We struggle with achieving goals and producing results. Whether it’s prospecting or working a deal, we diminish our impact and results because we aren’t doing our homework and preparing ourselves and our customers/prospects to accomplish our shared goals.
It starts with our prospecting and establishing new relationships. For example, this morning I get a LinkedIn invitation from someone in the ‘protection and counter-terrorism” field. He wanted to connect with professionals in the same field. Or those that say, “I want to learn more about you and your business,” yet they’ve not even taken the time to look at my profile. These people have already demonstrated their lack of professionalism and preparation.
Likewise, in prospecting, we reach far outside our ICP, we pitch our products, demonstrating no knowledge/insight around “Are we reaching the right people,” “Do they have the problems we solve,” “Are we speaking about something relevant or meaningful, or even interesting?”
In this critical moment of establishing a new relationship, we don’t do our homework–or we expect the prospects to do the homework on us. We demonstrate an absence of professionalism, preparation. We demonstrate our willingness to waste our time and other’s time.
This sets the tone for the entire relationship and experience. Why in the world would I ever waste my time on someone who, from our very first interaction, respects their time and mine so little that they are committed to wasting it?
But then this behavior persists through too much of the buying/selling process. We don’t establish common/shared goals with our customers to help each other navigate the buying process as effectively as possible.
We believe we are “experienced” sales people and can just wing it in a sales call.
We don’t prepare ourselves or prepare the customer by designing our meetings to make progress, moving each of us forward.
While this is dated, some years ago, we did some research. We learned that sales people tend to make 37% more calls than necessary. As we looked at the reasons, it was lack of preparation and poor execution (winging it).
The only thing we know is finite and irrecoverable is our time. Yet by not doing our homework, by not preparing and helping our customers prepare we demonstrate our commitment to wasting our and others’ time!
And worse, by not doing our homework, we put the onus on the prospect/customer to try to get something out of the meeting, so they don’t wasted their time. The easiest thing for them to do is not have the meeting in the first place, investing their time where they get the greatest return.
Do your friggin homework!
Joël van Beelen says
I enjoy your blog. Covid19 has taken sales ‘advice’ to such new lows ‘now is the time to listen!’ that i’m going to get rid of most my sales-newsletter subs, i’l keep you and Marcus Cauchi.
This is my experience at the receiving end of rep/founder/consultant prospecting emails.
I’m Dutch which means my name ‘Joël’ comes with a trema on the ë.
Anglo-Saxon web forms typically can’t handle that ë and deform it (just as i often have to fill in that i’m from Alabama, Kentucky or whatever my mood tells me, to be able to download something since the form has no non-US options).
So the automated LI or email message i get goes like:
I was checking out Selling Artisans and I am very impressed. We should definitely stay connected.
‘Joï¿½l, why i’m giving away chat marketing tools?
hi Joï¿½l! it’s l*** with mobilemonkey. i wanted to share this story, in case it helps you in this crazy time.’
Other first name alternatives:
Dear JoÃ«l van Beelen,
Or they just forget that whole, difficult first name thing:
As you can see i collect them. Of course they never look at your profile. So they literally pay to make a fool of themselves
And i’m in their database as Joï¿½l from Alabama. Hilarious.
David Brock says
Thanks Joël, isn’t Alabama a Southern Province of the Netherlands? 😉