Composition vs Improvisation
Most of the time we are looking for order rather than chaos. Similar to musicians, we move between what is composed & what needs to be improvised. You may have felt the discomfort in moving between the two this year as teams reoriented during the pandemic. In sales, especially early stage, these two concepts are consistent, inseparable, and the line between them arbitrary.
Every time you speak to a customer, every time you start a month, & every time your company enters a new phase of growth we are on the frontline between order & disorder. Being able to operate inside of structure & non-structure at the same time is what fuels the turbine of sales success. You have a script, use it, the customer throws a curveball, adapt. You have a customer base, call them, there is a market force, adapt. You have a quota, hit it, company changes it, adapt. Where failure most often happens is in the journey between the defined state of work & the need to adapt - the composed vs the improvised.
The minute you step onto a sales floor you can tell who your top is because they are relaxed inside of the chaos. They understand variations happen and because of that have engaged in proper preparation and also have a well-planned approach for the problems they might face. The more they are exposed to disorder, the less intimidating it becomes, and the more likely they are to move through it. On the flip side, you can easily tell who doesn’t handle this well. Sometimes you see a throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air attitude where the rep will shrink into the belief that things are too out of their control, and other times you will see blame towards someone or something that names a story about how bad things are.
At a certain point, we are all operating with the same tools inside of the same system. Deploying these tools in the right way & at the right time is something a system can never totally account for. It is our relaxed creativity in bringing them to life that has an impact on our results. Respect composition, but learn to love improvisation, it’s the difference between good & great.