Do any of these fumbles ring a bell for you?

  • You’re doing some prospecting and have gotten into the rut of thinking that every phone call is going to end in voice mail. You go on auto pilot and then (oh, no!) your prospect answers the phone. You’re not really prepared and fumble through your intro, losing his attention and your confidence as he politely disengages.
  • Your phone rings, and you answer while looking at the computer screen and are not really paying attention, only to find out that the caller is someone you’ve been trying to reach forever.
  • You have a new business pitch and don’t have the time to prepare and practice.
  • Your new hires are handling inquiries but aren’t trained well enough to do it effectively.
  • Your social-media campaign has gotten the phone to ring but, alas, you don’t know what to do with the inquiries.

Everyone has had some experience with this sort of thing. If you don’t hit me with your best shot, you may not get another chance. Sometimes it’s your only shot.

Don’t begin to think about pitching a new client or reaching out to a long-desired prospect without being prepared to handle every aspect of the communication. Practice make perfect (or almost perfect, anyway).

Make sure your staff is trained. Who on your team is responsible for making the first impression? Is she trained and skilled enough to do the job well? Do you pay her enough?

Don’t make the sad mistake of engaging in lead-generating tactics without being 100 percent certain that you’ll know what to do with the leads.

Remember that you will not reap any return on investment from of your marketing endeavors if you don’t have a solid plan in place before you begin.

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Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.