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All too frequently, salespeople schedule appointments…and then forget about them until the day before the scheduled dates. Do you? Is preparation a last-minute activity often consisting of nothing more than a quick review of the notes from the original phone conversations when the appointments were scheduled…and perhaps a review of the prospects’ websites, advertising, or marketing materials?

Can you answer the following questions about your next prospect appointment?

Recently, you probably invested a lot of time and energy putting together a presentation of your product or service. You crafted your presentation, dotted all the “i”s, crossed all the “t”s, covered all the bases, and answered all of the prospect’s questions. But, instead of a buying decision, you only received a stall, a put-off, or a request for some concession. At whom do you point the finger of blame?

Everyone knows someone. Actually, everyone knows several someone’s. Your customers – as well as the prospects you call on – have some contact with, or at the very least know of, people who can benefit from your product or service. Unfortunately, they are not programmed to automatically disclose the names of those people to you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t; you must initiate the action.

Salespeople invest time developing their pitch, formulating questions, and preparing responses to expected questions and objections from the prospect. They rehearse, refine, and rehearse some more.

A mistake too many salespeople make is not keeping in touch with former clients. It’s not uncommon for past clients to come to a point where they need your product or service again but don’t remember how to get in touch with you. They are more likely to have your competitors’ information handy.

(Your competitors are still calling on your client even though you are not).

Your mind-set has more to do with your success than almost any other single element. There are plenty of salespeople who possess extensive product knowledge, have numerous influential business contacts, are well-spoken and have appealing personalities, yet their sale performances are average…sometimes, only marginally acceptable.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Prospect A says, “This looks very good. I think there’s an excellent chance we’ll do business.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ve got one.”

Prospect B comments, “Your price is higher than we expected.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ll have to cut the price to close the deal.”

Prospect C reveals, “We were hoping for a shorter delivery time.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale.”

Are lawyers also salespeople?

If you asked one of them directly, they’d likely scrunch up their face as if they’d just heard an awful verdict from the bench.

But the truth is in this day and age the legal profession is as competitive as any other (if not more so) for new business. Why do you think that every non-profit board contains, at least, one lawyer? It’s likely just not out of the goodness of their collective hearts.

Your meeting date and time has been established. You’re confident your product or service is superior to your competitors. Your goal for the meeting is to convince the prospect. You’ve planned to be there for 45 minutes.

My Mum was a funny lady and during my youth, she was constantly throwing riddles at me.

Some of her riddles came in pairs and the pairs typically had a point.

One such pair of riddles has been a huge lesson for me as I have gone through life. Here they are.

Riddle 1: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming down the road? “Here come the elephants.”

Riddle 2: What did the elephants say when they saw Tarzan coming down the road? Nothing, elephants don’t talk.