Now, more than ever, we are expected to pivot quickly to survive and thrive AND be of service to our clients and prospects.
Look at what’s going on in the world in general. We are in constant uncertainty. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had to revise proposals more than twice—even three times—because of the prospects’ state of mind and inability to make decisions. That trickles down.
Are you going to go into fight, flight, freeze, or what I call “freestyle” mode?
Improv for Agility
Improv skills give us the ability to improve our agility (and “freestyle”), as well as our ability to solve problems for our clients.
Selling has been more difficult than usual for most of us. Instead of “freezing,” I started calling clients and prospects to find out what they THOUGHT they needed.
A lot of what I’ve heard is that organizations need help with re-onboarding their teams or stepping up the WFH (work-from-home) situation. Some have said they won’t spend money on travel and not spend as much on training UNLESS the training could be virtual for the whole team.
For a company like ours, that means we had to pivot our products and services. We had to listen and validate client concerns.
It’s okay to change your business model. It’s more than okay. It’s necessary and that requires the ability to change and adapt quickly.
Several years ago our parent company, Carolina Improv, was challenged with how to sell improv-based training to organizations. Improv was considered frivolous without ROI. They didn’t understand the value because we couldn’t articulate (or prove) it properly.
From a marketing perspective, words matter. We started with customer service training programs called Spontaneous Service and Spontaneous Diffusion, followed by Spontaneous Selling. Additionally, we pivoted by re-branding our training division to “Pivot10 Results.” Clients want results and pivot is another word for improv! Ironically, we did this in 2016, way before the word “pivot” became widely used during the pandemic
And now in 2020, we had to pivot again by making our programs virtual. It was a challenge to wrap my head around how to make improv a virtual program. Thankfully, we had no choice but to make it happen … and we did.
Before I tell you about the Spontaneous Selling program, allow me to first unpack the word “spontaneous.”
The definition of “spontaneous” is “coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned: a spontaneous burst of applause.”
You constantly hear the phrase “know, like and trust,” but how do we get there? Being natural without premeditating a conversation is spontaneous and quickly creates trust because when you’re in a spontaneous mode, it feels unplanned to others vs scripted. The realness of that creates a sense of safety since scripting can create apprehension or fight/flight/freeze mode.
You are wired to be spontaneous. That part of your brain muscle will atrophy without exercise and practice. There are exercises you can do to become more spontaneous, specifically in the areas of active listening, observation and behavioral studying.
We teach this in our Spontaneous Selling courses. I should really say “we facilitate this” because you already have the skillset and our job is to help re-train your brain to apply your innate abilities.
The results we’ve seen from our training sessions have been immediate, with instant “light bulbs” going off for our participants. The most common reactions have included:
- “Wow, I’m not a very good listener”
- “Boy, do I say ‘but’ a lot”
- “I ask too many questions”
- “I talk too much.”
De-Programming Not Thinking
After we drive home the importance of active communication, validation and collaboration, we start working on storytelling and problem-solving skills.
There’s a lot of transformation in the problem solving and critical thinking exercises because we show participants how to solve problems in new ways and, in essence, we de-program their way of thinking …. Or NOT thinking. We successfully help them improve conversations and problem solving by getting employees (at all levels) off their scripts.
Ready to put spontaneity back into your conversations and relationships?
Enroll your team in one of our live (SpontaneousSelling.com), virtual programs
OR sign up for our recorded program at Sales Gravy University!
MORE ABOUT GINA TRIMARCO
Gina Trimarco, CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company, is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. A Chicago native, she was recruited to Myrtle Beach South Carolina in 2007 to take over an IMAX theater after successfully turning around the one at Navy Pier. When the economy crashed in 2008 she opted to do something seemingly impossible to many by starting an unproven concept business instead of finding a new job. That business, Carolina Improv Company (CIC), has been #1 on TripAdvisor for Nightlife Attractions in Myrtle Beach, SC since 2010. Soon after that, she founded Pivot10 Results, a training and strategy company that helps businesses and executives shift from people problems to performance results. through soft skills training and coaching. She graduated from DePaul University and studied at Second City while pursuing her degree in Communications. Trimarco produces and hosts two podcasts: The Pivotal Leader is and Women Your Mother Warned You About. She also is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, a contributor to Forbes.com and TrainingMagazine.com, as well as a Vistage Worldwide member and official Vistage Worldwide speaker.