Stuff the Drama

Tantrums. Drama. Histrionics. Save that stuff for the stage.

When I ran restaurants, the last thing we wanted was a lot of drama in the operation. What we wanted was for a customer to give their order at the register, turn to their left as they started to look for a seat, and be shocked to find that their order was already there in front of them, prepared right, and looking good.

We delighted in that kind of drama.

Here is how we made it happen:  Every morning we did the same boring things.

In general terms it looked something like this:

7:30 AM
Unlock the back door. Let the opening crew in. Assign jobs for make ready:
Lupe and Mary – Prep the salad bar and condiment veggies.
John – Patty the hamburger meat.
7:45 AM
Check the lobby to be sure last night’s closing crew left everything set up properly.
Check the ice machine.
Check the soda stations and backups for drink syrup and CO2.
Check inventory for ordering.
8:00 AM
Prep longer-cooking items and get onto the stove.
Brew the iced tea.
Check in rest of opening crew.
Tim and Mark – Check the lot for debris and wash all the windows. Do maintenance scheduled for that day.
9:45 AM
Food Prep done
Start one grill and one fryer. Turn on the bun warmers.
10:00 AM – Bank the registers. Start the coffee.
10:10 AM – Opening crew takes a break.
10:30 AM – Open the doors and start additional grill and fryers.
10:45 AM – Lunch crew starts to check in.

And so on…

Boom. Clockwork. Follow the plan and create delighted customers.

Now I coach people who are trying to generate sales and build business, and what does their plan look like?

Wing it. Contact people. Try to sell stuff.
Buy a program that will show them how to contact people and sell stuff.
Try it for a while.
Meet a little resistance.
Stop using the program.
Stop following any system whatsoever.
Wing it again. Contact people. Try to sell stuff.
Buy another program.
Try it for a while.
Meet resistance.
Give up on the program.
Go back to winging it.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have met people who have repeated this pattern dozens of times. They wonder why all the drama in their business is THEM and not their delighted customers raving about them.

Here’s a seldom-mentioned secret about sales and marketing:  It needs to be BORING.

Not to the customer or to the prospect or to whatever you choose to call them. It needs to have the same boring, work-a-day feel about it that opening my restaurants had. You do things in a certain order with an eye to the result and learn to enjoy the routine. It is the routine, putting one foot in front of the other, day after day after day after day, that gives you the results.

Then you can celebrate and have all the drama you want.

Sales people, entrepreneurs, and marketers are so in love with adrenaline that they abandon important fundamentals – which includes routines which work – in order to try the next idea, the new silver bullet, the miracle program that will be the jet fuel to miraculously propel their business into a new level.

You gotta stop doing that!

Figure out how your funnel/pipeline works and do the things that keep it flowing.

Then do them again. And again. And again.

Do them over and over and over. Stay consistent. That’s the secret.

Michael Stammer is a Sales | Life | Performance coach available for individual and group coaching and speaking to organizations. For more visit

Header photo by robert friedman used under Creative Commons License.
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