5 Best TED Talks Sales Reps Must Watch in 2020

I know, I know. You are probably rolling your eyes after reading the title of the blog. Another list of best ted talks sales rep need to watch to get pumped up with motivation, right?


I’m not a big fan of those either. That’s why this blog doesn’t talk about motivation or inspiration. In fact, those are the two most overrated words used these days.

I’m going to inspire you just the way I inspired my team into watching these videos. Here’s how.

Let’s say I’m selling you a newspaper. I give you two options. You either buy digital for $50 or the print for $125.

Which one do you prefer? The cheaper one, I believe.

Now, let me add a third option.

What if I told you, you could purchase the print and digital version for $125? Naturally, you’d go for the third one, right?

Essentially, I’ve taken away your decision making power by offering you a third dummy option.

Much as we’d like to believe, decision-making isn’t as free a choice as we think it to be. And that’s what Dan Ariely attempts to convey in his TED talk.

That’s the kind of perspective-altering thinking these videos offer. The intention of these videos isn’t to pump you to work hard but to help you sharpen your skills as a salesperson.

1. Start with why | Simon Sinek

There’s a very high chance you’ve heard of this one before and with good reason. Start with why by Simon Sinek is not only a TED talk but also a book that got its place on the New York Times Best Seller list.

It deals with understanding the “why” of every action. The core of the talk—now an essential sales methodology for many sales teams—deals with the Golden Circle. It explores the “Why, How and What” of any decision made or action taken. It explains that you must have a clear vision of Why your business is uniquely valuable and How it offers said value to customers. And a salesperson, you must know What your business does. Simon explains how the Golden circle isn’t just a theory or a one-person opinion but purely about how the human brain is wired.

So the next time you do something, ask yourself why you are doing it, then decide how you are doing it to receive the outcome that you are aiming for. As a salesperson, you can improve your efficiency by asking yourself “why” before you reach out to a prospect.

People don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it - @simonsinek Click To Tweet

2. How to make work-life balance work | Nigel Marsh

As salespeople, work-life balance isn’t an ideal scenario. You are always on your toes and waiting to hear back from prospects. But the need for work-life balance is essential today more than ever, and Nigel makes a good case for it. He talks about the difference he saw in his life when he quit his job and stayed home with his wife and kids for a year. He learned two things:

1. Work-life balance was much more attainable when there was no work to be done.
2. It is crucial to carve out time for each facet of life.

Watch this video to be reminded that work is important, so is family time and some well-deserved “me time.”

Being more balanced doesn't mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life - Nigel Marsh Click To Tweet

3. How To Make Stress Your Friend | Kelly McGonigal

It would be an understatement to say that sales is a stressful job. The pressure of month-end targets, the unresponsive customers, increasing churn rate, losing out to competitors—salespeople deal with a sizable amount of stress on a daily basis. And stress is bad. Or so we believe.

Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, wants to change your opinion on stress. She believes the stress signals that your body exhibits are not, in fact, bad but good. In this 14-minute TED talk, she talks about how stress is preparing your body for action. If you’re a salesperson, give this a watch and make stress your friend.

How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can… Click To Tweet

4. 5 ways to kill your dreams by Bel Pesce

We all had our dreams shattered. At some point, we wanted to grow up to be the President, an astronaut, or a movie star. For those of you who achieved these dreams, kudos! But for most of us, those dreams remained just dreams. There are mainly five reasons why that happened, and Bel breaks them down in this video.

1. Believe in overnight success is the easiest way to kill your dreams.
2. Believe someone else has the answers for you.
3. Decide to settle when growth is guaranteed.
4. Believe the fault is someone else’s.
5. Believe that the only things that matter are the dreams themselves.

It serves a good lesson to anyone in sales where it’s always a constant hustle. Winning a deal requires constant nurturing for months and cannot be achieved overnight. It is tempting to give up when a prospect does not respond to emails or calls but following up will always pay off.

Achieving your dream is a momentary sensation, your life is not - @belpesce Click To Tweet

5. Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! by Ernesto Sirolli

Ernesto starts with a hilarious story about the days he spent in Zambia as part of aid work. He explains how they identified lack of agriculture as a problem and set out to solve it for the Zambians. What they did not realize was that the lack of agriculture was not accidental but intentional. Zambians did not grow crops as the animals would destroy them overnight, but they never sought to let the NGO folks know this simply because they never asked.

The story is, of course, entertaining but the underlying message is even more captivating. The easiest way to help someone is to shut up and listen to them. Their challenge might not be what you assume it is but something entirely different. And the only way to do this is to stay silent and listen.

As salespeople, we tend to keep talking until the prospect gives in. But that isn’t how it should be. Practice the art of listening on sales calls. Listen to the prospect explain what their challenges are, how it is affecting them and analyze the areas where you can help.

You have to learn how to get people to come and talk to you. You have to offer them confidentiality, privacy, you have to be fantastic at helping them, and then they will come in droves. - Ernesto Sirolli Click To Tweet

As we wind down from November into the super cozy month of December, grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch these videos. Let us know what you think of them and share your recommendations with us in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Cover illustration by Anandh Ravichandran

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