As a trainer and facilitator, I love it when I get to be the participant. I get to see new approaches and hear new ideas. That’s why when I met Julie Hansen, I appreciated that she has a different approach than most sales trainers I know. Julie helps sellers in ways I had never considered and her ideas are slightly different than mine.  Julie uses drama techniques to help sellers be more engaging and memorable. In an activity I witnessed she had a group using improv to review key ideas from the meeting the day prior.

In this post Julie talks about drama…and how to incorporate relevant drama into your sales conversations…

The Power of Using Drama in Sales

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

—    Alfred Hitchcock, director


“Julie, salespeople are dramatic enough,” a sales manager said to me after reading the title of this article.  He may be right, but more often than not the drama gets hammered out of our calls and presentations in an effort to appear more “real” or “professional.”  The result? I’ve accompanied sellers on calls that are so dull and unmemorable that even I had a hard time recalling it the next day – much less the client!  Most of the drama in sales is misplaced.  Ever seen a salesperson who has just lost a big account or had their commission structure changed?  Now those are some Oscar-worthy performances!

 Drama doesn’t have to equal unprofessional, phony or contrived.  There is drama all around us in life, and business is no different.  Unfortunately, many salespeople have been schooled to check their dramatic tendencies at the client’s door, which is precisely where it can be most effective if used tactically.  Why? Look at a definition of drama:

 A situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting or striking interest or results. (

 Aren’t those words, emotional, vivid, of striking interest words you’d love to have your client associate with you, your product or service?

 Drama engages people; it draws us in.  We identify with and care about the character.  Often they have great challenges to overcome, allowing us to connect with them emotionally and experience their journey with them.   Importantly, we become invested in the outcome.

 Instead of leaving prospects flat with another lifeless and forgettable presentation, try engaging your prospect in a dramatic journey that draws them in, gets them invested in the outcome and motivates them to take action.

 How do you add drama?

 In a word: conflict.  A good drama has to have conflict which leads to increasing tension before it finally resolves.  In sales we are often too quick to iron out conflict and jump to the resolution.  The following acting technique will help you leverage the benefits of drama in a way that produces results:

 Raising the stakes

 Raising the stakes involves making a series of associations that escalate the importance of making a decision and the consequences of either indecision or a poor decision.

Movies are a great example of this technique: If the hero doesn’t find the bomb by midnight, the city will be destroyed. If the city is destroyed, the country will go to war.  If the country goes to war… You’ve all seen this movie, right? The stakes keep getting higher until it is inconceivable that the hero will NOT do everything within his power to find the bomb!  A movie where little is at stake rarely wins awards.

 In the same way, a presentation or sales call that doesn’t drive home what is really at stake for your prospect rarely sells.  If you have a genuine belief that your product or service can help a prospect avoid a negative outcome and a true desire to prevent them from suffering the consequences of a bad decision, consider adding drama to your sales tool kit.  Drama.  It’s not just for IN the office any more.

Now I’m not one to intentionally introduce conflict – it just seems to follow me 🙂 How about you, do you add drama into your sales conversations?

A bit more information on Julie Hansen:

ulie Hansen brings a whole new approach to sales training by helping sellers engage and persuade busy decision-makers with confidence using the power of the performer.  She is the author of ACT Like a Sales Pro, a finalist for “Top Sales and Marketing Book of 2011” and the founder of Acting for Sales.  A popular speaker and workshop facilitator, Julie has been featured on NBC and in publications across the globe, including Selling Power and Entrepreneur Magazine, South Africa.  For more info visit or contact Julie at