Ep. 7
How to harness the power of improv in your selling conversations

The Sales Conversation

Episode Overview

In this episode, we are speaking with Andrew McMasters. Originally from Philadelphia, he’s an actor who’s been working in Seattle for over 30 years. He started Jet City Improv back in 1992 and left that company back in October 2017 after 25 years. For the last 10 years, he’s been working with organizations– helping them improve communications, team cooperation, and innovation. He also works with sales teams on listening, accepting and building on offers to provide customers with solutions for the needs they have.

In this episode, Andrew and I talk about the power of Improv in improving buyer and seller interactions. Specifically, Andrew highlights how to be a better listener, how to accept what the customer is offering, and then how to build upon their offerings. He then talks about how to bring your full self to a selling conversation.

Episode Timestamps

[1:27] Andrew’s story on how he became focused on improv

  • Started with practicing improv as a theatre actor:
    • Taught classes to people in other lines of work who wanted to be more comfortable on stage.

[3:37] Why should sellers use improv as a way to connect with their buyers?

  • Listening:
    • How we listen.
    • The ways we listen.
    • What we are listening for.
  • Listen before you solve:
    • Establishing that there is a connection first instead of jumping to a solution.
    • Listening for building relationships.
    • Listening for understanding.
    • Listening for context.
  • Letting the other person know that they’ve been heard.

[4:51] How does listening change based on what you’re listening for?

  • Encapsulate what someone has said and then feed it back.
  • Saying that “This is what I heard…is this correct?”:
    • Letting the person know that they’ve been heard.
  • Understanding the other person:
    • Makes them know that they’re included and a part of the process.
    • Building the connection first.

 [7:35] Improv disciplines for sellers

  • Accepting what someone else has said and then building on it.
    • “Yes…and”
  • Not being afraid to get off message.
  • Game “3-legged dog”:
    • Improv exercise.
  • No matter what the question is, you can answer it in a way that you need to.
  • What are we offering:
    • What is the item, the piece, the process:
      • Have them break it down into 3-5 words.

[11:20] “Yes…and” further explained

  • Stray from “Yes…but”:
    • The minute someone has heard the “but” they negate everything said before it.
    • Using the word “and” instead of “but”:
      • Reframing that word for yourself can continue to keep energy moving forward which means you can accomplish more.

[13:18] Example of Andrew successfully using improv

  • Andrew was doing a series of workshops for outreach
    • Did one on status:
      • How you present yourself in a sales meeting
      • Uses a deck of cards as metaphor for how you can represent yourself:
        • An ace in your pocket.
        • Using the card in your pocket as an external device.

[16:20] Listening and objections

  • The improv mindset:
    • Ways that you can “yes, and” an objection.
    • Everything that someone gives you is an offer.
    • How you accept the offer as an individual.

 [17:24] Where can sellers go to learn more about improv?

  • Always different places in the city that teach different classes on improv:
    • Practices listening and more focused on getting on stage.
  • Andrew holds workshops that he does with other organizations:
    • More focused on what each individual is trying to accomplish.
  • Andrew holds his own Ted Talks:
    • Focuses on 3 topics:
      • Accepting and building.
      • Everything is an offer.

Additional Resources

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Sound editing and show notes produced by – ChirpSound