“Be prepared” is more than a motto for the Boy Scouts. These words should be tattooed on the chest of every salesperson so he or she will remember it. For starters, entering a sales presentation fully prepared does wonders for your self-confidence. Knowing that you know everything about your product, company, and competition, backward and forward, works miracles in elevating your self-image. As an automotive motivational speaker I wouldn’t dream of setting foot on stage until I was completely prepared to face the audience.
Nothing beats doing your homework so you know exactly what your prospect’s problems and needs are—and having solutions for them. The only way to be assured of this kind of comfort is by doing your homework in advance so you’re 100 percent certain you can handle any situation that might arise. There’s nothing more disrespectful or presumptuous than going into another person’s office and not being able to answer all of his questions. If you do so, you’ve wasted his time—and your own. You owe him an apology.
Not only is it rude to walk into somebody’s office unprepared, but when you do, you’re likely to have feelings of distraction, anxiety, and guilt. Consequently, you lose the sense of being in charge, which for obvious reasons, is self-defeating. I’m a strong believer in doing what you have to do to believe in yourself. But being fully prepared goes beyond this. It’s practical. You must have the knowledge and ability to pass on certain information to your prospect so he or she can make an intelligent buying decision. If a prospect doesn’t know specific reasons why he should buy your product, he simply won’t recognize why it is of value to him.
Although I’ve already emphasized that being prepared is important, sometimes even the most professional salesperson can’t have all the answers. If a prospect asks a question you can’t answer, simply say: “I am sorry, but I can’t answer that for you. But I will find out as soon as I get back to my office, and I’ll call you immediately”. Keep in mind that if you hear yourself saying this too often, then you are not properly prepared. Be sure if that situation arises you keep your promise. Find the information your customer needs and call them back immediately.
I strongly recommend that you become an expert in your field. The only way professional people can keep current with the vast changes that are constantly taking place in their professions is to spend several hours each week reading published materials, having discussions with their peers and attending seminars. As a professional salesperson, you must do your homework and always be prepared.
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