Just How Important is Preparation to Sales?

It was a theme on this week's edition of Meet the Sales Experts. Whether he talked about the keys to success in the role of salesperson, sales manager, regional manager, Sales Director or VP of Sales, stressed the importance of over preparation. Currently the VP of Commercial Lines, Marketing and Sales at the Hanover Insurance Group, Jim provided keys, tips, examples, lists, and secrets for success at every level of a sales organization. Jim's 3 Keys to Success are:

1. Over planning - He was the most thoroughly prepared salesperson most people ever met

2. Ability to put himself in his customer's position - he had intellectual curiosity

3. Extremely competitive - he hated to lose

Can all three of those keys be taught? Jim believes he can teach two of them...

Preparation is one of the areas where Jim and I have slightly different approaches. Jim believes that you must know everything there is to possibly know about a potential customer or client, perhaps even more than they know about themselves. My theory for preparation revolves more around a salesperson's ability to be strategically and tactically prepared for every imaginable scenario that could occur in a sales meeting and cycle. Both of our approaches depend on the salesperson being prepared to ask good, tough, timely questions. If your salespeople combine those two approaches, they would be unbeatable.

Listen to the show to learn how Jim transitioned from successful salesperson to successful sales manager to successful sales leader. Jim not only shared the biggest obstacles he had to overcome, but he also shed some light about how he helped his salespeople overcome their obstacles through coaching, development and accountability. Jim's knowledge of this subject runs wide and deep and if you were going to listen to only one episode of Meet the Sales Experts, this would be the one to tune into.


Dave Kurlan is a best-selling author, top-rated speaker and thought leader on sales development.  He is the founder and CEO of Objective Management Group, Inc., the industry leader in sales assessments and sales force evaluations, and the CEO of David Kurlan & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales force development. Dave has been a top rated speaker at Inc. Magazine's Conference on Growing the Company, the Sales & Marketing Management Conference and the Gazelles...

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