Chad Burmeister from Connect & Sell did a brave thing this past Wednesday.  At the AA-ISP Front Lines event in Denver, he played recordings of some of his own sales reps’ phone calls with prospects and asked a panel on stage to critique the calls.

Cringes and nervous laughter abounded.  Trish Bertuzzi from The Bridge Group (one of the panelists) reminded the audience that all of our sales teams make the same mistakes (reinforcing why constant training & coaching is so important).

But what struck me in the audience was just how important improvisational techniques are to a successful sales rep.

There’s no such thing as a script for a live sales call.  You need to have a plan, have a solid sense for where you want the call to go.  You need to know your messaging, and know generally the issues your customer is likely facing.

But coming up with the perfect words in real-time is extremely hard.

Few other people in your business have to act on their feet in this way.  Your CEO might have to do it on an analyst call or in a press interview.  But most everybody else (including marketing) can prepare their words in advance.

So should we be hiring comedy improv instructors to teach our sales and customer service teams to work on their feet?  How do we help reps become more comfortable having semi-unpredictable, real-time conversations but stick to the principles of your messaging and sales strategy?

Worth thinking about…