They study their opponents to get a gauge on how they can be beat them.
Then, on the day of the game, all bets are off. The best laid game plan can quickly be cast aside and opponents may surprise you by deviating from previous form and tactics.
What saves good teams is being prepared and, more importantly, quickly able to assess that their game plan isn’t working and drop it in lieu of a better one mid-game.
Sales isn’t any different. All the practice and research in the world can mean very little once you’re sitting in front of a client. Each client is different – the people are different, their circumstances are different. In fact, even working with the same client can be a different experience each time.
There are no silver bullets in sales – no one strategy, process or verbage that works every time. Working your way through the sales process requires preparation and an ability to talk to, understand and adapt to your client throughout the meeting.
Many let themselves down because they stick unerringly to their game plan – not deviating from it despite a clients non-response (tele-marketing can be a great example of this).
An example – I got called recently from a business trying to sell subscriptions to our local newspaper. They asked, in a scripted fashion, did I read the paper, how often et al. They then asked how I read the paper – to which I replied ‘online’. They then tried to sell me a subscription?!?! My response to them was ‘unless you intend to pay me to read the paper, why would I subscribe as it’s currently free?’ – to which I received silence and, eventually, a disconnected line. Why did this happen? Surely in this day and age, that DM firm could reasonably expect online to be a valid channel some would be reading the paper. What failed them was most likely a pre-determined view that their target market was people who bought the paper casually (ie at the service station) but regularly. Not those who read online.
Sales training is just that, training – it doesn’t mean you’re match fit. Just like sport, running around on the practice field seems a long way away after you receive the first tackle in a real game. Selling is the best practice for selling.
Like sport, there’s only one real way to get match fit – and that’s to start playing. Also, staying match fit means playing regularly.
Are you match fit for sales?