- April 6, 2006
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
I’m watching the third baseball game of the young season. My team, the Red Sox, is trailing in the seventh inning. As Red Sox games go, this is boring, if not depressing. The most prolific offense of the last three years, the Sox hadn’t scored a single run. Similar to some sales calls, it began badly.
The Red Sox? We just have faith that before the game is over, they’ll put some runs on the board. The sales call? It depends on the salesperson. You just need to have faith. It doesn’t matter how badly the call begins. You just need to have faith. Your salespeople don’t have to do anything wrong for a call to begin badly. If a prospect isn’t sharing, cooperating, answering questions or showing interest, that’s a bad start. If a prospect acts like a buyer, puts on a power play, treats the product like a commodity, or otherwise makes things difficult, that’s a bad start.
However, if your salespeople have faith and hang in there, there will be an opportunity on every call to ask a great question, make a fantastic point, change the momentum, or get the prospect’s attention. It’s just like baseball. At some point, in every game, the hitter will get his pitch, even if it isn’t until the bottom of the 9th inning.
The trick is for your salespeople to practice two situations – regularly. Hitters take situational batting practice and your salespeople must engage in situational sales practice. Role Playing. Practice situation number one involves getting your salespeople to ask a tough prospect some good, tough, timely questions, early in the call, in an attempt to get their attention early. The second practice situation involves getting your salespeople to be patient, waiting the prospect out, summarizing what they said and coming back with the good, tough, timely questions when the prospect has finished taking their position.
Bottom of the 7th and the Red Sox have taken the lead. You must have faith.
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