Lessons Learned from the Road

I just returned from a week long Motorcycle trip. It was my first and definitely not my last! We rode from Ottawa through New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and Catskills. Day’s 3-6 were up and down up and down the coast of Maine, – looking for the best lobster shack – and then into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the Green Mountains in Vermont. We finished off with a trip into the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Definitely worth the trip by car or bike. Let me know if you are heading into this region as I have a ton of great restaurant recommendations.

You have lots of time to think while on a bike. And while most my thoughts were about staying alive and avoiding road hazards (like cars), I did have moments of inspiration about sales and success.

Over the next few postings I will be sharing the lessons I learned on the road.

Lesson 1: Always be Prepared

As we rode into Lake Placid on day 1 it started to rain. Downpour to be exact. Thanks to good planning, our rain gear was easily accessible – and in good working order. Pants, jacket, overboots, gloves and goggles. It’s not pretty, but it works! An hour later we arrived in Lake Placid and while soaked on the outside, we were warm and dry as can be, on the inside. Other bikers were not so lucky and arrived sopping wet through to their skin…and chilled to the bone.

While Chris and I spent the evening having a lovely 5 course dinner at the Brown Dog Cafe (a MUST in Lake Placid). The soggy, unprepared bikers spent all night stuck in their rooms furiously drying out their boots and gloves with the hotel hair dryer, to make them wearable the next day.

The next day we packed up to head out of town and I saw a sad sight. A biker in a rain slicker (like a Moo Moo) with his friends laughing so hard they could barley hold up their bikes. In a last attempt to stay dry, the poor soul had bought a rain slicker from a tourist shop. Humiliating? Yes, Uncomfortable? Yes. Practical? NO. The slicker was just sturdy enough to last one acceleration past 60 before it would be shredded by the wind. Poor guy would be wet and irritated by the time he got home. He should have ben prepared for rain before he left home.

Now I admit – I am not a pretty picture after a few hours in a helmet and riding in the rain either. Witness exhibit A to the left….But I was sure glad to be dry. I was glad that we were prepared. BTW that’s is the Ausable Chasm outside Lake Placid in New York

How prepared are you for every sales call, presentation or meeting? Have you run through everything that could go right and wrong and developed primary and secondary materials? Some people call it guarding against “Murphy’s Law”. I call it profitable.

Here is how I prepare for every sales call

  1. What I am going to say? Be sure to write some notes for yourself as a reminder.
  2. What questions am I going to ask? Again write them down before you go into the meeting.
  3. What is the customer likely going to ask, and how am I going to respond?
  4. What are the likely objections the customer will have and what will my responses be?
  5. What is my objective of the meeting?
  6. What is my plan B if I don’t reach my objective?

Being prepared for every sales call means there is less likelihood that you will be caught off guard and you definately don’t want to look up prepared in forn of a client. These 6 questions will take you at most 45 minutes to prepare and they are the same 6 you will ask yourself before every call.

At the end of the call you should also debrief yourself because this helps to prepare you for the next meeting. Be sure to ask:

  1. What objections did the customer have that I was not prepared for?
  2. How would I answer those?
  3. What came up that I was not prepared for?
  4. What would I do differently?
  5. What are the follow up steps.

Preparing for each call will ensure that you win more business and are not left wet and hung out to dry by any customer!