July 18th, 2017 | by

At DiscoverOrg, we’re a bunch of self-proclaimed gluttons for learning. We love the power of video to quench our thirst for knowledge and enlighten us in the field of sales. We’ve come across 8 excellent TED talks that can do just that:

1. Richard St. John: 8 Secrets of Success

This three-minute video should be mandatory viewing for every new salesperson – and it’s an excellent reminder for the veterans too. St. John spent several years conducting hundreds of interviews to find out what successful people believe made them successful. He boiled it all down to 8 secrets.

We don’t want to give all those secrets away here, but you can bet the list includes passion and focus. These 8 principles can apply to many areas of business, and life in general – but in the field of sales, they are especially vital.

Find out the 8 secrets of success for salesmen here.

2. Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

When Duckworth left her high-powered job in management consulting, she took up another challenging position: teaching 7th graders. And she noticed something interesting: The smartest students weren’t necessarily the best performers. She came to the conclusion that a psychological and motivational approach was the best way to ensure all students succeeded – and that went for life in general, too. Success, Duckworth theorized, didn’t come from being the best or quickest learner. It came from perseverance.

She left the classroom for another career change: this time, on to graduate school to be a psychologist. She studied kids and adults in challenging settings and tried to predict who would be successful and why. After much study, Duckworth concluded that success didn’t come from good looks, health, or IQ. Smart people flake out.

Success is derived from grit. The funny thing is, not much is known about this unlikely path to success.

See how to bring grit perseverance to your workflow – and resulting success.

Ted Talks for Sales People

3. Enersto Sirolli: Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen!

Sirolli’s story is fascinating. He speaks primarily about his experiences in Africa, where he focused on helping business owners and entrepreneurs by helping business owners and entreperneurs learn to shut up and listen. His work there gave him incredible insight about what it takes to be successful in business.

We can all agree that sales is a very competitive field. Every salesperson is focused on reaching quotas and goals, motivated by personal agendas and incentives. Sirolli’s speech also serves as a reminder that the best companies are focused on the team rather than a single individual. A team works together to leverage each other’s skills and resources. It’s worth asking what this means for sales.

Learn how to help by watching this TED Talk video.

4. David Pogue: Simplicity Sells

David Pogue Ted Talk

In the spirit of Pogue’s Tedd Talk, we’ll keep this simple: simplicity sells. Pogue entertains his audience with a number of anecdotes demonstrating that the opposite is also true: convoluted, excessive content and strategies really don’t sell. And it’s an excellent reminder for salespeople, no matter what industry you’re in.

Are you in staffing? This is a good reminder that simply sending over one or two really outstanding candidates rather than sending 15 average candidates makes a massive difference in closing the deal.

In marketing? Try to advertise every single possible service for every possible industry you sell to. Or you could hone in on one or two key offerings and embrace your niche. Simplicity sells.

Get your dose of simplicity here.

5. Jack Vincent: A Sale is a Love Affair

Jack Vincent’s enthusiasm about the parallelism between finding love and finding (and closing) a sale is catching. He believes that the primary element of a sale is trust. Sales is all about relationship-building. There must be this intimate process of sparking interest, asking questions, listening, and solving problem – in the same way you would in a personal relationship.

A new perspective always presents a new opportunity to learn and grow in your field, and Vincent’s insight definitely comes from a fun yet insightful viewpoint.

Fall in love with sales here.

6. Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Sales TED Talks Shawn AchorKnown for his books about happiness, particularly the Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor is particularly illuminating in this video. He claims to knows the number one secret to high performance at work: gaining what he calls the “happy advantage.”

Achor suggests that it’s possible to rewire your brain to become more successful by becoming more positive. There are number of ways to boost your optimism and train your brain, and Achor’s speech is a compelling argument to do just that.

Want to be more successful in sales? You need to become a happier person first.

Find your happiness advantage here.

7. Donald Doane: The Science of Sales

Doane’s TED Talk speaks from his experience building a repeatable and sustainable sales process for startup companies. But his experience also applies to individual salespeople – in any sized company and any industry.

Specifically, Doane explores the journey scaling growth of the business from identifying sales opportunities through closing and growing those sales. He also recognizes the difficulty of hitting the ground running. Most people are going to start out at a crawl and must practice and train to achieve walking and then running.

Learn how to scale here.

8. Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons from an Ad Man

This last one is a gem. While there isn’t a tangible lesson to apply to sales here, there is great insight into the inner workings of the business world.

Sutherland, after spending years in the advertising industry, discusses the notion that value is relative. “All value is perceived value,” he says. It’s a familiar concept but one that’s frequently forgotten. An important reminder for both sales and marketing folks.

Get inspired here.

And if you really want your sales and marketing team to take off, talk with one of our dedicated sales team!

Read it: How to Use Executive Leadership Changes to Time Sales Outreach

[cta id=”12344″ color=”green” size=”full” align=”center”]


Integrate with DiscoverOrg, and stop wasting time on dated data.



Contact data and scoops for the right buyer — at the right time.


About the author

Steven Bryerton

Steven is responsible for Enterprise Sales at DiscoverOrg. Steve has grown with DiscoverOrg with positions in Research, Lead Generation, Marketing, and is now as the VP of Sales for the Company. Before joining the team at DiscoverOrg, he worked in sales and marketing at IT firms including Cxtec and Orion Systems Integrators. Steven graduated with a degree in computer engineering from the University of Miami, where he played for the club soccer team.