October 7

Screenwriting Tips for Sellers: 5 Elements you Must Have to Move a Prospect to Action


Like a well-crafted movie or television show, a successful salesperson must grab a prospect’s attention, pique their interest and establish an emotional connection in order to move them to action.  Screenwriters know that there are 5 dramatic elements that must be present in order to engage and move audiences.  Make sure you can identify these 5 dramatic elements in your own sales conversations or presentations if you want to engage and move today’s busy prospects as well:

1. Interest

We’ve all met the prospect who lets us get through our entire presentation, only to announce “I’m not really looking for anything right now,” or “My business is just fine as it is.” Have we met the one person in the world who has no needs or desires? I doubt it.  Even where nothing seems to be at stake, like Seinfeld (the “show about nothing”) the characters are obsessed with any number of trivial interests and desires that come up.  People often lose sight of their own needs or sense of urgency when overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and decisions.  As salespeople, we are in a unique position to help our customers rediscover their interests by shining a light on opportunities and offering a fresh perspective.  Get more tips for discovering what prospects really “want” here.

2. Uncertainty

People are naturally curious about how things are going to turn out. A television series banks on that curiosity to keep viewers coming back week after week.  The use of the “cliffhanger” has risen to an art form in series like Homeland and The Good Wife.  But how can you use this technique?  Try incorporating uncertainty into your pitch or presentation by posing a question or introducing an insight. Give them a piece of the puzzle, just be sure not to solve it for them too soon.  See how to maximize curiosity in your sales conversations with a tips from my favorite cliff-hanger: Breaking Bad.

3. Emotion

People live for their dreams, hopes, and desires, not just practical solutions. How does what you sell connect to these?  People who sell knives aren’t selling just cooking utensils.  They are selling the possibility of cooking like a great chef!  Don’t discount the often-intangible benefits that can capture your client’s emotions.  These are often more powerful than logical, tangible features.  Now sure how to capture emotions?  Storytelling is a very powerful connector.  Check out tips on using stories effectively in sales here.

4. Conflict

Conflict is a key component of drama and used to move a story line forward.  If used correctly, it can also help move a sale forward. Perhaps the prospect is struggling with the idea of making such a large investment, even though it makes good sense.  Perhaps the prospect is unsure whether his team will adapt to the change your solution requires.  Both of these conditions produce good, healthy conflict.  Since most people are uncomfortable with indecision, acknowledging and exploring the conflict can tap into that human desire to solve the problem.

5. And…”Action!”

If you’ve identified and addressed the previous four steps your prospect should be ready to take action. If not, go back and review how to identify needs and create an atmosphere that promotes “authentic urgency” with a lesson from the Wolf of Wall Street!  Whatever your desired action is, an order, another meeting or information, be clear on what the next step is and make it easy for your prospect to take it.

photo credit: MikeMonello via photopin cc


breaking bad, Homeland, presentation skills, sales, sales presentations, sales skills, sales tips

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