We have compared salespeople to cooks and their strategies to recipes and how your touches and customers are like your ingredients and the people who dine with you. But there are two more things a cook will need before she starts whipping up her secret sauce for a fantastic meal. You need to cook in a great kitchen with the right tools. Better said, you want a salesperson to work in a company with a supportive and exciting sales culture and has every cooking tool necessary in terms of sales technology.
Have you ever tried to cook in a new location for the first time? Perhaps at a rented vacation home, a friend’s house, or at your mother-in-law’s. You can recall how disorienting and frustrating it was trying to learn where everything is, how the stove cooks unevenly or they only have a metal spatula whereas you prefer a rubber one. That’s like a salesperson’s first day at a new job. It is an unavoidable and understandable step in the acclimation process. At some point, the cooks want to love they kitchen they are cooking in. Items are easy to find, there are people willing to help and you are excited to try preparing new meals to eat. Does your sales culture sound like this kind of kitchen, or is it a mess where the counters are messy, dishes are piled in the sink and you have to scrubs yesterday’s meal off the pans?
This kind of kitchen sounds icky, but so do some of our sales cultures. The sales team is viewed as a problem maker and not a problem solver. Nobody celebrates when a good sale is made. Sales reports are infrequent and difficult to read. Sales meetings, if we take the time to actually have them, are disjointed and ineffective. Asking a great salesperson to hit lofty goals in this type of environment is not impossible, but it is very difficult and nearly improbable. Would you eat a meal from a world-renowned chef if you observed her cooking in a filthy unkempt kitchen? You need to clean up your sales kitchen if you expect great meals to be served (take our Power Score Assessment to evaluate your “sales kitchen.)
What about our cooking utensils? This is probably the most overlooked aspect of evaluating how a meal was prepared, but it is quite essential. Our cooking utensils as salespeople are the everyday tools we take for granted. Our cell phone, laptop, work vehicle, presentations, etc. This is where we can see a lot of people cutting corners because salespeople act entitled and only want the best, right? Well, maybe, but that can be for a good reason. Appearance is everything and reliability is crucial. Yes, we still see salespeople with 4-year-old laptops and outdated presentation platforms that make the customer think that your company may have cash flow problems. It would seem silly as a sales coach to draw attention to something as basic as this, but I know that several of you are guilty of this. You cannot take short cuts when equipping your salespeople with the right tools? Would you expect a great cook to prepare your meal in a timely manner without modern appliances and utensils? Spend a few extra dollars and let your customers know that you have taste and style so that they will want to eat your sales meal.
Addressing the sales tools is as simple as addressing the kitchen utensils. Replace with new on a frequent basis so that the sale is never inhibited by something as basic as that. The kitchen, on the other hand, is where many of you will need help. It is time to let go of old methods and beliefs that do not, and probably have not, served you well. It is time to get everyone on board to let them know that sales are the most important thing. Cleaning up your sales kitchen may require some extra help.
At Scorecard Sales, we are making the world a better place through sales, and that includes your sales kitchen. For training and consulting, contact Aaron Jacobs (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get started.