In an interview taking place at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, located in Ashland, Ore., I heard something that made me stop and think a bit: Joe Wegner, the actor being interviewed, was talking about auditioning.
All actors have to audition to be considered for parts in plays, TV shows, and movies. It’s a very stressful experience to plan for and go through. You have to pick the piece(s) you will be presenting, or work with what the production company tells you to work with. You might not know anyone in the room during the audition. When you’re done, you’re told “thank you” and that (maybe) someone will get back to you.
Joe said that nothing prepares you for auditioning like actually auditioning. There is no substitute for the actual experience.
You know what else is like this? Sales.
In my attempts to reduce the uncertainties connected with being a salesperson, I have done quite a bit of sales training because of what Joe pointed out about auditioning. However, training can only take you so far. The real deal is to put yourself in sales situations over and over again, learning how to improve from each encounter.
It may seem crazy to aim to be a performer in sales situations, modifying your approach to fit the person you are selling to, but that’s what is necessary to get better at selling—and to get a signature on the dotted line.
So the next time you’re about to meet a potential client, adopt the mindset that one of the main reasons you’re there is to learn and improve your sales skills. Either get a “yes” or a lesson and then move on to the next opportunity!