“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”
What is the one word that all personnel within a business should constantly have in their mind, and that should be the solid foundation upon which every department is built? Yep, you got it. ‘Consistency’. It is well-documented – and of course stands to reason – that consistency breeds success. Consistency of approach; consistency in planning; consistency in implementation, and of course consistency in effort and performance. Perhaps I’ve said ‘consistency’ with sufficient consistency to really get the message across – it’s pretty important!
Whilst there has been much research into why consistency matters in the field of Sales, in amongst the CRM, prospecting and worrying about hitting targets, there is one thing that seems to get lost – Sales Demos.
The importance of Sales Demos can be underappreciated, even by some of the most experienced Sales professionals. Where the burgeoning software industry in particular is concerned, they are only becoming more important in order to stand tall and get attention in a field where competition can be exceedingly fierce. As the first real opportunity for a prospect to see a product they could potentially be investing big money in, it is becoming abundantly clear to many people involved that mastering the Demo is a vital part of the Sales process and is an art form that demands much planning, patience and practise.
Similar to the world of Sales in general, if we apply consistency in our approach to Sales Demos, we see how we can begin to truly get the best out of them. As with all other parts of the process, it should begin in the coaching of the Sales Rep before they even dial in for the first time, and continue throughout the course of their tenure with the company through regular coaching and feedback sessions (not just once a year via a tedious annual appraisal). Of course, picking out positive and negative sales behaviours and providing commentary on how to improve and maximise potential is the way to go about this. Consistent coaching, leads to consistent practice, which leads to consistent performance.
Even better, the ability to be able to instantly show moments of best practice is absolutely key, as opposed to the alternative option – the ever-awkward “You should do it more like this, do you understand?”, “Er, yeah sure, so can I go now?” exchange that seems to find its way into coaching conversations with way too much regularity.
As with most of these things, however (and life in general), time seems to have a knack of getting in the way of a utopian vision, making the reality a lot more difficult. The resulting temptation to strike team coaching sessions off the schedule for ‘later’ when a report needs to be on the MD’s desk for 4:45pm can be overwhelming, but this is eating into the consistency with which employees can be given vital guidance and only leads to more malaise. It is key to be able to still provide that feedback even if there is no time for an in-depth one-to-one discussion.
To cut a long argument short – unified visions, unified goals and a unified effort make for a unified team and workplace. If managers are consistent enough in their message to employees, employees will be consistent enough in theirs to the prospect. Since it may be the difference between a six-figure deal and a ‘not now’, it’s hard argue that investing in this area wouldn’t be a small sacrifice for potentially huge gain.