Netflix Vs Saw Sharpening
Updated: Sep 8, 2018
TALE OF THE SALE:
5:00 AM Eastern time and Sammy Sales is leaving his house headed to the airport as he has done dozens of times over the last few years while traveling to see customers and prospects around the country and the world. Sammy recently discovered that you can download certain Netflix movies to your tablet vs streaming. He was pretty happy about this since in flight WiFi doesn't allow streaming.
Sammy has a quick first flight and a long second flight all the way across the country to LAX. The new Netflix feature will come in handy. Since the first flight was short and he was a little on edge about his focused meeting while in southern cal he spent the 45 minutes agonizing over the 27 page power point he planned on showing the prospects management team. This was a dream client and one of his past contacts now worked for his prospects company so he knew the current provider was half way out the door for a major screw up. He also received the inside info that 4 other companies had discovery meetings with the management team the same day and he was last to see them.
The first flight was about to land so he closed out the power point and felt good about the content and his plan to present it. Since his larger device was now off he pulled out his phone and scrolled through LinkedIn to see if he had any messages or notifications worth paying attention to. He noticed a post by a fellow sales person who he had met a few time at industry trade shows. He respected this woman and knew she was very good at her job. He clicked on the post and read through it. The entire article was arguing against using any power point or planned presentation on a first discovery meeting regardless if you were asked to present or not. He thought this was crazy as he had always done it that way but was intrigued to learn more about this theory. As the flight was about 1 minute from wheels down he put his phone in his bag and got ready to land and deplane.
Sammy walked into the airport checked his flight and departure gate on the screens and found a coffee. He still couldn't get the anti power point article out of his head but didn't want to admit to himself that what he had been doing for years was wrong. Sammy disregarded it and fired up his Netflix downloads. He watched until it was time to board the long flight and continued once boarded and in the air. Still in the back of his head was the thought that his planned presentation might be the wrong plan of attack with the dream client and knew he wouldn't get another shot.
Just like that it hit him. He thought to himself..."Sammy what are you thinking, you have the biggest opportunity of your career and you are watching some stupid police drama". He closed out the Netflix tab, re-read the article and started searching blogs and articles about initial prospective meetings. He found tons of content by respected authors, experts, and sales coaches. He realized he needed to trash the power point, differentiate himself, and walk in with a pen and a notebook with the intentions of asking key questions and getting to the bottom of what they really needed in a solution. This lead to him spending 5 hours reading more content about pre-call planning, best practices in discovery meetings, etc. He went further and ended up downloading a few audio books written by some of the blog authors. Sammy listened to these books the rest of the flight, in the two hour car ride from the airport, the hotel gym in the morning, and on the way to his meeting the following day. He showed up and used the common sense strategies he read and listened about.
The dream client's team was so refreshed by the end of the presentation that they thanked Sammy for not hooking up his laptop for another power point. The meeting turned into a customer commitment that would eventually last for many years bringing millions in revenue to Sammy's company.
From that point on Sammy didn't listen to music during his commute to the office or long car rides to see customers. He didn't watch movies on planes. No longer did he waste time. He spent those hours sharpening the saw, making himself better.
LESSON LEARNED FROM THIS TALE OF THE SALE:
In life we have choices and as sales people we have choices. There is more free and low cost content written that you literally couldn't consume all of it if you tried. There are hundreds of excellent books in print and on audio. If you are serious about your career in sales and want to gain the needed edge in today's competitive world you will need to take advantage of this available continuous education. The "Student of Sales" mentality as I call it is key. Use your time wisely, sharpen the saw, and blow past your Netflix watching competition.