In the previous post we talked about Knowing the Playbook. Now is the time to prepare for the big game.
You show up to the meeting with your perfect potential customer. He is so excited to see you–how great is this? You can’t wait. He sits you down in the conference room. You small-talk with him about your families. He then gets up to open the conference room door…and in walk 6 suits. It’s his Board of Trustees. You had no idea they were coming to the meeting. Your prospect didn’t tell you.
The ball is snapped. As the coach, you are hoping these first few plays go well, but the runner is stuffed for a one yard loss. Second play, even worse, a three yard loss. The third play is worse yet, sack and your quarterback is hurt! The punting team comes on but the punt is blocked and the other team picks it up and runs it in for a touchdown.
Your crowd boos. 7-0, the other team, and your quarterback is hurt.
You yell to your backup to get ready: he is going in. The backup quarterback looks you in the eyes and says, “Coach, I am ready. Let’s do what we planned.” And right there you remember–you prepared the team.
Football is not a game of perfect; it is a game of injuries and surprises. That’s why you game plan, that’s why you prepare for every contingency. You’re down 7-0, and the starting quarterback hurt. So what? You planned for this. You studied the other team’s tendencies, you reviewed the tapes, and your players know what to do. The rest of the team sees how the backup quarterback responds and they follow. You fight back and you win the game.
How could your prospective client not tell you the Board would be in on this meeting? You thought it was going to be a casual discussion and now it’s anything but. Your associate looks over at you and smiles. And right then you realize–you planned for this.
You and your firm have done your research, learning all you can about your prospect’s company. You already know who the trustees are because you’ve studied the company website. And you know your business inside and out. You shake their hands, introduce yourself, sit down and then you open the meeting by asking well-informed questions. You make your presentation.
And because you were confident and well-prepared, because you showed that you cared and had a reason for being there, you earned the business. You had a game plan. And you won.
Coming soon: remember to celebrate.