As most of you know, we were absolutely clobbered by yesterday's Blizzard of 2015 which gifted us with 34 inches of snow and even higher drifts. Wishing to be prepared, I went to Staples the day before the storm and purchased every last one of the small devices that recharge phones and tablets. That evening, I made sure that each was fully charged so that if we lost power, three of us could recharge our 7 combined devices and remain connected and productive. As unlikely as it seemed at the onset of the storm, we never lost power. But we were prepared!
I noticed a similarity to all of the occasions when we have taken winter vacations in Florida and especially Orlando. It never fails that when we go expecting warm weather, it becomes cold enough that we need to purchase sweat shirts. Of course, whenever we prepare and bring the sweatshirts along, we never need them - ever - but at least we were prepared!
The concept of being prepared is very misunderstood in sales. Here's why...
Most salespeople believe that being prepared means being prepared to handle objections and present. Of course, one wouldn't handle an objection that wasn't presented, but most salespeople overprepare their presentations and rarely present the right stuff, the right way, at the right pace, to the right people, at the right time. Unless you are conducting a webinar, there should be no such thing as a canned presentation, one that is appropriate for anyone and everyone.
Salespeople should be prepared to do take one or more of the following 10 steps relative to presenting:
- Not present at all when it isn't necessary
- Present only a subset of what you would normally present (right stuff)
- Present something completely different from what you would typically present (right stuff)
- Present in a different way than you would normally present (right way)
- Present only if the prospect(s) were completely qualified (right time)
- Present only if all necessary parties are present and accounted for (right people)
- Present not only your product/service or solution, but much more importantly, how you can uniquely help them address their most compelling reason to buy from you (right stuff)
- Ask questions as you go along (right pace)
- Change or abort your presentation in real time based on unexpected answers to your questions (right stuff)
- Explain how this impacts their business (right stuff)
It's also imperative that you not present until you have:
- Uncovered their compelling reasons to buy from you
- Differentiated yourself
- Quantified the opportunity
- Thoroughly qualified the opportunity
Preparation doesn't stop there. You should also have done the following before presenting:
- Role-played the anticipated call or meeting with a manager
- Done enough research on the company so that you know what's going on
- Know who you are competing against and how your prospect believes you compare
- identified potential references if you need them (same size, same issues, same industry, same title, etc.)
- Identified both a needs- and budget-appropriate solution
Preparation doesn't mean prepared to do a certain thing, a certain way at a certain time; it means prepared for anything and everything. When you are completely prepared, you won't need to be, but if you aren't prepared, you'll pay for it.