Before fighter pilots can fly in combat, they have to demonstrate expertise in tactics, technology, and hands-on flying. Extensive hours of study, simulation and practice missions must be accomplished before they are designated “M/R” – MISSION READY.
Simply put, they’re not trusted to fly with other wingmen until they can fully trust themselves!
In business and life, before you can be trusted to execute a mission with others, you too have to become Mission Ready.You have to trust yourself to win!
You have to Prepare!
You have to Train!
You have to Sacrifice!
This process isn’t easy nor is it fun. But in life, the fun starts after you’ve paid the price to turn into a winner. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: “Nobody ever got big watching me lift the weights!” Have you lifted your weights today?
In sales, you have to practice your cold calls, study the competition, plan your schedule, and discipline yourself to follow the right processes that will lead to a sale. You, and no-one else, have to lift the weights and develop sales muscles! This is how you develop your Inner Wingman.
When you trust your inner wingman, you become confident, and confidence motivates you to take action. Success is all about taking action! People who lack confidence are often afraid to take action. They fear change, failure, and rejection. Fearful people have a survival mentality, but confident people have a winning mentality. Confident people are enthusiastic and passionate about winning. They have positive attitudes and when it comes to business, customers love to buy from salespeople that are positive and TRUSTWORTHY.
If you don’t trust yourself, neither will your customers!
So, before you start complaining about how difficult your job is or how teamwork is lacking in your organization, ask yourself if you’ve done the heavy lifting necessary to build trust in yourself. Here are 10 steps that will help you be successful in sales:
Sales Mission Preparation
- Attitude (Plus Action) Determines Altitude – Get your mind right! Know your objective for the call and get focused on the task. Enthusiasm breeds confidence and confidence absorbs fear. Fear is the greatest deterrent to sales success. It prevents you from taking risks; prospects never buy from a fearful salesperson. Focus on the mission, which is always about the customer.
- Gather Intelligence – Study their website, press releases, current vendors, and your competition. What clients do you currently have that are in their industry? What questions do you need to ask that will help qualify or disqualify this lead? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
- Contingency Plan – Ask yourself the ‘what-if’ questions. What if they challenge me with price? What if they are currently engaged with another vendor? What if they ask for a referral? Have answers to objections BEFORE picking up the phone or walking in to see the client!
- “Chair Fly” – Mentally rehearse the call. The mind doesn’t know the difference between a real event or an imagined event. Envision the call in your mind – delivering your value proposal, asking the right questions, and rebutting her concerns. Don’t just envision the call going perfectly. Envision the mistakes and objections and mentally rehearse them in your mind until they are perfect.
- Brief the Mission – Review and Confirm your objectives, point of contact, questions, rebuttals, clients, intelligence, and contingencies. See step 1 again, strap in and take-off!
- LISTEN! – Listening allows you to learn about the prospect and facilitates trust. Ask questions, but remember it’s always better to base questions on research you did prior to the meeting. Remind yourself to relax. Don’t forget to smile…and let calm and confidence direct your flight path.
- Document – Have a pen handy (or a quiet keyboard if on the phone) and record every detail. You can’t expect to remember everything. You’ll need this intelligence to refer to next time you make your call to follow-up. Make sure you come up with a follow-on objective/plan for what to do after the call.
- G0/No-Go Decision – You need to know when to press on with a call, and when to abort it. Don’t get shot down! When your objective is met or when you feel the prospect is no longer willing to listen, end the call. You may need to for the ‘environment’ to change before calling again.
- Debrief the call – Review the positives & negatives. What went right or wrong? What were the lessons learned? Why did they happen? How can you/your training be improve or revised?
- Follow-up/Follow-through – What’s the next step? Don’t just follow-up…be a trusted resource! Exceed expectations – send information/articles/referrals to your prospect than can help them. Be on time and on target for the next step in the sales process. Finally, stay in touch with your clients. A friendly 30 second call to ask about their family and just say hello is a great way to maintain your professional andpersonal relationship.
In business & life, nobody is flying your jet but you. You’re ultimately in control. The best wingmen are those who can execute their own missions with skill and confidence, while maintaining trusting relationships with the wingmen in their lives who they can turn to for help.