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12 TED Talks Every Salesperson Should Watch … More than Once


What do you do to get better at selling?

Some people focus on developing stronger personal skills. Others invest time and effort in learning and then, polishing up various sales techniques, such as improving delivering presentations or other less obvious habits, for instance.

But I’d say, if you want to truly outshine the competition, then you just need to better understand your prospects.

You have to find out how they perceive you (and of course, how you could affect that perception), what influences their buying decisions and also, what process they go through when buying today (and how they’ll be doing it tomorrow).

So to help you with that I decided to tap into the wisdom of the brightest minds on this planet and collected 12 TED Talks that will transform your sales skills. Forever.

Intrigued? Well, block some time in your schedule, grab the favorite beverage and … start learning.

TED Talk #1. Are We in Control of Our Decisions?

What’s the one thing every salesperson struggles with?

Objections? Prospect’s fear of buying?

Or perhaps, their inability to make a decision?

Because, as it turns out, we’re not that good at making decisions after all. For example, when unable to make a call, we often select the default choice, regardless of what it is!

In this fantastic talk, behavioral economist and author Dan Ariely explains how we decide and shows examples how we can be manipulated into making a specific choice.

TED Talk #2. The Puzzle of Motivation

You already know that to make a sale you need to motivate a prospect into saying “yes”. But since traditional rewards such as bonuses or discounts slowly lose their impact on buyers, we need to develop new rewards to incentivize prospects.

And that’s what Dan Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, covers in this amazing talk.

TED Talk #3. The Walk from “No” to “Yes”

Closing the deal is a challenge for many sales people. From being afraid to ask for sale to relying on a prospect to take initiative, they struggle to get prospects to sign the dotted line.

This becomes even a harder problem when prospects begin to negotiate the deal.

William Ury, author of Getting Past No, offers some great advice on how to understand and connect with prospects to make the process of closing the deal a less of an effort.

TED Talk #4. Life Lessons from an Ad Man

According to Advertising Exec Rory Sutherland, most problems you try to overcome are actually problems of perception. And thus, sometimes instead of trying to improve something by expanding, upgrading or modifying it, we just need to change how people perceive it.

How does this relate to selling? Well, by finding ways to positively influence how prospects perceive problems you solve for them you can in fact, increase the likelihood of their positive response to your pitch.

TED Talk #5. Simplicity Sells

If you watched Dan Ariely’s talk (#1 on this list), you know that we suck at decision making. In this talk, author and presenter David Pogue expands on this topic, discussing that customers want simplicity. They find too many choices confusing, preventing them from moving the transaction forward.


TED Talk #6. The Science of Sales

A repeatable and scalable sales process gives companies a solid foundation to grow. After all, if you can’t make sales at a scale, begin to lose key sales people and then, lose even more money by having to constantly training new hires…you have a problem.

Donald Doane, CEO of ConnectYard, offers some insight as to how you could develop a scalable sales process to allow your company to grow.

TED Talk #7. A Sale is a Love Affair

What would you say if someone told you the future of sales is love? I bet you’d call them crazy…

But that’s the very concept author Jack Vincent shares in this fantastic talk. Jack compares salesmanship to romance and shows that to win at sales you have to treat every sale like a romance.

Intrigued? Launch the video...

TED Talk #8. What’s Next in Sales

The Sales Whisperer Wes Schaeffer begins his talk quoting Churchill, who once said: “the further back you can look, the farther forward you can see”. And then proceeds to show how sales used to be done, how it is done today and how we most likely will be selling tomorrow.

A must see!

TED Talk #9. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

We often judge others by their body language. We use their behavior to draw conclusions about them. And we do it all the time. Professor Albert Mehrabian concludes that 55 percent of communication actually takes place through body language (source).

In her fantastic talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy discusses that paying attention to what you’re communicating with the body language might improve outcomes of your sales interactions.

TED Talk #10. The Psychology of Your Future Self

We rarely think that we’re ever going to change.

Think back to some decisions you now regret making. You probably never assumed you’ll be the person you are now when taking them. And yet, as years had passed, you have changed. To a point that now you regret the decision.

In this talk, Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert discusses how we have difficulty imagining whom we’re going to be in the future, so we never consider change as a factor in decision making.

TED Talk #11. How to Make Stress Your Friend

We turned stress into a health enemy number one, responsible for anything from heart problems to failure in relationships.

Unfortunately, stress is omnipresent in every salespersons’s life.

In her 2013 talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal suggests that fear might not be that bad for us after all. She builds a case for seeing it as a positive and shows how reaching out to others works as a stress reducing mechanism.

TED Talk #12. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work

Most of us have a poor life – work balance. We work long hours and then, bring the work home with us…

Author and marketer Nigel Marsh offers some insight on how to break the vicious circle of working around the clock and develop a healthy life – work balance by making tiny choices about how we spend our days.

Erika Desmond
Erika Desmond

I bring 7 years of graphic design experience with 2 years of marketing experience from on the job training and experience. I've helped build Cirrus Insight into the company it is today from my start as a graphic design intern while earning my degree at Maryville College. Growing alongside Cirrus as a company has been an especially rewarding experience.

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