7 motivational TED Talks for sales professionals

Posted in Sales techniques and processes.

There comes a time in any sales manager or field sales rep’s career where you might be feeling like you’re stuck in a sales rut. If you’re looking for some inspiration look no further than TED Talks. TED (technology, entertainment, design) is a global set of conferences where professional speakers from all kinds of backgrounds come together to provide talks on their research, personal experiences, studies and revolutionary ideas. These talks are often streamed live and can be found for free online via the TED website (https://www.ted.com/talks) or on their YouTube channel.

Here are seven TED Talks that will help motivate you to get out there and do more:

“8 secrets of success” by Richard St. John

Video: “8 secrets of success”

There are many people out there searching for the magic key that will unlock that elusive door to success. Richard St. John is a marketer and success analyst that was intrigued by the wide variety of people who chase after the same thing. After many years of research and over 500 interviews later, St. John provides insights from successful people on how they got to be where they are now.

“What it takes to be a great leader” by Roselinde Torres

Video: “What it takes to be a great leader”

Roselinde Torres makes a living out of examining what great leaders do and then teaches others how to do the same. During a study of 4,000 companies’ leadership development programs she discovered that the majority of these companies have failed to grow any leaders. In this TED Talk she dives into why leadership initiatives are failing despite increased investment in leadership programs, and what current great leaders are doing that makes them so different.

“Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast” by Tom Wujec

Video: “Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast”

Tom Wujec, software designer and student of systems models, discovered that all people have the ability to break down complex problems into simple parts and then put them back together. He made this discovery by asking people to explain the process of making toast step-by-step by drawing on a piece of blank paper. Wujec’s talk is really about how teams can collaborate and bring together their separate points of view about, for example, customer experience. This talk is great for sales teams who want to learn how to work together to find solutions to complex business problems.

“How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings” by David Grady

Video: “How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings”

Back in 2010 David Grady, an information security manager, created a funny viral video about conference calls that resonated with many people. It showed how many (if not most) meetings have fallen into a trap of inefficiency, interruptions and roundabout conversations. In his TED Talk he looks at how many of us feel powerless to change the way meetings are run and how we can get back to make meetings a place where positive, collaboration and actionable results can be achieved.

“The puzzle of motivation” by Dan Pink

Video: “The puzzle of motivation”

The work social scientists does can be extremely valuable in informing people how to run a business more effectively. Career analyst Dan Pink examines the candle problem (a cognitive performance test) created by psychologist Karl Duncker in 1945, as well as how traditional incentives like money do not work to truly motivate people. This talk is especially useful for sales managers looking to inspire their sales team to do better.

“Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!” by Ernesto Sirolli

Video: “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”

One wouldn’t think that the experiences of an aid worker in Africa back in the 1970s would have relevance for a sales rep today. Ernesto Sirolli’s talk is simultaneously a humorous and humbling look into the best way to help someone, no matter what you want the outcome to be. It will help sales reps understand that behind every sale there is a human being and that the best way to get what you want is to listen to what they want.

“Your body language shapes who you are” by Amy Cuddy

Video: “Your body language shapes who you are”

We should all know by now how influential body language is when creating impressions. For example, a weak handshake can immediately convey a lack of confidence. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist who relays valuable information about what she has observed about nonverbal human communication over many years in a fun, humorous way. Since field sales reps regularly meet with very important customers, this talk will make you more aware of how your body language can create or break down trust with customers.