Written by Sean McPheat |
While on holiday this year, I had the chance to go on a fairly large boat and enjoy the Mediterranean in all its glory, while sipping a wonderfully refreshing drink and enjoying the fabulous views around the island.
The pilot spoke good English and we struck up a good rapport (well…I will speak with anyone when I get the chance!). He told me about the island and how he know all the rocks and the places to avoid. Although he knew the waters really well, he still used a map to navigate his way round.
I asked him why he still needed the map, even though he probably knew the area better than the back of his hand. His answer made me think about how salespeople should think about their roles and responsibilities.
The pilot told me that he had sailed these waters for many years. He probably could navigate without the map, and often did. But when he got into choppy waters, the bearings he used to keep himself safe often went awry, so the maps were necessary to keep order and stability. In bad weather, the radar was his life-saver. Linking that with his map gave him the opportunity to negotiate the hidden dangers and arrive at his destination safe and sound.
I thought afterwards how many salespeople have built up a lot of experience and credibility, simply from the length of time they have been sailing the murky waters of salesmanship. This often shows in the times when they make a call and they haven’t prepare efficiently, so they end up ‘winging it’. It’s the equivalent of sailing in the boat and not having the prepared ‘map’ to refer to.
The map could be the prepared route they had planned, the well-designed questions they had thought up and the planned objection-handling process if they came across some rocks. Although the experience will certainly be a great help, when the bad weather hits (poor results, lack of sales, low ROI) then the map would come in very useful.
Think of how you could be well-prepared with a ‘map’ of your own before you go sailing off. What questions by the prospect could you prepare for? What areas of concern might the prospect have that you could mention, discuss, detail and solve? How would a prepared route help you achieve yours and their goals more effectively and speedier?
We got back to land safely and I saw the pilot do the necessary work to secure the boat. It made me feel safe to think that, even though we may have got into tricky waters, the route the pilot would have chosen with his map would have kept us secure.
That should be the same when you plan the route for your prospects.
Originally published: 1 August, 2013