Seriously, it’s just bad etiquette.
Do you remember what age you were when you learned this life lesson? I was pretty young. The admonition was clear- “Don’t pee in the pool. If you do, you won’t be invited back.” My mom would call me out of the pool every so often and make me ‘try’ to go. Most of the time it was under great protest. Sometimes I was being stubborn, sometimes I was just having fun, often I was just comfortable and didn’t want to get out of the water.
My mom did that because it was the right thing to do. It was simply good etiquette; it kept the pool clean and it ensured a good experience for everyone; also, it was respectful to our host.
Sales Leaders: When was the last time you pulled your teams out of the pool to practice their craft? Do you have dedicated time set aside for role-play, skill coaching sessions, and additional training? Do you have a safe environment where your teams can practice new product or service launches and get feedback prior to engaging with real prospects? Do you have a process where new hires can prove themselves before they go out into the marketplace?
If you don’t periodically drag them out of the pool and make them ‘try’, they are likely peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. We don’t get invited back when prospects figure out what we’ve done. Do you want to take that kind of risk?
Salespeople: I know you hate role-playing. I realize that it can feel intimidating, embarrassing, and sometimes a bit silly. Here’s the thing though- even a little bit of practice breeds huge confidence. When was the last time you got feedback on your performance from a peer or leader, someone who knows what you are supposed to be saying? When was the last time you recorded yourself and watched your delivery?
You might have yourself convinced that no one will know if you slip up, but the reality is that people do know. Your prospect knows when you are prepared, confident, and knowledgable. They also know when you are not. Every time you go out there unprepared or underprepared you are peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. Maybe they won’t notice, but if they do, you’ll never be invited back. Do you want to take that kind of risk?
[bctt tweet=”Practicing your pitch in the field is like peeing in the prospect pool. Not Cool!”]
The point is that we need come out of the pool periodically to freshen up. Both sales leaders and salespeople need to set aside dedicated time to honing the craft of sales. Create a safe environment, outside the prospect pool, where we can practice, experiment, and learn. Set aside some time where we can build confidence, refine our pitch, and try out some new things that may make us more effective. Build an environment where it is ok to make mistakes and not fear judgement. Stop practicing in front of the prospect. Making sure you are prepared, confident and knowledgeable is just good etiquette. It creates a good experience, and it is respectful to your host.
Take a minute, right now, and add some time to your calendar for skills practice. Commit to not peeing in your prospect pool. One or two hours a month will make a world of difference.
Let me know how it goes.