Advance the Ball

In our tip of the week last week we talked about executing the perfect elevator speech. At Griffin Hill we call this the Case Open Routine and it is the first routine in our sales process. But how do you know if your Case Open Routine is effective?

Successful completion means you stimulate interest and the suspect gives you permission to advance to the next stage of the sales process. The best example of this is a scheduled next event.

Reaching a process milestone is a cause for celebration. There are only six routines in the Griffin Hill Sales Process, the Case Open Routine, the Needs Audit Routine, the Solution Presentation Routine, the Adapted Solution Routine, the Closing Interaction, and the Fulfillment and Follow-Up Routine. Reaching a process milestone is like getting a first down in football.

In football, the offense has four plays to advance the ball by at least 10 yards. Advancing the ball by 10 yards or more moves the team closer to the end zone and the team is awarded a new set of four plays or downs. Getting a new set of downs gives the team an opportunity to continue its march toward the end zone. In the same way, advancement in the sales process marks progress toward the goal and is sufficient to earn the successful salesperson a new set of plays to help them advance the sale toward the goal of closing.

New Marketing Campaign Launched

Orem, Utah March 1st 2011

Griffin Hill announces the launch of its new marketing campaign. Teaming up with Bruce Law of Sprout Marketing the Griffin Hill “Our Story” campaign is set to hit newsstands this month. The first Ad which highlights Griffin Hill’s relationship with client IntegraCore will be featured in Utah Business Magazine this month. In the following months more Ads will be released featuring other Griffin Hill clients.

Included in the Griffin Hill marketing campaign is a newly developed website, along with a user friendly web address. You can now access the Griffin Hill website by typing


About Griffin Hill

Griffin Hill is a professional sales consultancy that dramatically improves human and organizational performance. Businesses, organizations and teams rely on the proven, scientific methods of company founder, Dr. Scott Baird and sports performance consultant, Dr. Craig Manning, to achieve rapid, sustainable revenue growth, shortened sales cycles and consistently higher performance. Customers begin with an initial Bootcamp to learn Griffin Hill’s proprietary Performance Platform™ of processes, plays, metrics and coaching. Customers then receive ongoing weekly coaching to assure those skills are mastered. Since 1980, hundreds of clients have come to trust Griffin Hill to help them achieve extraordinary results.


Mark Rosander
Griffin Hill Consulting


60 Words to Success

It is important to have a good elevator speech because you only have a few words to grab your suspect’s attention and move them forward in the sales process. The first 60 words you speak are more important than the next 6,000! In the first 60 words you must make a connection, stimulate the suspect to want to meet with you, qualify the suspect for interest, and turn the suspect into a prospect. The five basic plays used to accomplish these objectives are rapport, position, benefit, proof, and permission.

Throughout Griffin Hill Sales Technology, plays are named for their purpose. For example the Rapport Play must establish the initial connection between the sales person and the suspect. The Positioning Play describes who you are and what you do. The Benefit Play gives the suspect a reason to care about who you are and what you do. The Proof Play builds credibility for the claim you made in the benefit play by offering evidence that you can deliver. And finally the Schedule the Next Event or Permission Play secures permission to advance the sales process.

Starting with the Rapport Play and moving to the Positioning Play, the Benefit Play, and the Proof Play, and then closing with the Schedule the Next Event or Permission Play is the most psychologically efficient way to initiate contact and advance the sales process. Each play represents a small milestone that must be passed for the suspect to move forward. As you become consciously aware of these milestones you will work more confidently.

Most sales people struggle to define or follow a formal process. Instead, sales people often wander aimlessly, hoping to crack the code that will allow them to open the door to a selling opportunity. What they don’t realize is that the plays are the tumblers of a combination lock. When the tumblers all line up, the lock that guards the mind will open, but not before.

Sometimes, aimless wanderers are able to hit upon a successful combination and the door of opportunity opens but without conscious awareness. In that case, hitting the right combination is a chance event, and the process cannot be duplicated. The secret to the combination lies in the plays of the Case Open Routine. Once you know the combination, you can quickly open the lock over and over again.

Knowing the combination shortens the sales cycle and expands the pipeline. Either of these results is desirable and will increase sales volume. Together, shortening the sales cycle and expanding the pipeline work synergistically to help you close more business.

Plays Generate Success

The main purpose of sales plays is to put the odds in favor of a successful conclusion. For sales people, increasing the odds of success means closing a higher percentage of business. For a basketball team, plays are designed to get a high percentage shot – one that has the highest likelihood of scoring.

Athletics is not the only environment where plays are used to enhance the likelihood of success. Corporate strategies have always been about putting the odds in favor of organizational success. Similarly, financial investors study issues, research conditions, and apply special skills to make a financial play that has greater possibility for sales than uninformed financial gambles.

