Many years ago, the McDonald’s restaurant corporation did a study of their chain’s most successful franchisees. They found something shocking.
With thousands of franchise locations, they had a diverse range of people that were franchise owners. They had former doctors, lawyers, mechanics, CPA’s, mortgage lenders, farmers, previously successful business owners, and just about every other category you can think of.
So who was the best performing group? And why?
The reason? Generally, doctors, lawyers, and lots of other professionals tend to be really “smart” people. They have ideas about how they can improve something…they are quick to form opinions and ideas about how anything could be made better. These groups had a higher tendency to tweak the McDonald’s formula away from the time tested process that McDonald’s had set up for successful franchisees.
On the flipside, farmers had lived and breathed process. Agricultural life is one giant process. Till, Plant, Irrigate, Harvest, Repeat. A farmer’s day could not be MORE routine oriented. Subsequently, they had no trouble embracing a pre-established routine. Their success was thereby assured by their adoption of a time tested, PROVEN formula.
Your sales career is no different. If you’re lucky enough to work at a company that has a defined process (that has a proven record of success), I encourage you to embrace the process, and follow it to the letter. Don’t try to reinvent, at least not for a couple years.
When you’ve become a raging wild success (thereby proving the veracity of the process), feel free to begin tweaking the process if you see opportunity for improvement. If your results improve, you may be able to alter the process for the better, but allow me to caution you: DO NOT engage in process improvement until you are an expert at the existing process. I’ve seen far too many smart people fail because they didn’t respect a time tested formula.
1.) Does your company have a clearly articulated sales process?
2.) Do you follow it to the letter?
3.) Do your top performers follow the process?
4.) If you don’t follow the process…why?