My son started wrestling a few years ago. If you’re familiar with the sport — and I wasn’t — you’ll know that most wrestlers put on a singlet almost as soon as they are out of diapers, if not sooner. Getting started as a high school freshman means facing a steep learning curve. For my son, that meant having to get in shape and take on match after match with opponents that had 11 years of experience more than he had.
When he first signed up, the coach told him in the matter-of-fact way that lifelong wrestlers tend to talk, “You won’t win a match this season.”
He wasn’t being mean or cruel. He was being objective and wanted my son to have the right expectations.
My son went to practices anyway, and over the last few years he went from never scoring a point to winning the odd match here and there. For someone with so little experience, critics are quick to call these small victories luck. But in wrestling rooms across the country there is often some variation of the saying “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
With the odds stacked against him from day one, the only option my son had was to prepare, prepare, prepare. That way, when the opportunity came to hit a pin, he’d be ready.
In our industry, we might not be staring down an opponent in a singlet, but every sale becomes progressively more challenging as our goals get bigger and bigger. It’s one thing to sell to an individual consumer, but convincing a company with a few hundred employees to switch plans is another challenge entirely. You are good at what you do, but in this scenario you are trying to unseat the reigning champ. You have to convince your prospect to abandon their status quo and make the big change of adopting your proposal.
Preparing for that first meeting is critical. If you enter this sales scenario without a plan and without a set of finely honed tools, you are much less likely to seize the opportunity sitting across the table from you.
To maximize your chances for disrupting the status quo and opening the door to a sale, consider these tips:
Challenge your prospect