Plot your course for success
Imagine that you’re standing at the wheel of your beautiful sailboat you’ve always dreamed of owning. You untie the lines, back out of the slip, motor up the channel, and head out to sea. What direction do you head? The compass offers you 360 choices and if you don’t choose, the wind and current will take you at their will.
Plotting a course for your boat requires having a destination in mind, and then you have to steer for that heading. Planning to sell to a prospect requires the same pre-planning. Without plotting your course, the forces of sales will carry you where they will and chances are that won’t be where you want to go.
When planning a voyage, preparation is key. Ask yourself these questions before leaving the dock or before any important sales call or presentation:
- Do I have the skills necessary, do I know who is going to do what tasks and do I have the right equipment?
- What obstacles am I likely to encounter along the way and am I prepared to deal with them?
- Do I have an alternate plan in case of hazards along the way?
- Am I equipped with the time, manpower and materials to persevere for longer than expected?
- And lastly, am I focused on the destination so that no matter what happens, I will achieve the goal?
When crossing a 3,000-mile ocean, just one degree off course can make you miss your landfall by hundreds of miles. Before you set on your sales journey, follow these guidelines to ensure success.
Before venturing out on a presentation to that big prospect you’ve always wanted to land as a client, practice until you’re blue in the face. Run through your presentation over and over again until you know it cold. If you’re presenting as a team, don’t plan on winging it as to who will handle what portions of the presentation. Assign roles and plan the timing. Be sure your equipment including projector and presentation copies are in good order and are not in checked luggage. Just ask Suzanne who had to use a photocopy of her own outline as the handouts—all because her materials went to Dallas while she was presenting in Los Angeles.
Are you ready for questions and objections from the prospect? Sure, you may have reviewed what you think are appropriate questions and objections, but have you looked at it from their point of view? They will ask questions you haven’t thought of because they’re looking at things from a different point of view than you are.
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