How to be consistently customer focussed

It was my fault. The smoke alarm going off whilst we were settling down for our supper. I’d forgotten the chicken which was still in the oven and smoking ferociously.

Silly me, but I engineered a discussion over dinner as to what the children would do if the smoke alarms went off at night-time. A really serious issue.

The children told me their elaborate plans one after the other.  They’d obviously thought about it before, good for them.

But what about doing it for real?  3am, dark, cold, scared, stress. It’s totally different when you’re facing the real scenario. And that’s the same for sales people who are taught their sales process in the classroom and are expected to perform for real the next day.

It doesn’t work that way.  So I asked the children to run through again verbally what they would do in the event of a fire.  I call this speed rehearsal and speakers and presenters do this to ensure they know their material and slides.  You simply talk it through either out loud or in your head quickly, like at 30 x speed you can achieve on your Sky+ remote control.

We then did some role play the next day, in the daylight. We were fully dressed as we descended the windows onto the conservatory roof and made our way to the safe area and it was fun too and not the slightest stressful as there was no fire. The children enjoyed themselves.

Next, we’re going to do it during the night-time as a mock-up and then I’m going to stage a real simulation when the family aren’t expecting it.  That’ll be scary and real.

The outcome?  The Archers will be expert at escaping when the fire alarms go off because we’ll have the process in the muscle.  It’ll be second nature or instinct. Muscle memory

In the same way, if you run a sales team, the selling process must be in their muscle, second nature, instinct.  If not, they’ll be too process focussed and not customer focussed which is a sin of the highest order.

Role-play continuously, at sales meetings, training events. Make them as real as possible, almost real life simulations.  Bring in actors to help create reality. Role-play, coach, practice, coach.

That way your team will all be customer focussed and that will bring success.

And all because I burnt the chicken, my poor family will be enduring a mock fire alarm test tonight. I hope they’re still talking to me in the morning.