BE PREPARED – Best Sales and Marketing ideas #88

101 Best Sales and Marketing ideas

IDEA 88:


Every text about selling stresses the need for preparation, and the danger of trying to wing it. Yet there are occasion when many sales people do just that. They think they have everything in mind, and that no further thought is necessary. This area is so important that one example to stress the danger is a must.


From a firm of architects …

This particular firm was already successful, but it wanted to increase the size of projects for which it was invite to pitched. It went for a job involving the building of residential training centres for a national charity, and after preliminary meeting, was put on the short-list. This firm and two others then had to make a presentation to the board that ran the charity. This necessitated some preparation. Three people were to speak; they met briefly and shared out the task, and one of them agreed to make the slides they would use in the presentation.

Give the nature of the business, there were impressive things to show, and slides were always an important part of any pitch for an architecture firm. The three met again on the evening before the presentation, and looked through the chosen slides. The following morning they arrived at the charity’s London headquarters ten minutes ahead of their allotted time. A secretary showed them up to a conference room, and one of them asked where the power point was so they could set up the laptop and projector they had brought with them.

It was only when the secretary expressed amazement that the truth dawned on them: they were in the offices of the Royal National Institute for the Blind. A s the secretary said , “All the people attending the meeting have impaired sight and most are totally blind”. Really, it had not occurred to them. They had done all their preparation on automatic pilot, and chosen slides because it was what they always did. They showed every potential client examples of recent work. Two minutes later they made the presentation with no slides, and did not win the contract.

In practice

  • Never try to just “wing it”.
  • Accept that preparation is necessary, not least to tailor what you do to individual circumstance. It matters. It must be done. It makes a difference. It may take a couple of minute or a couple of hours, perhaps in discussion with colleagues, but the rule should be: always prepare carefully.

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