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All too frequently, salespeople schedule appointments…and then forget about them until the day before the scheduled dates. Do you? Is preparation a last-minute activity often consisting of nothing more than a quick review of the notes from the original phone conversations when the appointments were scheduled…and perhaps a review of the prospects’ websites, advertising, or marketing materials?

Can you answer the following questions about your next prospect appointment?

Recently, you probably invested a lot of time and energy putting together a presentation of your product or service. You crafted your presentation, dotted all the “i”s, crossed all the “t”s, covered all the bases, and answered all of the prospect’s questions. But, instead of a buying decision, you only received a stall, a put-off, or a request for some concession. At whom do you point the finger of blame?

Everyone knows someone. Actually, everyone knows several someone’s. Your customers – as well as the prospects you call on – have some contact with, or at the very least know of, people who can benefit from your product or service. Unfortunately, they are not programmed to automatically disclose the names of those people to you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t; you must initiate the action.

Salespeople invest time developing their pitch, formulating questions, and preparing responses to expected questions and objections from the prospect. They rehearse, refine, and rehearse some more.

Ask people to list their least favourite selling activities, and you can count on “prospecting” being at the top of the list. And, the least favourite of all prospecting activities is cold calling.

Is there anything you can do about your sales cycle? We will discover there are many patterns in the sales world. If we understand the patterns and what causes them, we have a chance to shorten the sales cycle. Many salespeople believe that their sales cycle pattern is set, and it can’t be sped up or done differently. They are convinced that, “It is what it is”, so they follow the process that has been laid out before them, convinced that they are powerless to change things.

There is an invisible barrier which holds you back. It has been built, brick by brick, since the day you were born, unintentionally maybe, by people who would have wanted more for you. But, nevertheless, there it is - blocking your path to success. And since it is part of your inner core, it is hard to tear down.

Surprises can sometimes be fun, but not when you’re dealing with a prospect or client. Surprises during a meeting, either from the prospect or from you, can be a deal breaker or, at the very least, compromise a positive relationship between you and your prospect. But, there’s a Sandler technique to avoid this pitfall: Up-Front Contracts.

Have you ever introduced a topic the prospect wasn’t expecting - and stopped a deal in its tracks?

Can you answer the question, "What is rapport"? The French originated the word rapport, meaning "to bring or offer back". However, the French use the word most often in the phrase "en rapport avec ...", meaning "to be in connection with someone". When you walk into a prospect's office, what do you do to establish rapport? Traditionally, salespeople look for something in the office that begs a question. For example, "Is that your sailfish on the wall?"