Get ready. Get set. Go! The hardest part is get ready. In sales, its known as preparation. If asked, most salespeople, if not all, would say they know preparation is important. But most salespeople (not you, of course) are not preparing the right way for meetings, potential sales calls, or networking events.
And while you may be great at presenting on the spot, or winging it, doing the right kind of preparation prior to the meeting could make the difference between a one-call close, a strikeout, or a strung out sales cycle. Your preparation (or lack thereof) will make or break the sale.
What are you not doing and need to be doing? Let me give you a hint: it focuses around the word THEM.
Ever arrive to a dinner party and the host is still prepping the food when guests arrive? The host is so caught up worrying about making the meal, they dont have time to connect with and further relationships with their guests. While they may be friendly, it is clear theyre unprepared. Now imagine you arrive and the table is set, the food ready to serve. The food is then served by a staff of catering people wearing white aprons and being extensively polite. What difference does that make for you as a guest? For the host? Its the same thing in sales.
Being ready, serving with excellence, and personalized interaction leads to a memorable experience.
Heres what to prepare for the meal and how to prepare your table so that when your guest sits down, they know theyre in the right seat
What to prepare:
Preparation A: Attitude. You need the right attitude ALL THE TIME to win the sale. And for most people (especially if you grew up or live in NYC) that attitude is not natural its something you need to work on EVERY day. Your attitude begins with the very first thing you do each morning. What are you reading? What are you looking at? HINT: learning about a devastating event that happened overnight is not attitude building. Its attitude deflating. Wake up and read something positive make it intentional and pick it out the night before. Wake up and watch or view something positive. Have a twitter inspiration list or an additional Instagram account with only positive posters. Listen to positive music. That will set your daily foundation. Throughout the day, you needs to rely on and drawback to your positive attitude. The key is consistency.
Preparation B: Be brief and believe. Tell your story your pitch on how you, your company, your products and services can help your customer. But if you take forever to tell it, your customer will lose interest. To be brief, you need to practice. Make sure you touch on the points your customer will connect to most. In order to be believable, you need to believe. Belief starts with you. Ask yourself: hows your belief in your products and services? In your company? In your ability to help? All of these answers will come through in a New York Minute.
Preparation C: Customer connection. 10 years ago, making a customer connection was a lot more difficult than it is today. Nowadays, the information you need to make a customer connection is at your fingertipsliterally. All you need to do is Google them! Before your meeting, use Google, their website, their blog, and social media, especially LinkedIn, to find out whats important to THEM. Check your CRM to see if theres any past information from the previous sales rep or account manager, AND ask your friends, colleagues, business associates if they know of the prospect and if theres anything you should know. Some of you may be thinking, Thats a lot of prep work for one sales meeting, but heres the reality: the more prep you do, the easier and quicker you will get the sale.
Preparation D: Don’t Flub it up. Meet with the Decision maker. Whether or not youre meeting with the decision-maker (and I sure hope you are), you need to be prepared as if the decision-maker walks into the room. Figure out ahead of time what the decision-make cares about and what they may ask about. Know what he or she needs and address those needs even if its not your product of service. Use every connection you have and mother Google to guide your preparation.
Preparation E: Engagement and enthusiasm. The best way to engage is to be prepared with questions, information and ideas about THEM. Questions and ideas that both demonstrate youve done your research, and make them stop and think, and respond in terms of you. Let them begin to feel that internal wow!
Preparation F: Focus. Friendly. Find the motive. Three big preparations in sales. Focus on the meeting OUTCOME and create dialogue and interactions to get you there. Be as friendly as you can be without losing your sincerity. And uncover through questions (Preparation E) why they want to buy. Their why is your answer to when and urgency.
Preparation G: Give value. Always give value. The only way to do that is to first figure out what the prospect will perceive to be valuable. If you think youre providing something of value and the customer does not perceive it to be, then guess what, buddy? Its not value. Value is NOT a proposition its an offering that helps them in their effort to succeed.
Preparation H. If youre not prepared enough at the end of Preparation G to make the sale, then you will certainly need Preparation H. Symptom: You’re sitting at your desk too much and need to get off your ass and get to work.
Ive given you what to prepare.
Heres how to prepare:
- Prepare in terms of THEM.
- Ask your friends if they know someone or something about your potential customer. If you have a good circle, the likelihood is somebody knows somebody.
- Make a short slide deck that clarifies your ideas.
- Keep thinking about it and document thoughts immediately.
Business preparation is usually a reflection of personal preparation.
How prepared are you in your personal life?
Your daily personal preparedness also impacts your business preparedness. If youre scrambling in your personal life, then determine what you need to do to get ahead, and make it happen. Start with YOU and then go after IT.
Think about this: What could one extra hour of preparation do for your sales? Then allocate the hour from TV or games and you will win. Its all in the preparation.