Three things a ballet recital taught me about selling


This is a guest blog post by David Trapani of Sandler Training – Thank you, David!

Wow, it seems that each family event is a reminder of what we should all be doing in sales and business development.

This past weekend I was at my daughters’ ballet recital. Typically, a two- to three-hour show with kids from 3 – 18 years old. In years past, the time has been spent keeping my sons focused on the show. We bring a few snacks, and the show always has some memorable moments. This year, things were a little different.

Year after year the show goes off without any issue – it is one of the most organized events you can attend with so many kids. The issue: None of the lights in the auditorium worked. This started 45 minutes before show time and lasted 45 minutes past the expected start time.

Finally, the show starts. Act after act we are entertained by these different kids of different ages and different skills. Thirty different acts! Forty-five minutes late for the start and guess what… no issues with my kids.

Then it hit me, there was something different about this year, and somehow I am able to relate it back to selling…

1) Breaking Through Your Comfort Zone
First, during the delay it was so dark that the only light was from cell phones. However, the microphone worked. So the MC asked if anyone knew some jokes. And guess what? My seven year old climbed onto stage, in front of 300 people and told some jokes. He is not a shy kid, but to get in front of 300 people — just awesome. And when he came back to his seat he was so proud.

2) Practice Does Make Perfect
It always surprises me how well these kids do on stage. And then it hit me… practice. These kids go to class for nearly three hours a week. They start in September and finish in June. By my calculation (excluding holidays) they practice 75 hours for a three- to four-minute act. How many professionals put in that much practice time? Not many.

3) The Show Must Go On
No lights until the four stage lights started working – and that was it until the end. But the show went on. And every parent was patient, supportive and couldn’t applaud loud enough. The show went on – they practiced, got prepared and delivered. They had worked for this event for over 75 hours and nothing was going to stop them. And if it didn’t go as planned, it didn’t matter.

No difference in sales – how often do you really get a second chance at an opportunity?

These were my lessons: Break Through. Practice. Deliver.

Because the show must go on!


Six Ways My Seven Year Old Taught Me How to Sell!


A guest blog post by David Trapani from Sandler Training — Thank you, David!

This past weekend I spent several hours cleaning and preparing my backyard for the summer. The good news was that all three of my kids decided to help out. Nothing beats having everyone work together to make a job go faster. More importantly, with three kids it seems like we are always on the run – so a few hours of time at home would be a good thing.

After about 30 minutes my seven year old pretty much had enough. He’s the youngest and typically is the first to lose interest. Rather than cleaning up he asked if I could pitch baseballs to him. Believe me, nothing would be better than to do that. But we really wanted to get the backyard ready for the warmer weather. The reality is, if we get it done now, the less we have to do during the summer. I explained this to my little guy, and let him know we would have more time that afternoon after we were done.

I think he understood, but he began asking questions – just like a good salesperson. I realized he really didn’t understand and his goal was simple. What’s in it for him? And that is when I started thinking about a seven year old and selling. There were so many comparisons to what I see in the sales field today – and you probably see them too.

The reality is that he was trying to sell me on the idea of playing ball. And he wasn’t going to quit. That was when I started thinking. This kid is like a salesperson, with a few asterisks. 1) He is seven 2) He has no training and 3) He is…seven. And you know what? I learned something — six somethings:

1) Ask questions – he did a good job of that, and maybe sometimes, he asks a few too many. But I will give him a positive in this area.
2) Be more concerned about your prospect – Unfortunately, at seven, this is a tough one. He really wanted to play ball and that was his focus.
3) Look for process improvement – I will give him a positive here. He said that he needed to practice his swing. And as we know, practice makes perfect!
4) Know when to listen – Did I say he was seven?
5) Just relax – Our conversation had zero pressure. He was tossing a ball to himself and was genuinely relaxed. That made me relaxed. Definite positive.
6) Have fun – When all was said and done, we always have fun. Eventually, we played ball. He even enjoyed planting some flowers.

Without training, my son is just like many salespeople. The good news is that he has time to improve. The bad news is the people that we all compete with everyday, too often have the same challenges as a seven year old. They talk too much, only care about themselves and they don’t plan on improving their skills. Plus, they don’t relax or have fun, and that puts a ton of pressure on the buyer. So take some lessons from the little guy and see how it helps your game.
Good Selling!