A guest post by Mark Trinkle, President, Anthony Cole Training Group
An audible is a change in the offensive play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. Today, I thought of that in Chicago as my Uber driver made several deviations from her GPS directions in transporting me from Midway Airport into downtown.
As I rode along with the windows down on a beautiful and sunny day in the Windy City, my thoughts turned from sightseeing to salespeople…specifically, the need for salespeople to make changes on the fly, whether that be during the initial phone call, the first meeting or even at the time they present their solutions.
Anyone and everyone who has had any exposure to Anthony Cole Training Group knows we are completely sold on the importance of process. We have table-pounding conviction (a tip of the hat to my good friend, Mike Iverson in Atlanta) around how important it is for a business driven around and by sales to have certain key processes in place in term of their sales infrastructure. And, of course, we believe that sales training creates the most return on a client’s investment when the salespeople and sales managers are following a sales process where opportunities are moving through the funnel in a stage-based and milestone-centric manner. We believe that firms who don’t have a consistent sales process (everyone following the same steps and using the same terms to describe stages in the sales process) but who implement such a process can often see a 15% to 20% increase in new business sales.
But, here is something worth remembering – life is complicated. Ferris Bueller (can’t come to Chicago and not think of him) told us to slow down or we might miss something. And the same is true with selling. Sometimes you just need to slow down and do something unconventional. Sometimes you need to do something that is even contrary to what your training has taught you to do. Sometimes you just need to call an audible.
Let’s be clear – usually your training is going to be correct. But, sometimes, you will need to remember that selling is both science and art…and the art part means you might need to listen to your heart and occasionally let that heart override your mind. Of course, the best in the business know when to listen to their head and when to listen to their heart. And if they get it wrong every so often, so what? They get back up and keep going.
So, listen to your heart. Sometimes you will need to call an audible. Like now…forget the salad; there is a deep-dish pizza out there calling my name.