It may sound obvious but if you want a checklist for sales conversations to help guide you, you must USE the checklist.
To do that properly, the checklist must actually be in front of you.
The Fear of Stilted Conversations
Many salespeople go through sales training programs and walk away with a list of questions they should ask on sales calls, which are designed to guide the conversation.
As a rule, salespeople take these questions as a framework, and make an attempt to work them into the conversation using their own words.
In truth, this is what I intended when I started teaching salespeople to use a checklist. I did not want them to follow the checklist so rigorously that the conversations turned stilted and unnatural.
An Inadvertent A/B Test
I once provided training for a call center team of inexperienced salespeople, in which one of the team leaders decided to take the checklist I provided, turn it into a laminated sheet, and asked the members of her team to physically check the boxes as they went through the call.
I admit I was originally opposed to the idea, but it turned into an inadvertent A/B test: one group used a checklist while the others were allowed to have more organic conversations.
When we listened to the call recordings, I was blown away.
The group that did not have the checklist in front of them was all over the place. They were meandering through the calls, forgot questions and started to panic because they couldn’t remember what was supposed to come next. The prospective customers quickly lost patience with the salespeople that seemed lost.
While the group that used the checklist sounded crisp and clear and were able to have a focused conversation with engaged prospects.
That was a lightbulb moment for me and I adopted the idea of using checklists based on the results I saw.
Use Your Checklists
I’ve talked before about how hard it is to change your habits. To do successfully takes training and repetition. That process of change needs to be guided by a checklist, workflow, or chart that salespeople can follow to establish their desired habits.
Thus, if you are given a checklist, you must keep it in front of you during sales calls, and truly use it to guide your conversations.
If you, or your team, needs to focus on change and learn to use sales tools properly, consider the Software Sales Bootcamp.