The most common objection I hear from business people is this:“Play sounds great, but we have to get paid. Can playing at work improve our sales numbers?”
The answer is yes. Here’s a case study…
My friend works for a marketing consulting company. They handle marketing execution for major brands. Each member of his team is required to do over 100 sales calls per day on behalf of their clients.
They started practicing improv techniques for an hour per week. Many major organizations have done this, like Google, Salesforce, Kaiser Permanente, NBA teams, etc. It helps improve communication and de-stigmatizes failure.
Here’s what my friend found after his team started practicing improv for an hour per m0nth:
Sales went WAY up.
They went from hitting an average of 70% of sales attainment goals set by clients, to 94%.
70% is what the sales team averaged for YEARS.
Improving sales by 24% is a MASSIVE increase. Like, mind-blowing.
Why did this happen?
According to my friend:“Morale is just so much higher. I’ve got 4 pages of stories from my co-workers, where improv put them in a better mood outside of lessons.”
They found that — even when they took an hour off to play — they never missed their sales quotas. Perhaps that was Parkinson’s law in effect (“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”), but my friend thinks that disconnecting for an hour had a positive effect on energy levels, and in turn made them more productive.
After one of the employees learned the concept of The Failure Bow (where you bow and yell out “I failed!” while everyone applauds for you), he said to my friend: “Man I wish you’d taught me that yesterday. This guy was super rude to me on the phone, and it had me down for the rest of the day. If I’d just stood up, taken a bow and said ‘I failed!’ and had everybody cheer for me, I would have felt better. Instead I was down all day long.”
The next day, that person did the Failure Bow. My friend applauded for him, and he smiled and went back to his desk.
It went on to be his most productive sales day at the company to date.