The plays of Griffin Hill’s Sales Coaching Technology are proven, principle-based concepts that are easy to understand, learn, and implement. Sales people using our Sales Coaching Technology get immediate improvement in results across the sales process. For example, a sales person working in the hospitality industry began using his new plays the first day after attending one of my Sales Training Camps. The play set he used was so successful that after completing the sales call he shouted and danced around the sales floor. Another example of how easy it is to learn and implement sales plays is the financial planning attorney who more than tripled his active pipeline in less than one week.

Sales plays are based on scientific principles of human cognition. The basic plays can be constructed with confidence, rehearsed in advance and successfully duplicated over and over again. Practicing plays improves skill, fluidity, and confidence. A sales person is like a musician. Learning the notes and the rules of music provides the background for learning a complicated piece of music. Learning a musical score requires study, effort and practice. For the musician, practice builds skill and the music flows automatically – without clumsy stops and starts that erode the quality of the performance. A well-practiced musician is confident when performing for an audience. In the same way, a sales person becomes increasingly skilled, fluid, and confident because they don’t have to reinvent a complicated musical score with every sales call. The more athletes, musicians, and sales people understand the rules–the more they practice their plays–the greater their ability to improve in a given situation.

Ask Good Questions

Questions are an excellent way to invite the suspect into conversation. The questions you ask when you first make contact are conversational questions. They seek information but mainly they stimulate conversation. The first question demonstrates your consideration for the suspect.

Sales Person: Good morning Mrs. Brown. I’m Scott Baird from Azure Technology. Melvin Gibson suggested I give you a call. Did I catch you at a good time?

One reason for asking a question here, no matter what the question, is to give the suspect an opportunity to tell you that this is not a good time, that they are busy with something else. This respect for the suspect goes against all the sales doctrine of most sales training, but it adds to your professionalism and respectability.

When you are using a referral source when first making contact, the mutual connection and respect you share with the suspect and the source should be strong enough to keep the suspect from dismissing you without the courtesy of a brief conversation.

Another question is a variation of making sure you are talking to the right person in the organization. The question is slightly more direct than the positioning statement.

Sales Person: Good morning Mrs. Brown. I’m Scott Baird from Azure Technology. I understand you are in charge of Information Technology at Brown and Brown. Did I get that right?

Another question that is frequently used to invite engagement with a suspect is less effective.

Sales Person: Good morning Mrs. Brown. I’m Scott Baird from Azure Technology. How are you today?

The reason for including this example is because it is so prevalent. I don’t like this question because it is a weak question. It doesn’t position you, and it doesn’t secure additional information. Furthermore, the question exposes a lack of sincerity on the part of the sales person. Everyone knows the sales person doesn’t really care about the health or well being of the suspect. On the other hand, my dislike for the question has softened over the years, for the simple reason that “how are you?” is so ubiquitous. It seems that most people really don’t mind that the questioner doesn’t care about the condition of their health. I still maintain it is a weak question and indicates a lack of thought and effort on the part of the sales person.

People Perform to Deadlines

As a human performance scientist, I have learned that humans only perform to deadlines. One of the reasons that deadlines influence behavior is that deadlines define and clarify responsibility. Deadlines also introduce a feedback loop of accountability. Responsibility and accountability are fundamental to human achievement.

In his clever book on human motivation and performance called You Really Oughta Wanna, Robert Mager discusses the importance of accountability on human performance. He argues that if no one ever asks for an accounting of assigned responsibility, the quality of performance on that responsibility will erode and eventually terminate.

When you schedule the next event it sets a deadline for you and your suspect. It governs the behavior of sales people as well as the commitment of your suspect. Scheduling creates a deadline and accountability. Deadlines and accountability govern human performance.

Alleviate Friction in the Sales Process

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of scheduling the next event, and how it advances the sales process. Scheduling the next event also alleviates the effects of friction in the sales process.

If you complete a sales appointment without scheduling the next event, your own schedule – the demands on your time and attention – become added friction to the process. Failure to schedule the next event after any sales appointment means that you will have to make at least one additional phone call to schedule a future appointment. Usually it takes many phone calls to get in touch with your prospect and schedule the appointment. The friction can be eliminated or alleviated simply by scheduling the next event before concluding the current conversation.

When you schedule the next event it totally eliminates the need for additional phone calls. With the event scheduled and the agenda set there is little need for additional contact. Even if you are one of those people who like to confirm every appointment, you can confirm with a voice message or an e-mail, you don’t have to wait to make personal contact. Eliminating phone calls eliminates friction that will otherwise slow the process.