospect – painting pretty pictures of the future.
4. Next best stories are about people just like the prospect (peers) overcoming danger and hardship and enjoying the happy ending you provided (hooray!).
5. Exaggerate for effect – poetic license and suspended disbelief are the basis of all great movies, plays, books…

This is true entertainment, not a mere presentation. This is salesmanship. It’s the difference between mediocrity and wild crazy off-the-charts success. It also makes the process fun, for the prospect and for you. Happy people having fun buy more than bored, depressed, pissed-off people. Happy reps having fun make more calls, close more sales, learn more faster, and have happier lives.

To master salesmanship you first:
1. Decide to do so – intention is everything.
2. Learn how – it’s all here.
3. Pay the price – easy to say, harder to actually pay.

More specifically you:
1. Read the eBooks.
2. Take acting and storytelling classes.
3. Volunteer to tell stories (kids, elderly, blind, recovering from illnesses and addiction, prisons).
4. Critique each of your performances and make each better than the ones before.