BY DOUG ROOKER, PURCHASING POWER’S VP OF SALES
The other day I was driving on the Interstate near Atlanta and something awful almost happened. I was able to avert a car accident because I was looking, not at the motorcycle in front of me, but at the truck driving next to the car that was in front of the motorcycle. I saw those brake lights go on first and I stopped in time to avoid slamming into anyone.
Later, it dawned on me. That is the kind of thinking that has helped me and many other salespeople enjoy long-term success. One of the big differences between successful salespeople and those who don’t excel is that successful sales professionals are better able to anticipate what’s going to happen. They grasp what is going on in the world of their customers and in their industries.
It’s best if you can anticipate and prepare for the obstacles your prospects and customers face. Be sure to read the monthly journals, weekly newsletters and industry websites that affect the key industries and associations in your customer and prospect base. Remember to develop strong networks that keep you fully informed and on the inside track. When you do that, you can anticipate the responses you are likely to hear when you meet face-to-face.
I find successful salespeople can anticipate the objections or responses of their prospects, and they learn to prepare themselves and their organizations, accordingly. They’re curious. They seek to understand any emerging trends that might have a positive or negative effect on the industries they serve. Just like I wonder as I drive the busy freeways in Atlanta – “what’s going to happen on the road in front of me?