As I spoke about my experience at FranklinCovey in my previous article, the #1 salesperson was also the most active person on phones I’ve ever met. At the time I didn’t understand the amazing level of persistence and diligence Gretchen had for phone calls…that is until I recently spoke with Cameron Baird the COO of Griffin Hill (one of the premier sales training companies in the U.S.)
I asked Cameron what the single most important stat is to measure in viewing the ongoing success of a salesperson or sales team.
His response was instant — “Scheduled Next Events”
My next question was, “Can you describe what that means? What is a Scheduled Next Event?” With a statistic so important I had to know all the details and inner workings of what this meant.
There are a couple of key components to a “Scheduled Next Event” specifically:
- Purpose Mutually Understood
Date and time are pretty straight forward. Let’s dissect location and purpose mutually understood.
Location can either be a physical location, phone call, or video conferencing. In-person meetings are always the most effective. Video conferencing comes in second place and phone calls are the final option. Regardless of location, the key is to make sure the calendar invite is very specific and eliminates any confusion. If the location is a video conference call then make sure the other party has all of the necessary links, cameras, technology, and downloads. Instructions can be clearly spelled out directly in the invitation.
Purpose Mutually Understood is key in successful sales. It alleviates friction in the sales process, sets the expectation toward the close, and qualifies the interest of the prospect. This step takes some clarification with the client.
The principles that make Scheduled Next Event so effective include the Law of Human Performance: People perform to deadlines. It’s just a fact. So, create a deadline called a calendar invite. How many times have you seen an old friend and said, “Hey we should get together some time.” and then promptly forgot to put something on the calendar. Those meeting rarely, if ever, happen. Next time you see one of those friends pull out your phone and apply theses principles (Date, Time, Location, and Purpose Mutually Understood — to reconnect) and see what your success rate is. Following this process also gives the salesperson credibility, saves a lot of time and headache, and dramatically increases the likelihood of advancing the sale.
An example of an effective Scheduled Next Event is
~ Let’s get together to talk about your goals and priorities… How does Thursday morning look for you?
- Yeah, Thursday morning is open.
~ Great, would 9:00 or 10:00 work better to dig into your priorities and identify how we can help you achieve your goals?
- 9:00 works great
When Griffin Hill does the research they find that, even though sales teams think they are being effective, it is often less than 10% of the current prospects with a Scheduled Next Event that include all four elements.
Sales teams can become predictive about sales when they implement the type of sales system Griffin Hill teaches. In most cases, salespeople can speed up the sales cycle by as much as 66%. The key is getting standardized systems to be fully integrated into sales teams.
This is part of the systematic approach that Griffin Hill deploys in its highly effective sales training. Dr. Scott Baird, Founder of Griffin Hill, said, “We are all the product of the systems we employ. We can never reach a level of achievement higher than the quality of our systems.”
Finally, I asked Cameron in one sentence what is the most important thing he wanted to tell sales managers and sales teams. His thoughtful response was, “Keep forward sales momentum by continually having a minimum of 15 Scheduled Next Events.”