Sales Lessons Learned At Sea


When crossing a 3,000-mile ocean, just one degree off course can make you miss your landfall by hundreds of miles. Promotional Consultant Today shares these guidelines to keep you on course with your sales journey.

Practice. Before venturing out on a presentation to that big prospect you’ve always wanted to land as a client, practice until you’re blue in the face. If you’re presenting as a team, assign roles and plan the timing. Be sure your equipment, including projector and presentation copies, is in good order.

Prepare. Are you ready for questions and objections from the prospect? They will ask questions you haven’t thought of because they’re looking at things from a different point of view.

For example, when presenting an incentive travel program to a prospect, John thought he had everything in order for his presentation of Hawaii as the destination. Because he thought of options for the prospect, he also had a London trip and a Caribbean trip in his hip pocket and knew them both well. However, the president of the company threw the presentation out of whack when he asked, “Why are we doing this? Who says we want to take a trip anywhere?” Had John done his research, he would have been able to answer why an incentive travel program would work well for that particular company.

Persevere. Crossing an ocean in a small boat requires research, painstaking planning and enormous tenacity. The setbacks that come from weather and equipment failures are enough to take the wind out of most people’s sails. Similarly, the longer-term sale is made with inquiry, patience and perseverance. You are responsible for studying and knowing your prospect and calculating how your product can help them toward their goals and objectives.

When selling, keep your final goal in mind and know the processes you are using to achieve it. If a change throws you off of your plans, if a competitor undercuts you in price or the prospect postpones the purchase, stick with it. Come back to the course that you plotted in the first place and persevere.

Source: Larry Jacobson is a speaker, executive coach and author of the award-winning best seller, The Boy Behind the Gate, based on his experiences while achieving his lifelong goal of circumnavigating the globe by sailboat. As a speaker on sales skills and leadership development, he uses the six years of lessons learned at sea to speak with unique authority about conquering fear and staying the course whatever it takes.


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