Preparation for me is part of my coaching that I give on a regular basis and it is a part of the culture that I always instill in sales teams.
I know from personal experience that the more I prepared, the better the results I achieved.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary” Vince Lombardi
Certainly, there is a balance, you don’t want to be stymied and end up not doing anything, but if I was to choose between under preparing and over preparing, I’d pick over preparing in most cases.
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail” John Wooden
Due to the buyer challenges we face today, sales must step up to the increased expectation around the sales conversation. To meet those expectations, it requires thorough preparation. I think the more seasoned you are, the more knowledge you have, the easier you can adapt and meet each selling situation, but even seasoned sales professionals need to spend time preparing for each customer interaction to ensure they are maximizing that extremely valuable customer face time. Typically, you don’t get a second chance.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” Alexander Graham Bell
Getting to the value outcome or solution outcome that matches the client’s needs is the main objective. Getting there requires a deeper understanding of the buyer’s decision process.
If the value lies not in what you sell, but in the insights and innovative thinking that you bring to the table, then preparation is key.
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my ax” Abraham Lincoln
Even existing clients are often too busy to return your calls or take the time for a face to face meeting. This is the number one challenge facing sales forces today.
This makes it even more compelling to ensure sales is supported with the tools they need, and the time they need to be ready for their sales engagements. As organizations we must ensure we are not inundating sales with non-sales stuff. We can’t expect sales to be on top of their game and win new opportunities if you have them mired with administrative trivia and other tasks that other departments or support should be taking care of.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” Bobby Unser
That about sums up the challenge. I have said this repeatedly for many years now, the sales rep is the differentiation. I think it has always been that way, but you could get away with more in the past. You could have a good relationship, or you could be the best at follow-up and paying attention to detail. You could have the best solution and price. Now you must have that little bit extra that requires an enormous amount of extra preparation for the rep.
“What you know and how you leverage it is the biggest factor in your success…. How we sell is more important than what we sell” Jill Konrath
One of the most important, limited resources a sales rep has is their time. I am constantly reminding reps with how important their time is, and thus how important it is to spend it wisely. Company’s don’t have a lot patience with numbers not being met. As a result, you need to be productive quickly and consistently to be successful.
“Measure twice before you cut” My Dad
The list of preparation quotes could go on, they are simply an example, to ensure we do not underestimate how important it truly is.
For more information, suggestions, and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, www.streetsavvysalesleadership.com, and/or order my book The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide To Building Teams That Consistently Win New Business.
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