At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, film director Michael Bay was supposed to speak on stage about Samsung’s latest product, the Curve 105-inch television. Unfortunately, his brief appearance was a complete disaster.
It was obvious that Bay was completely unprepared and had decided to rely strictly on the teleprompter for his lines. I can’t wrap my head around this—especially since public speaking is not something he does regularly. Add to that the fact that Bay expects high-level performances from the actors he directs, and my mind boggles.
But I see many salespeople making this mistake, too. They fail to properly prepare for important calls, meetings or presentations, mistakenly believing they can just wing it. They don’t anticipate objections or questions and, as a result, are unable to effectively respond to their prospects’ concerns.
A couple of months ago, I observed several salespeople pitching their solutions to one of my clients. It was evident which ones had taken the time to rehearse and practice their pitches. One rep in particular, stumbled throughout his entire presentation and was unable to clearly respond to questions. Afterward, my client said, “Well, that’s 45 minutes I’ll never get back.”