Influencers from Around the World: The Importance of Preparation Before the Sale

This month our Influencers from Around the World post comes from Marco Germani by way of Italy. Marco has been a guest writer for Influence PEOPLE from the start. He combines great knowledge (he wrote a book about persuasion in Italian) with real world experience (he travels the world selling wine). This month’s post is excellent because I can attest to the need for preparation in sales, or any endeavor in life, if you want to succeed. Read Marco’s words of wisdom and enjoy!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

The Importance of Preparation Before the Sale
A professional athlete would never dream of
starting a major competition without any warm-up. This would increase the risk
of getting injured and, in the best scenario, drastically reduce the
possibility of delivering a great performance. Similarly, a professional
salesperson should never approach an important sales call, without the proper
What you do in the 10-15 minutes prior to a
face-to-face or telephone conversation with a potential customer may determine
the outcome of your presentation. It is therefore surprising how most
salespeople completely ignore this principle and too often enter a meeting with
a client having no strategic preparation of any kind. Far too many people just
listen to the car radio on the way to the appointment filling their brain with
commercials, low quality music and what I like to call “chewing gum for the
Let us instead summarize, in three points,
what a professional salesperson should do in the minutes leading up to a sales
The first – and Golden Rule – when we are in
front of a customer is not to ask any question where the answer can be easily
found somewhere else. For example, if I ask my customer information about his
company, which I could have found on his company’s website, I am just showing
him I didn’t care to do my homework before the meeting. This is a very bad
start for any salesperson. If, on the other hand, I say to the customer, “I
understand your company has manufacturing facilities in three countries, sells
about 80% of its production outside the U.S. and is one of the top three players
in the market,” I’m showing my potential customer I’m a professional, serious
and committed person who cared enough to learn as much as possible about his business.
In addition to showing concern it also prevents wasting the prospect’s time.
This is a very good start, which builds trust and opens the door to the
possibility of starting a partnership.
In the minutes immediately prior to the
meeting, it is also a good rule to briefly review your marketing material
(presentations, any samples to show, etc.) to make sure everything is in order.
Mentally summarize the objectives of the meeting, recall any previous contact
with the customer and how you initially met. This is necessary in case you need
to refer to past details and it gives you a clear, ideal picture of how you
wish your perfect meeting would unfold.
Shortly before the meeting put yourself in an upbeat
mood and be sure to establish a positive winning attitude. Picture in your mind’s
eye the best possible scenario, in which everything goes as planned, and the
sale ends in the best possible way, with great benefit to all parties involved.
This positive attitude will be perceived by the customer, who will understand
he is dealing with a sales professional, who is prepared, confident and ready
to help him make the decisions that are in his best interests.
These three simple steps, if carried out
diligently before a sales appointment, can greatly influence the final result.
Often I hear salespeople complain about how hard it is to “bring home” a sale,
or how customers are difficult and never seem ready to make a buying decision.
If they do not do the preparation I’ve described, or preparation of any kind, then
they’re the ones to blame, not the customers! Preparation is 80% of success;
let us never forget about it!
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