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Walk in naked and you’ll lose

I WAS reading an idea from a purported sales expert. She recommends going into a sales appointment “naked”. Her title even states: ‘Naked Sales Calls Pay Off’. She writes about sales reps she says are having extraordinary success since they started going into meetings without a brochure or any other collateral material.  “Armed with only notebooks and pens, they had nothing to hide behind…And because they were naked, with no brochures to fall back on, they had totally client-focused conversations.” She concludes: “If you rely too heavily on your marketing collateral or samples, try shedding them for a while. Go naked into your sales calls, and try having a real discussion with your prospects instead of a pitch meeting. It won’t be long before you start seeing a difference.” This idea is not only totally incorrect; it’s borderline sales-criminal. This ‘naked’ concept may have worked in 1908, but not in 2008.  Note well: No prospect wants to see your literature. Every prospect expects you to be prepared, totally prepared, for the sales call. To go into a sales appointment “armed with only a notebook and a pen” is not only an insult to a potential customer, it’s also a guaranteed loss of sale to a competitor who decides to prepare in advance. Here’s what you need to arm yourself with to be ready for the sale. 1) Print their website information that you can impact. The pages that frame your ideas for how your product or service is best used by the prospective customer.  2) Print their website information that has leadership information. Who are the real decision makers? And by the way, if the person you’re meeting with is not among the leaders of the company, you may not be talking to the person who will make the final decision. 3) Print their website information that you don’t understand. This will give you an opportunity to create meaningful dialogue with the prospect. This will give you conversation ideas and questions that relate to the prospect. 4) Have three killer questions you are certain your competition is not asking. This will create buyer engagement and respect.  5) Have two ideas that the prospective customer will benefit from. If you bring an idea, it shows you’ve prepared, and it shows you have genuine interest in helping. 6) Bring your laptop computer with wireless internet capability. This gives you the ability to access any information you need in seconds. 7) On your laptop should be all your information in pdf format. This will enable you to show it, print it, and/or email it on the spot. Hint: Only show your sales literature and information when a prospect asks to see it. This is an indicator of interest, and prevents product puking. 8) Have video testimonials to support every claim you make on your laptop, and on a separate DVD. This will enable you to show and prove, not just show and tell. And it will enable you to leave a copy of your testimonials with your prospect. 9) Have a fill-in-the-blank proposal and order form so you can instantly print, and give a customer a reason to buy now – or faster. 10) Have a small laptop projector in case you have to give your presentation to more than one person. The power of projection makes you look big – and look professionally capable. 10.5) Show them the value, not the sales pitch. Be prepared to show the customer how they produce and how they profit from doing business with you. Would you rather go in naked or prepared to make the sale? Walk into a sales call with only a pen and a pad of paper and I guarantee that you will walk out of the sales call – or be thrown out of the sales call – with nothing. Do what I recommend, and you will be able to put the pen in the only place that matters – in the hand of the prospect, to sign an order. Epilogue: To make matters worse, some other sales “expert” agreed that the “naked sales call” concept is a good one – and recommended it to his customer base. Big mistake. There is one positive aspect to the losing concept of going into a sales call naked – maybe your competition will read about it and try it. If you want one more additional idea of how to prepare for the sales call, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the word NAKED in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer.

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