A friend of mine has been a sales trainer for a really long time. Â We discuss sales ideas and training methods all the time. Â She was recently invited to a meeting that would really blow her practice wide open. Â Very exciting stuff. Â She called me this morning to tell me how she completely abandon everything she teaches in the face of this new gig. Â She sat up all night thinking of all the problems the client may be having and how she can fix them, what she offers that’s unique and played the conversation over and over in her mind. Â It wasn’t until she was driving to the meeting that she realized she was heading into this meeting ready to talk. Â She hadn’t prepared a single question! Â Thank goodness she realized what she was doing and had a 20 minute ride to the meeting! Â We quickly brainstormed what she needed to know while I typed it, and then emailed it to her so she could use it during her meeting. Â She asked all our questions, found out she had totally misunderstood what they needed from their short phone call and never presented any of the material she had with her. Instead, she will submit a formal proposal this afternoon completely tailored to this client.
So what happened? Â Several factors came into play. Â This is a much larger client than she usually has. Â She really wants this business. Â She got this through a cold call and has no common people to give her a recommendation. Â At the end of the day she knows she can do this work for them with her eyes closed so she is confident which makes her nervous.
It is key to be so strong in your process and so committed to listening that this can never happen to you. Â Or if it does, you wake up before the Â meeting and have someone to help get you back on track. Â In this case, there were multiple directions the conversation could have gone, all within my friend’s wheelhouse, but if she had launched into a big presentation would have lost half the group. Â Instead, the listening made them see how smart she is.
So always, always always listen to your clients first. Â THEN it is your turn!