Sales Lessons from a Heisman Winner
In his Heisman acceptance speech Caleb Williams said, “Don’t get bored with consistency.”
His insight is valuable for sales performance.
Most people tell me that it is not possible to have your questions for a sales call prepared in advance.
While it’s true that no plan survives first contact with reality, it is not true that you should improvise your questions on sales calls.
Quite the opposite is true based on review of thousands of hours of sales game film.
Some questions are met with willing compliance.
Some questions create unnecessary resistance and harm rapport.
Sales Lessons from Comedians
Comedians find that while they think 100% of their material is funny, audiences only laugh at a minority of the jokes.
Since using untested material introduces risk into the performances, comedians test their material in small venues. They discard what doesn’t work and keep the few jokes that get laughs consistently.
Salespeople are best served to do the same.
Call recordings make it clear that improvised sales calls are likely to create negative results, while prepared questions succeed on a high percentage plays.
As an example, if you ask a particularly difficult question that requires a buyer to be vulnerable, your question will be most effective if it includes an expression of vulnerability on your part. Of course, you also need to pull left.
Sales Principle: If you want someone to be vulnerable, be vulnerable first.
When asking about the cost of doing nothing for example, you might ask the question this way:
- Be vulnerable: “I have worked with a number of insurance companies and everyone does cost benefit analysis in slightly different ways. I could use some help.” (Your tone needs to reflect your vulnerability, too.)
- Be left: “You haven’t mentioned any cost associated with what we are discussing. Is that because there is no financial impact related to how it’s done now?”
In the heat of the moment, an improvised question will not include the nuance of language and tone required.
Preparation to this extent also helps when you have to improvise.
Don’t get bored with consistency. Follow Caleb’s example for success in 2023!
We will cover the principles behind effective sales questions at the next Software Sales Bootcamp.
Free download: Best of Discovery Call Questions