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How Similar is a Course on Acting Compared to Selling?

Traditional Sales Training teaches you how to: speak; when to speak; what to say when speaking; how to respond to questions; how to dress; often making you read scripts; all with the goal of generating trust through believability. You just never stop playing the role--sales representative.

What do you think? - by John Voris
Well, that hits home.

My sister is an actress. I saw her play Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a couple of years ago and her performance blew me away. She seems to have a natural ability to assume roles on stage the exact shadow (think Jungian here) of her everyday persona.

That said, I observed her a few years ago when she was selling real estate. She lacked skills and understanding and, in my view, was just not cut out for sales. I was not involved in her training but what I witnessed was an adversarial mindset bent on finding manipulative sound bytes as if those were the keys to selling.

I once watched an interview with Marlon Brando and he went out of his way to downplay the skills of acting. He said "Everybody is an actor."

There are contexts where I would agree with that. But NOT in every context. - by Gary A Boye
Well, that hits home.

My sister is an actress. I saw her play Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a couple of years ago and her performance blew me away. She seems to have a natural ability to assume roles on stage the exact shadow (think Jungian here) of her everyday persona.

That said, I observed her a few years ago when she was selling real estate. She lacked skills and understanding and, in my view, was just not cut out for sales. I was not involved in her training but what I witnessed was an adversarial mindset bent on finding manipulative sound bytes as if those were the keys to selling.

I once watched an interview with Marlon Brando and he went out of his way to downplay the skills of acting. He said "Everybody is an actor."

There are contexts where I would agree with that. But NOT in every context.
Thanks for your reply.

I agree that actors may not be able to sell and sellers may not be able to act on stage. (My daughter is also an actress but can't sell--she cannot cause struggle in the lives of others.)

However, my focus was comparing sitting in a sales seminar and sitting in an acting seminar. Can a comparison be made?

In your opinion is it true? Second, could we not borrow the wealth of information taught in acting colleges to be used to teach sales techniques, if a comparison can be made? - by John Voris
I would say that selling is acting in so much as the role that the salesperson necessarily plays is the one that makes the prospect feel comfortable with the salesperson.

This does not equate selling with acting, nor acting will selling. It is only to say that selling is about making the prospect comfortable enough with the salesperson to receive the information about the benefits of the product so as to be able to evaluate the presented solution objectively. - by thesalesgiant
I would say that selling is acting in so much as the role that the salesperson necessarily plays is the one that makes the prospect feel comfortable with the salesperson.

This does not equate selling with acting, nor acting will selling. It is only to say that selling is about making the prospect comfortable enough with the salesperson to receive the information about the benefits of the product so as to be able to evaluate the presented solution objectively.
I would agree with all you said, especially when you equate them both through the catalyst of an acting role.

An actor may certainly play a role to make the audience feel comfortable.

The actor must also play a role to sell the audience on his or her idea.

Ownership is first a possessed idea with the exchange of the object as the token of the agreement.

What happens when someone grabs your cart in a store by accident? The cart snatcher admits the mistake, apologizes and gives YOUR cart back. You gladly accept the apology, after all it was YOUR cart.

Why was it your cart? Because it held YOUR decisions represented by the things in the basket: for every object in the basket was the idea it represented and YOUR decision owned it.

Audience or Prospect, you must play a role as either actor in a theater or sales agent. Either way--they must buy your ideas.

However, where I disagree is by suggesting their closer than you think. - by John Voris
Interesting question John.

I certainly have known some sales people who thought they were celebrities. And some who were prima donnas.

Greg - by Greg Woodley
I would add that salespeople who primarily see themselves as actors are likely to be seen by their prospects as actors. This has a seriously detrimental effect on their ability to gain trust which is a product of authenticity. - by thesalesgiant
I would add that salespeople who primarily see themselves as actors are likely to be seen by their prospects as actors. This has a seriously detrimental effect on their ability to gain trust which is a product of authenticity.

I certainly agree. And this subject is a thread all unto itself however, the question was:

How Similar is a Course on Acting Compared to Selling?

If a sales course teaches you how to dress; what to say, when to say it, and the words to use, isn't that part of what an acting class does?

I was just exploring the similarities.

Graduating either curriculum, does not guarantee anyone will be proficient in the application of what they have learned.

If an actor appears acting, he or she has not yet mastered the craft. - by John Voris
How Similar is a Course on Acting Compared to Selling?
I imagine we can find plenty of instruction (courses, workshops, books, etc.) on both acting and selling that;
"teaches you how to: speak; when to speak; what to say when speaking; how to respond to questions; how to dress; often making you read scripts; all with the goal of generating trust through believability that fit that description they"
I also imagine that if we were to compare those types of courses we could agree that in design they are similar.

With that being said, in my opinion high quality sales instruction offers us "understanding" which by design is not similar at all to the types of courses mentioned previously. - by Jeff Blackwell
With that being said, in my opinion high quality sales instruction offers us "understanding" which by design is not similar at all to the types of courses mentioned previously.
It is impossible to overemphasize just how true that statement is. - by Gary A Boye
It is impossible to overemphasize just how true that statement is.

Hey Gary & Jeff,

I agree.

For me, the disconnect between such courses and these "understandings" are so severe they qualify as a farce. A farce that promises false hope for sales trainees, while lining the pockets of these trainers who are making a very nice living keeping the illusion alive.

IMO this is why salespractice is so valuable. - by John Voris
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