How to Make Selling Child’s Play – Employing the 5 Ps & the Art of Improv

Written by Paige Dawson

You’ve seen it—and probably admired it—those business owners, developers and sales folks who make the sales process appear effortless, fun, engaging. They build rapport, connect on an individual level, exude energy and inspire trust—and they don’t have a scripted sales pitch. It’s so smooth that you don’t realize you’re being “sold to,” or at least you don’t mind it.

Some are natural sales savants with an innate knack for the game of selling. Most though have honed their process and style and put in the practice to look effortless. Luckily for us (and our readers) our client Gina Trimarco shares a process to help those of us in the latter category.

So, first things first…who is this Gina person? Simply put: She’s a mosquito on Red Bull driving a turbo-charged bulldozer. She is a sales trainer, improv comic, motivational speaker and podcaster. Her two podcast shows are my constant companions for drive time: The Pivotal Leader (leadership focus) and Women Your Mother Warned You About (sales focus).

When she was in town recently, we held a pop-up sales chat for our clients and friends. And, with her blessing, we’re sharing our best take away points you can implement in your business and life today…granted, it’s not as engaging or funny as being in the session itself.

Sell Like a Child

Admit it…you’ve been worn down by a child before in his/her quest for a toy, an ice cream, 30 more minutes to stay up, etc., etc. Sure, their skills are raw and overly exaggerated at age 6, but as they progress, they get savvier in the sell by their teenage years.

Fast forward to our adult years and most of us have lost or forgotten those traits that served us well as children. Worse, many of us have a fear of rejection, PowerPoint security blankets, boring sales scripts, or ack…already-know-what-you-need-itis. Let’s quickly review the basics that make kids the best salespeople and how to harness their qualities:

  1. Be Playful: Children are built for fun, creativity, curiosity, imagination. They love to ask questions, create something new and enjoy the experience along the way. They will be in awe of what they learn, connect the dots, laugh easily and even are humorous without trying.
  2. Be Passionate: Children are easily excited and overtly emotional. You know what they want and why, and they employ their entire body from voice, facial expressions, eye contact and mannerisms to convey that excitement to you. They are truly with you in that moment and are “all in” to making their goal happen.
  3. Be a Problem Solver: Children are all about objection handling and the challenge of removing an obstacle. They will quickly brainstorm a solution or several. They have endless “what if” ideas to support their mission. They have no preformed ideas of how the world should operate, and they often look for simple, easy solutions.
  4. Be Pretty: Okay, not really in the physical sense but more in the pretty engaging—“it” factor sense. Children are cute and are known to leverage their personality to woo you. As adults, it’s more about that innate ability to connect as a good listener and storyteller; as someone who is interested in you and are also interesting themselves. That thing, that it, that attracts and builds rapport.
  5. Be Persistent: Children do not give up and have an ability to ignore the “no”—they view it as a game to get to the “yes” answer they seek. They operate without fear of failure and keep pushing for their goal line.

It’s time for us to find our inner child and add these traits to our daily communications again. Yes, we’re talking about business sales but the techniques work with volunteer efforts, family and friends as well.

(Improv) Practice Makes Perfect

As part of every workshop, Gina has the attendees participate in a host of interactive experiences – all designed to get us out of our comfort zone and exercise our brains to better listen and respond in the moment. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, so similarly, we must flex our skills to retrain our brain. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  1. Sound Ball: Stand in a circle and toss an imaginary ball to another person. As you toss the ball, make a sound. The person catches the “ball” and tosses to another person while making a sound. Repeat this process a few minutes or a few rounds. The objective is to help us be in the moment and vulnerable and to get over our inhibition and tendency to overthink.
  2. Word Ball: A similar approach to Sound Ball but in this case, the first person says a word; the receiver then says the first word they think of in response. The ball passes back and forth in the circle with the ultimate goal to get back to the original word. The objective is to stay in the moment, make eye contact and don’t judge.
  3. Yes, And: Two people face each other to dialogue. Person 1 says a statement. Per 2 says “Yes,” repeats that statement and then adds to it with “And,” and a second statement of their own. Person 1 picks up again and says “Yes,” and repeats Person 2’s statement and then adds to it with “And,” and a new statement of their own. The goal is to listen to each other, validate by repeating and collaborate by expanding. It’s the opposite of the “Yes, But” in a sales conversation.

Oh, it’s uncomfortable for sure but that’s how we grow—and it’s guaranteed to get you and your team laughing too. We’ve started using some of these exercises before a work brainstorm session to loosen up and enable creativity. (Personally, I also use the weekly Women Your Mother Warned You About podcast to spark my energy.)

If you’d love to improve your sales game and have fun again, please do reach out to Gina directly and see where the conversation goes. We’ve brought her into client sales meetings and teambuilding with fabulous feedback. Here’s to a great Q2!

About Paige Dawson

With expertise in marketing, business strategy and public relations, as well as ‘in the trenches’ experience as a business owner, Paige Dawson brings a unique blend of talent to clients. As president and founder of MPD Ventures Company, Paige works with executives and entrepreneurs throughout the country to develop key messages, marketing strategies and measurable campaigns, driven by client business goals. She has extensive experience providing counsel for professional service firms, technology companies, associations and nonprofits.