“Say” vs. “Do”

By March 16, 2018Uncategorized

Judge a person by what they do, not by what they say — right?

Actions speak louder than words – pretty much everyone is in agreement on this one.

Then why is what sales reps “do” far less important than what they “say” when it comes to winning?

The things your sales reps “do” – get up early, go to bed late, research accounts, prospect, set appointments, make timely follow-ups, send out quotes, proposals, contracts etc. – don’t help them increase their win rates.

Sure, if it’s a mature market and the competition drops the ball you can pick up a deal here and there. And by showing up, you’ll get at least a few deals. Every squirrel gets a nut. In a new space where your competition is not defined and you are selling a new idea, you won’t even get these scraps.

Of course hustle is good, but out-executing the competition on “do” stuff is a weak strategy. “Do” stuff is all about efficiency – it helps you work more sales cycles. It doesn’t help you sell better.

A “do” strategy helps you sell badly faster.

If you play in more deals you will win more deals at your current win rate, but you’re leaving a lot of deals on the table you could have won if you were selling well. More importantly in the long run are the deals you lost because of unprepared reps – if they waste your prospect’s precious time, your company won’t be invited you back and you’ll be locked out of those accounts.

So, how do reps sell better and have a higher win rate? Providing helpful insights and relevant stories help prospects think about their situation differently and value what a rep brings to the table.

Insights and stories is the “say” stuff that moves prospects to action. Reps that figure this out are reps with high win rates.

“But wait! Customers come to us knowing what they want,” you say. “Everyone knows these savvy prospects have done their research and are 60% of the way through their sales cycle! Our job is to make it easy for them to buy.”

If prospects already know exactly what they need and how to implement it successfully and your reps spend half their time negotiating discounts, give your prospects a self-service option online. Save yourself the expense of a sales team.

If, on the other hand, prospects need help figuring things out, arm your reps for the important conversations where prospects are facing complexity and unknowns and your team’s expertise will help them make good business decisions.

This is where good reps shine and where a significant portion of a company’s sales investment should be focused.

Where do you invest? How do you skill-up reps for these difficult-to-execute conversations? How do you prepare a rep to credibly advise prospects on how to think about their situation and their best course of action to run a better business?

The only thing that helps sales reps have better conversations is to practice having better conversations. In other words, role-play.

Role-play works but it hasn’t been widely and frequently used for two reasons. One, historically it has been hard to scale. Two, sales reps don’t like being put on the spot in front of their peers while they learn new stories and talk tracks.

But things have changed. Cloud-based role-play automation systems directly address these role-play shortcomings. They use webcams / screencasts for private practicing as well as sharing and coaching workflows to make role-playing scalable and less stressful.

These systems make it easy for your sales teams to focus on things that move the win-rate needle and – rather than locking your team out of accounts – help them get them invited back again and again.

So, back to the original question above – should we really judge people by what they “say” rather than what they “do?”

The answer is “no” for the company but “yes” for the sales rep.

Judge a company by what it does – do they make reliable products? Do they give good advice? Do they meet their deadlines? Do they fix things when they break?

Judge the sales reps by how well they translate all the hard work their company does into relevant, compelling insights and stories that help shape how prospects define their problems and solutions. This is the sales reps most important job – the “say” stuff — and this is what drives win rates.

To learn how a role-play automation system could work for you, please contact us.


Paul McGhee founded SharperAx in 2013. SharperAx develops role-play automation software.