The Sale Happens Backstage

| December 26, 2018

by Rob DiNinni

Relationships drive sales and sales drive relationships. So who’s driving?

We can go beyond the sales transaction mindset and connect more deeply where the power of relationships live and decisions are made. Neuroscience and psychology tell us our conscious mind (onstage) is predicated on reason and analysis while perception and passion are in the unconscious mind (backstage) where relationships are nurtured. Whether on a stage, on a sales call, or in line getting a caramel mocha cappuccino (hold the whip) the audience’s emotional state should be the underlying intention of every interaction. Now warm up your reading chops, open your heart, and let’s play!

Rob on stage with participants of Dept. of Veteran Affairs / courtesy StageCoach Improv

After 15 years in sales and improvisation, I realized the two worlds are intertwined. Improv, like sales, is looking for positive affirmations through body language and tonality that move a scene forward, building on both nonverbal and verbal cues. Communication is happening onstage and backstage through the mind’s eye. Both sales and improv disciplines share the same core elements; build on Yes, overcome objections or conflict, and find a resolution together. Did I mention together?

The most important person in the world in an improv acting scene is the person directly in front of you. By making them the primary focus, it enables a deeper understanding of their emotional state and motivation. Furthermore, the high stakes create drama and tension, which empowers you to genuinely listen with all your senses. When this happens, people feel valued and heard. Do you hear me? Empathy, curiosity, and playfulness emerge fueled by the backstage mind leaving a lasting sales impact. You feel me?

The tenet of improv is “yes . . . and.” This principle provides a platform to share and build on ideas while eliminating obstacles. “Yes” opens possibilities while “no” or “but” shuts down collaboration and impedes progress. Leave the butts in the chair! When you add the “why,” people buy in. When clients understand why something is happening, it deepens their cooperation. Why should they care? The “why” is the lightning rod that powers the relationship. Each interaction with a prospect, you’re building a connection. Zap!

When our assumptions are untethered and egos checked at the door, we can discover humor and our authentic voices. By letting our backstage build the relationship, your client feels heard; versus obsessing on just closing the sale, the sale will close itself. “Yes,” let go of control “and” trust your intuitions “because” the world is our stage and there’s no script.

And Scene!

Rob DiNinni is principal and founder at StageCoach Improv, a Boston-based firm delivering dynamic and interactive improv for business training and entertainment nationwide.

Rob DiNinni is an actor, improviser, comedian, educator, writer, and coach with over 15 years of corporate experience as an esteemed business development, sales, and marketing professional in the IT industry. As a founding member of StageCoach Improv, he has performed and facilitated corporate improv training, leadership development, team building, sales is improv, conflict resolution, and interactive entertainment since 2004. He also works closely with executives, clinicians, and medical schools providing improv, leadership, and communication skills coaching as an actor and educator.

StageCoach Improv has customized a specific set of exercises and techniques employed by improvisational actors designed to enable sales professionals to confidently present ideas, create stories, evoke emotion, and build relationships.














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