(Author’s note: I am writing this blog at 4:00am the night before a golf tournament….excited, ready to play, and yes…a little anxious.)
It’s the night before the big sales call. You made sure that you went to bed early enough to have a good night’s sleep. Your clothes are pressed and laid out for the morning. You have prepared tomorrow’s big sales call to the last final detail. You know what you’ll be paying attention for, what you’ll be looking for, what you’ll ask, what you need to discover, uncover, and find out. You have your presentation points memorized and you have a decent idea where you’ll need to “steer things” in the conversation. You have run all of the appropriate background intel. You have found all common connections on LinkedIn, you have had this person and their company locked onto your radar on Google Alerts for weeks, and you have cross-referenced all internal history through your CRM. You have gathered all tribal knowledge about this person and their company from your peers. You have role practiced this sales call with your peers, your spouse, and the mirror. You are ready! And you slept like a baby……no?
If you didn’t sleep well, I will bet the reason may fall into one of two areas:
- You have not done 1/3 of the preparation steps that I mentioned in the paragraph above and thus, are woefully prepared. You are not sure who you are about to see and thus, are not sure where this sales call will “go.” You don’t know the history, so you are really unclear about the future. You aren’t sure what you are going to wear, what you are going to bring, how you are going to get there and IF you are worthy of doing business with. You are behind in your sales quota (again), your manager is breathing down your neck, and your running behind on your rent. You are stressed, un-pressed, and under duress! Or……….
- You are just so damn excited because of the opportunity to ROCK this call that you cannot stand it! You have a healthy sense of paranoia that has forced you to dig in, get prepared, and cover most, if not all, of your bases. You cannot wait to get in there and engage. And yet…..you are restless, concerned, and maybe even a little scared. You are leading the company in sales this year. You have qualified for the President’s Club trip. You have blown away your quota and are heading towards your best year ever. And still…..you toss and turn.
Both of these scenarios are very real. And both of them are in your control. Which one tends to be you?
The profession of sales demands full attention and consistent preparation and growth. The competition is all around you and the customers have less time to deal with you daily. Everyday you seem to make similar calls on similar people talking about similar things. You negotiate similar points, write similar proposals, and deal with similar objections and concerns. This profession can redundant without focus and thus, can often lead us to developing “blind spots” of indifference. When these develop, we miss things. We walk by opportunities. We stop preparing. We take things for granted. We think we know what the customer is thinking, what the customer means, and what the customer needs. Be careful not to fall into this trap because a slide in commissions will be the result.
Your BEST year awaits you and it you don’t know what it holds. Get excited again for the possibilities by laying out a plan today for what you will be in the upcoming 12 months. Look at every prospect, customer, and client with a new set of eyes. Strive to reconnect and learn something new about every contact so that you can find the clues to get in or to earn more of their business.
If you lose a few hours of sleep next year due to stress and anxiety caused by a lack of preparation and connection, shame on you. But if you can’t sleep because your excitement for the day ahead is based upon your confidence, then get up early, grab a workout and a coffee and attack! You are ready and you deserve all of the spoils of victory.