preparingRecently, I was asked if I would shadow an individual while making calls and report back to the Sales Manager as to how our program could make them more productive. This was an unusual request, as I do the shadowing after the program for a day to make sure implementation of the program has happened. However, I knew the manager quite well and, therefore, agreed.

We did not even make the first call as the challenges were immediately evident.

PodcastListenI met Bob (not his real name) and asked:

“What is the outcome that you have in mind for this meeting?” He had no idea.

“Okay then, what questions have you prepared to get to the needs of the client?” He didn’t have any.

“How much do you know about this prospect?” “Not much.” Was his response.

My final question was: “Bob, are you sick, or did something happen on the way in as you don’t seem well?” He shared that he was not sick and he was just down because business was not going as well as he would like.

No wonder. There was not only no ‘self’ preparation, which is really detrimental to any success but more importantly, there was no preparation from the point of view of the prospect. I was shocked. If this is Bob’s standard operating practice, it is a miracle he has any business at all. It all starts with ‘self’ preparation, because if you are not prepared, THEN why are you there?

Self Preparation begins with:

Attitude: This is not a one-time thing, but rather, an every day and all day thing. Your attitude determines how engaged you can get your prospects to be in the process. It allows for friendliness to come out, as well as likeability. It gives you the confidence to ask the difficult questions which need to be asked; those questions your competitors are too afraid to ask. The one who has the internal fortitude to ask the difficult questions is the ones who will win; not sometimes, ALL the time. The only way to make it happen is attitude.

Outcome: Do you like when people waste your precious, valuable and limited time? If you go in without an outcome in mind, you are doing the exact same thing to your prospect. All of your questions and engagements with the prospects should always be towards this goal, the outcome. If there is no goal to the meeting, then we are in essence, having a social meeting and not a business one. Prospects do not like social meetings during business hours.

Knowledge: In the old days, and those were not so long ago, getting information on a company was very difficult. In most cases, the first few meetings were just to gather knowledge about the prospect and afterward to get to the real needs. Today, anyone who is having a meeting for the first time and utters: “So, what does your company do?” is done before they even get started. Doing this shows a lack of respect and proves how lazy one is. These are two qualities which prospects do not appreciate.

There are numerous other steps to be fully prepared. However, the above three are the essential foundation for the other steps. Therefore, unless the above three are done, the rest will not do anyone any good as it will all come tumbling down because of the weak foundation.

How solid is your foundation?

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