How a Studio Session Helped Me Create a Sales Formula
Life really does imitate art—or at least my life as an artist has run parallel to my professional sales and sales consulting career in ways I could have never imagined. In fact, my sales formula was changed for the better because of a recording session.
When my band decided to record our album, we had a shoestring budget that we were extremely mindful of. (A team trying to maximize a limited budget to accomplish big things—sound familiar?) Since the studio was charging us by the day, we knew we had to make every minute count. We allocated money for three full days to record the album, with one day being dedicated to sound check and setting up our instruments.
Our band set out a goal to record eight tracks in two days. We knew that each song could possibly take between 8-10 takes, so based on that data, we figured we could potentially get eight usable tracks. Keep in mind, recording eight tracks takes most bands months to accomplish.
There were a lot of takeaways from the experience that made me the salesperson I am today. Here are some of them.
Practice Your Part—and Embrace Imperfections
In order to be able to hit our goal, every band member had to practice a lot on their own. For me, this meant running through songs until I had perfected them—and then practicing them even more. We couldn’t waste any time in the studio because time literally meant money.
But, not only did we have to have our parts down pat, we had to understand how our instrument affected the arrangement. This meant knowing our musical cues or not allowing a perceived mistake to ruin a take.
In sales, it’s the same thing. Before a meeting, you need to know everything you can about a potential customer. You have to be prepared. This also means knowing which questions to ask to get the information you need to speed up the sales cycle. Like recording an album, sales is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent performance.
And, it’s realizing that you can’t control everything. I could drop a drumstick during a take, but I have to recover and keep going because it could be the guitarist’s take we use. During a meeting, there will be questions you couldn’t know the client would ask. You have to keep going and do your best to address it, and not let it throw you off your game.
The Vibe Matters
Our album was meant to replicate our live performances. So, our songs had to have that vibe. This meant that no matter how prepared we were, we would always improvise something so the song would have some originality and feel fresh.
Your sales pitch and deck has to be delivered to a client in a way that makes them feel like this is a conversation between you two, not some stump pitch where you just inserted their name into specific slides.
But, there’s more to the vibe than just the delivery. You only have a short amount of time in meetings to suss out whether or not the client and your company would have a good partnership. Are your products a good solution for their pain points? This matters, or else you’re just wasting time.
The Sales Formula it Created
Fortunately, our recording session not only proved to me that stretch goals are achievable, it helped me create a formula I used in sales and as a sales consultant:
- Set very clear objectives. This is critical because it allows everyone on your team to understand what they’re working toward.
- Get team involvement. A good song becomes great when all the pieces fit perfectly together. Your sales team needs to do that too. Remember, your team has a lot of talented people who all have different strengths, so if you involve everyone in the process, they can help you create objectives that are realistic stretch goals.
- Set how you measure the win. What does success look like? What does your team need to do to cross the finish line and consider it a win? You need to write it out and define it.
- Set lead measures. If you set a goal to get 10 sales by the end of the week, you need to have a game plan that can get you there. Based on your historical data, you know that your company needs to make 100 calls to book ten meetings. Your sales team has a 50 percent close rate from meetings. Therefore, you need to make 200 calls in a week to book 20 meetings and close 10 new clients. But, is that possible? You always have to factor in what your team can physically do. As a band, we knew we couldn’t get any more than eight tracks in two days of playing. It just wasn’t possible. So, eight tracks—while still a stretch goal—was possible.
Remember, figuring out what exactly are the actions in preparation and influence—or what you can do to influence the sale ahead of time—is how you get really aggressive goals and achieve them. It’s also how a band can record eight kick-ass tracks in two days without breaking the bank.