Listening to Clients: An Improviser’s Approach

July 12, 2017 General Info

It’s time!  You and I have this private moment together.  I’m so looking forward to sharing some ideas with you.  I have between 400 and 500 words to explore improv’s value for the modern day salesperson. “Madness!”, you shriek!  “A scant 400-500 words!?”, you scoff.  “Can it be done!?”, you bellow.  “Should it be attempted?!”, you [insert verb here].  “Are you wasting time writing these words instead of more valuable words?!” you accuse.

Yes. Yes. Yes. And, yes.

Let’s stop these shenanigans.  Let’s get down to business…and improv.  Let’s talk about your business and how improv, the art of making things up in-the-moment, can help.

Yep, it’s true.  Improv is just the art of creation in-the-moment.  It doesn’t have to be funny. It doesn’t have to leave you doubled over with giggles and gasping for air.  Improv doesn’t ask much from you. It does, however, ask you to listen.  All.  The.  Time.

Ideally, your contribution to an improvised scene is a response to what you hear.  Listening leads to understanding, and understanding helps you create a response tailored to the moment.  Listening is a big ol’ embrace of the moment.  You will know precisely what to give the moment because you are authentically with your scene partner, friend, or client.

Client?  Sure!  The improv I teach applies to places outside the theater and off the stage.  Our clients are our scene partners.  I often work with performers who see their partners as a hurdle, holding them back from improv comedy greatness.  Well, it’s the same with a client.  They are not the thing standing between you and a sale.  You can only reach the sale together.  That’s your destination–together.  First, however, comes listening.  What if we approach a potential client to listen?  When was the last time you focused on your client, listening to their needs, and their hopes?  Did you understand their dreams, or just nod your head, waiting for them to stop talking so you could jump in with a pitch?  Did you hear their fears, or were you inside your mind thinking about dinner, the kids, and Game of Thrones later tonight?

Take a second and think about the last time you truly felt heard and understood?  Personally, I find it rare.  There are so many distractions these days, someone who gifts you their full undivided attention is unique.  We can offer that for one another.  We can learn to be fully present with everyone.  Imagine what that could do for your business.  The people who are present with me are the ones with whom I want to do business.


This blog was written by Paul Burke from Blacktop Comedy.