Playing Sales Jazz

BY Gregg Baron
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What makes jazz different from almost any other kind of music? Improvisation. One of the most important things you can do to enhance your success in any situation is thinking in advance. That means planning, anticipating, practicing, and being more strategic.

If you were a professional jazz musician you would work on your craft. You would practice, rehearse, listen and watch your performances in an effort to get better and be prepared for your next performance. However, as a jazz musician, when you get into the performance, you must be able to improvise.

The same is true for a sales professional. You plan, anticipate and prepare before the sales call. Then you adjust and flex in the moment based on what you’re learning, hearing, seeing, and gathering as you are engaging with your prospect.

The recommendation is to “always go in with a plan, and expect to improvise.” This approach is called Sales Jazz. Sales Jazz addresses the real-​world need to remain focused and flexible throughout the process. That includes syncing to a buyer's behavioral style, adjusting the type of questions you ask and how you ask them, the time you have for the conversation, the solution path you intended to go down and essentially everything else.

We see extraordinary sales professionals:

  1. Anticipate, prepare, start the sales call with a clear plan
  2. Master Sales Jazz: improvise, flex, adapt and adjust as the invisible becomes visible
  3. Remain focused, balanced and adaptable throughout the process to optimally manage the value of the experience for the customer

The plan should typically start with Your Influence Outcome (what you want buyers to understand, believe and/​or do) in this next step, and overall. Then formulate your plan to include anything you already know about buyers' behavioral styles, expectations, experiences, needs, beliefs, priorities, preferences and histories.

Coaching point: Go into every sales situation prepared with a clear plan. Then be in the moment by listening strategically and improvise as needed to enhance the experience and the value you deliver for your audience.