Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Law of Advance Planning

By Brian Tracy

The best salespeople prepare thoroughly before every call. This principle is so simple that it is often overlooked. The hallmark of the true professional is thorough preparation, reviewing every detail, before every sales meeting. The very best salespeople are those who review their presentations and study the details of their products and their sales materials repeatedly prior to every new sales contact.

The Customer's Situation
The salesperson with the best knowledge of the customer's real situation will be the one most likely to make the sale. The more time you take to thoroughly understand your prospective customer and your prospective customer's situation, the more likely you will be in a position to sell at the critical moment.

Sales Professionals Plan their questions in Advance
There is a direct relationship between the quality of the problem focused questions that you ask a customer and the likelihood of a sale taking place. The only way of assuring that your questions are clear and penetrating is by writing them out, word for word, in advance. Some of the most successful salespeople who have ever lived have been "question experts."


The power is on the side of the salesperson with the best notes. Plan your sales-call objectives thoroughly in advance of meeting the client. Write down and itemize exactly what you hope to accomplish in this visit. After the call, quickly write down everything that was said. Don't trust it to memory. Remember the Chinese saying, "The palest ink lasts longer than the finest memory." Prior to every sales call, and no matter how many times you have visited this same customer, take a few minutes to review the customer's file, the customer's situation, and your own notes on what has taken place in the past. You'll be amazed at how impressive you sound when you go into a sales interview having just reviewed the customer's file a few minutes before. And customers always know if you have done your homework.

Prior to Closing a Sale
The top salespeople in every field prepare exhaustively prior to selling, prior to their presentations, and prior to closing. They think everything through in advance. And they leave nothing to chance. Remember, it's the details that make the difference. The salesperson who has taken the greatest amount of time to acquaint himself or herself with the most specific needs of the customer is the one who builds the highest level of trust and the best sales relationship. Thorough preparation is the essential precondition for successful selling.