When you think of a ‘sales score,’ what comes to mind?
I recently asked my team this question, and they went right to the dictionary and said:
Score (noun): a number that expresses accomplishment (as in a game or test) or excellence (as in quality) either absolutely in points gained or by comparison to a standard
So, they said, a sales score is some type of system you keep where you mark the number of sales you’ve made, or the quality/effectiveness of the sale.
I can see how they thought that, and I can see how other people would think that, but when I talk about a sales score – that’s not what I mean.
Before I was a math teacher, I was a dancer. So my introduction to the concept of a score was through dance improvisation. Score in dance terms is used to describe a set-up or structure that defines certain things about the piece that is going to be improvised, in advance. The concept of a score shows up in a lot of contexts, and is also known by these words: guideline, a plan, a question, inspiration, (state of) play, structure, framework, a set of tools, game, substructure.
A script, as opposed to a score, is used to describe things that are traditionally fixed (like sheet music or a written theater play), defining not only what is going to happen from moment to moment, but even fixing the reading/interpretation of the text.
Sales by its very nature is improvisational – you simply cannot script a conversation with another person. At the same time, a masterful sales conversation does have structure – hence the use of the term “sales score.”
Sales requires a heightened sense of patience, self motivation, confidence, risk taking, and willingness to fail, as well as the willingness to succeed. You cannot know all the facts beforehand, and must ask a lot of questions. You must trust your intuition and be willing to speak the truth in the moment – which requires that your inner critic settle down so that you can relax. Stay open. Search for the deeper meaning. Pay close attention.
What happens inside a sales conversation – the choices, the yeses, the nos, the hesitations, the big reveals, the truths and the lies – they are our fascination and what we fall in love with as salespeople.
“A score is a plan. A score is a preparation. A score is a map, a topography, a terrain. A score is something to explore.” – Sarah Maxfield, MAD Museum
What if sales was something to explore? Something to play with? Next time you’re in a sales conversation, create your own score. What does that look like? How does it feel? How will you ease through these conversations? What stops you?
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