In Part 1 of this blog, I recounted the tale of two teams of sales reps who went from a highly successful Intensive Test Drive with ConnectAndSell Lightning™— in which they learned to use the tried-and-true Breakthrough Script, pioneered by SavvyRoo CEO Noah Blumenthal, to set meeting after meeting — only to turn in a dismal meetings-set rate the following month. What could possibly have happened to have brought about this frightening plunge? Well, they drifted away from the Breakthrough Script.
Think about this for a moment: what if I gave you an ATM card and said, “You can use this anytime you want on any ATM machine that sports a ‘Bank of ConnectAndSell’ logo? Just stick it in, wait about 3 minutes, then — and this is really, really important — enter the following pin: 932735666673, and it will almost always spit out some money. Sometimes it will be zero dollars. (It’s a slightly fickle machine.) Sometimes it will be $100. It will average about $50. Don’t worry about what happens on any one use: you need to stick with it. But, hey, if you can do this simple thing 50 times a day, you’re making an average of $2,500 per day. What do you think?”
(For those who haven’t done the higher math, this is about $600,000 a year. Some people consider this to be a “good living.” Other people are more kick-ass than that, but hopefully they will bear with me and scale the example up to match their natural income level.)
Now, you might say, “Hold on there a minute, Chris. That big old string of digits (What was that again? I think it started with a 9, a 3, and a 2) just seems unnecessary. Can’t I just hit a big, green ‘Give me cash’ button and reap my just reward?”
And I might say, “Sorry, Charlie. Those 12 digits seem to be programmed right into the chip of this brand of ATM. I don’t know why. We didn’t try all the possible sequences: after all, there are a trillion or so combinations of 12 digits, and we’re not even sure that 12 digits is the right number. But we stumbled on this one, and while some folks get a little spooked every time they have to key in all those sixes in a row, it seems to work. It is true that you have to enter the numbers kind of gently — that seems to affect the payout too — but it’s the best we’ve found.”
If you give a pig a pancake… I mean, a tuna an ATM card
“Well,” you think to yourself, “this seems kind of silly. First, I’m never going to remember all those numbers, so I’d better write them down. And second, I don’t really believe that story about these numbers being so special. But what the heck. This guy keeps looking at me like, ‘What are you waiting for?’ So, I’ll give it a shot.”
And lo and behold, the first time that weird ATM spits out $27. Not $50, but averages work like that. The second time, zilch. The third time…”Whoa! Is that $108 I see emerging into the sunlight?” And on and on for 25 tries, each time carefully putting in those silly 12 digits. Who knows why they work, but they do. And sure enough, at the end of the day, the paper bag you remembered to bring, just in case, is stuffed with $2,108. Not $2,500, but, hey, that thing with averages again, right?
On day 2, reminder note in hand, the morning goes by just like day 1. You know better than to count your money when you’re sitting at the table, but you do. And there’s $1,666 in the bag. Wow!
Meander, diverge, stray
And then a little voice in your head says, “You know, that ‘6666’ part has never felt that comfortable to me. I’ll just break it up a little — maybe 6363. Yeah, I like that!” And sure enough, it seems to be OK. At the end of the day, there’s an additional $969 in the bag after another 13 turns at the money box. “See?” you think to yourself. “Those damned sixes weren’t really needed. This works just as well.”
By the end of day 3, you are convinced you’ve made some pretty good improvements to that original number sequence. You’ve added some padding that’s easy to remember: a little “111” action at the beginning that feels like a good warm-up that gets the fingers ready for that “932” business, which you’re strongly considering axing. You’ve cut out that awkward “735” already and replaced it with “750” — much easier to remember. You’ve kept your 6363, because that’s a clear winner. And as for that stupid “73” at the end, why bother?
The payouts don’t immediately drop to zero on day 3, maybe because you made a little change here and a little change there. This thing seems to work like that. But the last 10 tries did seem kind of disappointing, netting you all of $66. Well, Wednesdays always did kind of suck for going to the ATM, didn’t they?
Day 4 dawns bright, and you head confidently to the ATM with your new, shiny, comfortable, and easier-to-remember sequence: 1117506363, or something like that. Anyway, it sure feels better banging that in compared to that awful bunch of numbers from day 1. Yeah! Let’s hit it!
But wait! Where’s the money?!
Gist, essence, meaning
End of Day 4, and only $6.66 have trickled in. You think it over and realize the truth: that ATM was never very good, not really. Or maybe it ran out of money. You try old reliable 1117506363 very carefully. Nothing doing.
And you’re done.
My point is obvious. Some things work, but don’t work so well when you change them in ways you don’t understand. And drifting from what works can take you pretty quickly from solid results…to few results…to no results at all.
This is especially true in sales, where results are iffy in the best of circumstances. And when you drift in sales in order to be more comfortable, your numbers go down. When your numbers go down, you get uncomfortable. And when you get uncomfortable, you want to get comfortable again — so you drift some more toward doing what’s comfortable instead of what works.
And the ATM runs dry. For you, anyway. Right up until the person who is willing to put their comfort aside and just enter the real magic numbers (#932735666673) walks up and starts taking the money.
And you drift away…