Milo Shapiro-The Most Creative Sale Ever


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Milo Shapiro.

About the interviewee

Milo Shapiro, motivational speaker, public speaking coach, and president of IMPROVenture In 2000, Milo left fifteen years in Information Technology to pursue his then-ten-year passion:  applying improvisation to business practices and development.
His training program, “TEAMprovising”, creates team connectedness, improved communication and boosted innovation for I.T. engineers at Sempra Energy, processing clerks at Computer Science Corporation, and nurses at HealthSouth.
As a member of the National Speakers Association, his interactive motivational speeches have delighted Southwest Airlines, Minolta, and General Dynamic.  His customized “Improvfessionals” duo keynote show uses ten improv games to prove ten points on sales, management, teamwork, or other topics.  Kodak, Pfizer, and Qualcomm have praised his creative methods.
In 2004, Milo launched the coaching side of his business “Public Dynamics”, helping individuals become more prepared, polished and powerful upon the platform including CEOs at Sharp Health Care.  A speech based on his book “Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!”  provides a fresh voice on this old topic.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).      

IMPROVentures is a San Diego based company run and operated solely by Milo Shapiro, though as needed, Milo brings on additional trained staff for specific events.

What type and size of companies do you have as clients?

Companies we’ve worked have varied from solopreneurs looking to improv their ability to make a good presentation to companies as large as Hyatt, Southwest Airlines,
Sharp Health Care, and Qualcomm.  Whether it’s the improv-based teambuiding or the motivational speeches or the public speaking skills coaching, there’s no particularindustry that needs it more than others.    {note:  I’m not sure how this differs from the third part in your last question so I just answered it here instead}

Tell us about selling and your business?

when you’re in the service industry, you’re selling yourself as much as your ability.  You might buy computer parts from a salesman whom you didn’t care for, but as a coach/trainer/speaker, if they don’t love me from my website, email, or phone call, it doesn’t matter much what my event with them could look like…it’s over.  Fortunately, I seem to be doing something right, especially as a public speaking skills coach, because I get an appointment with over 90% of the people I actually talk to…and generally only lose the other 10% to fee rates.  Conference speaking is different; the video and the theme of the conference are sometimes far more important than the conversation.

Tell us your most interesting story on creative selling?

In 2005, with eight months experience in public speaking skills coaching, I was recommended to the training department of Qualcomm for a full day training of high-level managers.  My resume couldn’t possibly compete on experience, so I decided to create the most interesting proposal for the most unusual training experience they had ever seen. I drew from many years as an improviser, creating a program like no other trainer would. The material and layout were outlandish, but I had nothing to lose!
Their reply:  “We have to tell you that, in all our years in training, our team has never seen a proposal like this. It’s not the right fit for this group but could we hold onto the proposal so we could share it with other groups?””
So, now I was on Qualcomm’s radar AND, in making the proposal so detailed with fun “top-ten lists” to run the training exercises, I realized that I’d pretty much outlined a book…so I went on to write it. “Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!” has become more important in my publicity than the Qualcomm recommendation ever could have been.

What would you tell others about being effective in selling and what are the lessons from your story for others?

Anyone can come across professional.  But standing out in the crowd is a talent.  You may not get every sale with it, but you’ll get the right ones.  Take chances and fail big…to succeed in the long run!
In fact, my motivational speech is called “We Gotta Fail…To Succeed!”

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