A reader writes:
Thanks for the excellent articles... I haven't found a better source of ideas and information that I can readily use to coach my sales representatives.Actually, I think this reader is the one with the killer insights, and additional ones from me aren't required. His statement about comedians is to the point. I recently took a course in stand-up comedy, and it's very much about honing the same material over and over, and working on your timing.
I've noticed that my most effective sales representative follows a sales process that changes very little from call to call. He repeats the same words and phrases so often that it's become boring for me to listen to him! He's very effective with that sales process, though, because he is SO comfortable with his "material".
I love your idea for creating a script. I know our reps feel that they can wing it as they go, but the reality is that they'll do much better if they follow the same language again and again and again until they know it by heart.
I've been thinking about the analogy lately sales reps could be a bit like the traveling comedian who does a show in 3 different cities during the course of the week. Do they come up with new material for each show? Hell no. They have a routine that they go through, part by part, again and again, night after night. They'll follow the routine exactly until they know exactly how to throw out the punchline, where to pause, when to make that funny face, etc. After a time, they get SO GOOD at the routine (could do it in their sleep) that they're free to improvise a bit and go with the flow of the audience. But the key is that they improvise AFTER they've got the routine down pat, not improvise until they get a routine.
Thought I'd send that in case you have any killer insights you have to share on the subject! Thanks for the work and the great content you provide.
The same is true, by the way, of actors in long-running plays. Even though they're delivering the same words every night, each performance has its own flavor. When I was in college I had a summer job in a rock musical that ran for 117 performances. Every performance was different and felt different, even though the words were EXACTLY the same.