Pitching and Performing

The world of movie stars and theatre performers are no different to that of sellers.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately.

Some of them good and some bad. And what generally defines a good or bad movie is the actors within them.

Anyone can put up with bad visuals, but if the acting is bad the movie becomes unbearable.

I once read that stage acting is the hardest form of acting.

Because the stage actor has to perform the role he is required to do, and then tailor that performance to the live audience in the theatre.

That’s where acting becomes a little like selling.

The more you think of it, it becomes a lot like selling. Because a good actor is like a good seller; they can both convince the listener about something despite the varying environments those situations occur.

Neither are real. But the more real you can become, the more convincing the performance.

So what makes good actors?

No acting role is the same. Just like no movie or no theatre performance is. So for actors to play different roles they have to become different people.

Just like in method acting (a form of acting where actors develop a set of thoughts or feelings to place themselves within that character), sales people need to also put themselves into character.

To warm up and then address the situation by looking to find out what the person is feeling and thinking, and then following suit.

Because if you’re on the same level as your audience, you’re in a position where they will listen to you. That’s a start.

There are other things, though, to keep in mind.

Limit what you say and say it with purpose. Map everything out beforehand as clarity will go a long way.

This said, it’s inevitable that along the way your audience will drop off. Momentary lapses in concentration isn’t uncommon just as it isn’t insurmountable so welcome the obstacles.

But always think positive. Nothing great has ever come in the short term.

Inexperienced actors and inexperienced sellers will give up and get disheartened with rejection. The great ones always overcome them.

Right there on stage and in a pitch meeting, diminish them by improvisation. Have the confidence to take performances down different roads should they need.

Avoid the questions and the statements that negate audience participation as well. Leave out words of doubt (“maybe” and “could” and “perhaps”) and always keep the conversation going (“and” and “also” and “again”). Be unpredictable.

Remember, acting or selling, you’re still pitching. So get your performance gearing up to a position where you can pitch. You want your audience to feel, know or do something new during or concluding.

Thinking a little more about acting within selling situations?

This will seal it.

Whilst acting, know that the audience is giving up their time and money to come to your performance. They want an experience. And in the time they’re watching you, you’re in their hands. They’re not in yours.

So look to serve. Pride yourself on what you do because what you’re looking for is a positive outcome. Your product – just like your performance – can really benefit someone’s life. Act with purpose.

If the audience’s world won’t improve following your performance, you’re in the wrong game. So be true to yourself. Commit.

The movies that win oscars are not the movies that have the best plots or the best writers. Oscar-winning movies are ones where the actors have truly delivered something special.

That have delivered a performance worthy of someone else’s time.

Pitches and selling situations are no different.

What do you think?

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