Recently Samsung launched their new Curve 105 inch HDTV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Employed as the celebrity presenter and spokesperson was “Transformer” director Michael Bay .

Unfortunately for Michael his teleprompter malfunctioned and it soon become embarrassingly obvious that he was totally unprepared and after ad-libbing for about 30 seconds he walked off the stage (view on You Tube)

There is no excuse for not being prepared. He would have been paid a small fortune for that appearance and so to just turn up and rely on a computer to feed him the information without doing any research or preparation it’s fair to say he got the result he deserved.

You might be thinking what this has to do with sales?

Well the truth is many salespeople do very little preparation before sales calls, meetings or presentations in the mistaken belief they can ad lib the meeting because of their experience and confidence around their products.

Getting appointments is the key to ensuring the best outcome from the meeting – 90% of sales are won or lost before we ever get in front of the prospect because too few salespeople actually do any pre-call planning.

Many salespeople believe experience is a substitute for this or they do their planning in their prospects reception area.

These people believe, like Michael Bay, they can walk on stage and use the script and walk out with the sale. What they don’t allow or plan for is when the prospect changes the script by asking different questions or throws up new objections or the teleprompter malfunctions!

We as salespeople should treat pre-call planning the same way pilots treat their pre-flight checks – as if their lives depended on it, which in fact they do. In our case our livelihoods depend on it.

So what to include in your pre-call planning –

• Written call objective
• Anticipated problems our prospects may be experiencing that we have solutions for
• List of similar clients case studies
• Needs Analysis with key questions
• Cost qualification analysis
• Closing strategies

The lesson we can take from all of this is – preparation is the key to ensuring the best possible outcome from any sales interview.

Quote of the Week:
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”
Benjamin Franklin

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.