When 9:00 am rolled around, Brent was raring to go. With his list of banks and managers’ names in hand, he pulled out a Thomas Guide and mapped the most efficient route to call on as many locations as possible. It was his first day of selling but he was confident his efforts would reap some business.
By ten o’clock, he stepped out of his car and walked to the front doors of a bank that he knew didn’t offer loans to individuals with poor credit. As good a place to start as any.
Wearing his best smile, he pushed through the doors and presented himself to the receptionist. She looked at him with a blank stare and said nothing. After ten awkward seconds she gathered herself and asked for Brent to repeat the name of the gentleman. He repeated it and she replied that he wasn’t there.
“Can I leave him my card and some information?”
The receptionist fumbled with her words. “Um…how long…have you been working with him?”
“I just left him a voice mail last week and I’m stopping buy to discuss some potential business.”
This time she asked Brent to wait at the front while she excused herself. Two minutes later, she returned with one of the prospect’s coworkers. The man’s face was drawn. He asked again for clarification and Brent repeated his answer.
Subtly, the man lowered his head. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but he passed away on Saturday of a heart attack.”
For Brent, the experience was a harsh and tragic introduction to the world of selling. It’s one, however, that he could have avoided. When I began selling, a mentor taught me three lessons about prospecting that I have always tried to model: 1) Never call on prospects who don’t know you’re calling, 2) Never call on prospects that aren’t excited to have you call, and 3) Never leave a prospect without adding more value that you have received.
If you don’t have an effective, efficient plan for selling, any business you get is accidental.