“Measure twice, cut once.”
That’s how I started the first article in this two-part series about the most boring habit. And it’s the ONE key habit you should develop to have better sales conversations and success.
“Measure twice, cut once.”
This adage is about preparation, and when it comes to preparation for sales conversations there are two levels that you should consistently complete to increase your probability of success.
I covered the first level in the previous article. As a recap, that first level of preparation is getting ready hours or even weeks in advance of the conversation, either on paper or on screen, by outlining your conversation flow.
Ready…or Not for the Sales Conversation?
The second layer of preparation is about the moments and minutes immediately before you initiate the conversation. This level of preparation is about getting yourself — your mind, your appearance, and even your physical environment — ready to start THAT conversation and have a productive information exchange with THAT prospect.
This second level of prep is breaking your preoccupation. Take whatever mental steps you need to take to eliminate distractions. Whether that’s putting your phone in another area, turning off screens, moving to a neutral location to get away from distractions, etc.
Prepare to focus fully on the person or people who are going to entrust you with their time to explore whether they should work with you. They deserve 100% of your attention, don’t they?
Are You and Your Environment Physically Ready to be Productive?
The “physical” prep extends beyond your environment and includes YOU.
Where do you begin? Start by examining your surroundings and physical environment — whether the meeting will be in-person or virtual.
Consider the following:
- Is your space set up in such a way that you won’t be preoccupied, distracted, or interrupted during the conversation?
- Is it set up for easy access to resources that you might want to use as you are explaining or providing information?
- Is it visually appealing to the person who will see or be in it with you?
Now to YOU.
Is your physical appearance, including the way you look and smell, what it should be? (Most people hate coffee breath, just so you know!)
Are You in the Right Frame of Mind to Lead the Information Exchange?
Your role in the upcoming sales conversation is to be their guide and leader for a productive information exchange.
This conversation is to identify if there is an opportunity to provide a solution for them. That’s why it’s crucial that you take the time in the minutes leading up to the conversation to get into the right headspace.
A short checklist to get you started:
- Do you feel ready?
- Have you cleared your thoughts?
- Have you taken a few deep breaths?
- Have you started to visualize your prospects and their situation?
- Are you ready for them to be the focus of the conversation?
To put yourself in the best mindset:
- Set aside time immediately before the meeting. Some people take 3 minutes, others take 10.
- Create your “ritual” for pre-meeting time. Some people go for a walk, others stretch or sit quietly. The key is to do something that lets your mind reset and get ready to focus.
What NOT to Do Before the Sales Conversation
I get it; you’re busy. Yet checking emails right before the meeting or hurrying to complete other tasks will NOT set you up to be your most mentally present during the conversation.
Another common mistake that derails your mental preparation is scheduling your appointments back-to-back with no buffer time between them. Think about it: for the first several minutes of the new conversation, your mind is likely still lingering on the previous conversation.
And the end of each conversation is rushed as you KNOW you need to get to the next one.
Why Mental Preparation Is Critical
The advantage of this level of mental prep is that it ensures you have the attentional resources to flex the outline you created during the first layer of preparation as you need. No two prospects or people are the same.
You may need to flex where you’re going with the conversation by asking more or different questions to dig deeper into their situation. Doing so allows them to truly feel the impact of their situation. It also allows you to connect value specific to them because you’ve done the work. You’ve listened and helped them clarify things, and you’re ready to confidently ask for that specific next action or decision at the end of the conversation.
Think You Don’t Have Time to Prepare for Your Sales Conversations? Think Again
You may be thinking, “This preparation business is going to take a whole lot more time. I don’t have room in my day for that.”
Our control study shows that for every minute of prep, people saved 1.2 minutes, minimum, later in the process. Thus, preparation is not extra time in your process; it’s a transfer of time.
You’ll get your preparation time back through the efficiency of the conversation and by drastically reducing the amount of “chase and follow up” you need to do afterward.
Now back to the adage: Measure twice, cut once.
Let’s change that to prep twice — first on paper or on screen, and second immediately before the conversation. That’s how you’ll have one great conversation that earns you their trust and the right to serve that client.
Financial Advisor sales training doesn’t have to focus on pushy tactics or high-pressure pitches. Genuine Sales teaches the fundamentals for sales success that allow you to be genuine, ethical, and successful!