As any true sales professional knows, a “sale” does not just happen. It requires skillful planning, coordination, and precise orchestration to insure that several moving parts work together. In fact, I have often drawn the parallel to a play or a musical piece. They all have a structure, a path from beginning to conclusion, and an overall experience that taps a number of emotions.
I was recently attending a performance by our city’s symphony orchestra and began to consider how sales performance and musical performances require a high degree of orchestration. Now, the verb “orchestrate” was attached to two meanings when I looked up the word in the dictionary: or·ches·trate, a verb meaning to:
- arrange or score (music) for orchestral performance.
synonyms: arrange, adapt, score – “the piece was orchestrated by Mozart”
- arrange or direct the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, especially surreptitiously.
synonyms: organize, arrange, plan, set up, bring about, mobilize, mount, stage, stage-manage, mastermind, coordinate, direct, engineer, choreograph
“the organization is orchestrating a campaign of civil disobedience”
In Sales, we orchestrate the elements of the customers’ experience to produce a desired effect: the agreement to purchase. The sales process is the arrangement of several experiential elements designed to build the desire to purchase. In the musical world, it sometimes reveals itself as a jazz piece with some improvised segments and at other times as a grand symphony.
Each segment of the “the sale” requires some degree of “pre-arrangement” or “direction” to produce the desired effect or outcome. Think about orchestrating each of these elements:
- The enticement to visit the dealership
- The experience at the dealership
- The Test Drive
- The Trade Appraisal and Agreement
- The Financing Arrangements
- The F&I (2nd Sale) Component
- The Delivery Process
- Obtaining Referrals and Recommendations (Reviews)
Just like the score for a musical performance is made up of notes and chords that work in harmony to create a musical experience, the successful sales process leaves nothing to chance. It is a performance where the prospect is part of the adventure/journey with a secret desire for a happy ending. At the risk of stretching the metaphor, if the score has been written in a manner that is inviting and subsequently stimulating to both the emotions and intellect, the prospect will be caught up in the story and come to understand how his needs and wants are fully in sync with the product solution you are providing.
It’s critical that you have a clear picture of how each element of the sales process is going to unfold and how you will skillfully transition from one segment to the next. Every segment of the process, like every scene in a play or every song in a musical must be crafted to move the action forward. Key phrases and wordtracks deployed at the appropriate time are needed to build and maintain momentum as you move the customer to the final act (and the payoff for both you and the customer).
Begin thinking of your role in the sales process as that of composer, arranger, stage manager, special effects creator, and master of ceremonies. What the customer sees and hears is what appears on stage but to pull off the performance, a lot of work goes on backstage (which includes rehearsals, set decorations, and background music). Take this mindset into every detail of your interaction with every prospect and you will orchestrate a memorable experience for your customer who will show her appreciation with a standing ovation. And, of course, if you get a “standing ovation”, it means the customer has closed herself on the sale without any coercion or tricky techniques from you.