Home > Sales Techniques > Stupidity has no Age Limit!

Stupidity has no Age Limit!

Out on the beat to get participants for one of the scheduled training engagements I walked into the office of a senior functionary of a well-known Builder. After checking that he could spare a few minutes I plunged into the pitch.

Instead of going through the process of understanding the size of the opportunity, or even the existence of the need, I talked on about the training program and at the end of the conversation handed over the program brochure and asked him to nominate people from his team for the session.

After walking out of the room I asked myself these questions:

  1. What was I trying to achieve in that call?
  2. Do I know how many participants would attend?
  3. Do I know the size of his team and hence the potential business opportunity
  4. Did I inform the man that it is a paid program?

I analysed the call afterwards and realized that in the lead up to the visit I had not prepared the following:

  1. The clear outcomes – it could just be confirming that the customer has understood our proposition or me understanding the size and scope of his operations and the strength of his team. The Sales Professional has to keep a set of smart questions ready and getting them answered will take him firmly forward in the sale.
  2. Check Understanding – I did not confirm before leaving the prospect that he had understood the scope of the program or its price. I had left the brochure and hoped he would find out.
  3. Next Steps – No clear commitment was take from the prospect, nor was any timeline fixed for the next interaction. What he would do post my visit to help me win a sale wasn’t discussed.

All afternoon I had been preparing proposals meant for other clients and had rushed for this meeting, which was scheduled for 5 p.m.; to make things worse I had an appointment following this one and the client I was meeting had indicated a time-window following which he would not be available. That deadline caused some stress and I had rushed into this meeting as if it were a filler item.

No visit to the customer should be treated as a casual affair. You are begging for trouble if you walk into a call unprepared. Your reputation is at stake – your organisation’s reputation is at stake.

Today there are a dozen other options available in every sector; there are competitors snapping at your heels at every turn. Being stupid is not an option.

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!

  1. Ramesh
    November 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Have had lot of similar experiences. While meeting with the client the most attentive moments will be 5-10 minutes. One needs to practice the art of presenting the best in these precious moments.

    No work is complete without homework as clearly illustrated in the fine example. If we ourselves are confused, then the sales punch becomes ineffective, moreover the opportunity might not arise again.

    • JayadevM
      November 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      You said it, Ramesh.

      We are putting our business and credibility at risk.

  2. Jamy
    November 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Good wake-up call Jay!!

    • JayadevM
      November 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Yup! 🙂

  3. November 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I’m impressed that you don’t go easy on yourself, J 🙂 more power to you! This particular write of yours will come in very useful for me…planning to pound on doors with a proposal. Great points for me to remember!

    • JayadevM
      November 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Raji

      No better way to kill complacence.

      Best wishes for success in that project you are launching.

      Thank you for the support.

  4. Raaj
    November 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Getting a tad bit rusty eh, Jayan?

    I feel your pain though…. happened to me too…. more than once at that!

    • JayadevM
      November 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Raaj

      No better way to clean the rust than some rough treatment – rub it off before it gets a chances to go deep into the system. So I had to give myself this wake up call.

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