Was there a time in life that I did not need the ability to make a sale? No.
As the middle of eight children, I worked a deal every day. Two of my sisters wore the same size shoes and clothes as I did, so we were dealing. Who got to sit next to Mom at church? We were dealing. Getting the front seat of the station wagon? We were dealing.
In all these instances, getting what I wanted had more to do with my preparation—my pre-call plan—than it did with convincing my siblings to see things my way. If you weren’t the first one to get out of bed, the first one to be ready and the first one out the door, the chance of getting the front seat was very low.
So in this, I learned a key to sales. If you don’t plan to make a sale, then you will never make a sale.
If you conducted a survey, more than half of those asked would say they cannot do sales, or even that they hate sales. The other half would not only love sales, but because they love sales, they would generously add how good they are at the art of making deals.
Harvard Law School has a certificate in deal making, which they call “negotiation.” And every good negotiation starts with preparation. In this first post, I’m first going to urge you to consider all the deals you make each day.
Once you realize the deals you’re making each day, I want you to consider how the results of those deals might have turned in your favor with a bit of preparation.
For example, if I have a morning meeting with clients, I’ll figure out all the minute details the day prior—down to the coffee. You see, if I didn’t, I might be busy making coffee when the prospect arrives. So, I struck a deal with a coworker through value creation.
First and foremost, I selected the right prospect (in this case, the best person to make coffee). If they have time to talk, I start by asking for help. Any basic psychology course will talk about humans’ innate desire to help one another.
”Jack/Jill, I think I have a great prospect coming in to work tomorrow and I’m wondering if you might help me with some set up for the meeting?
Unless they’re having surgery, who will say no?
“Sure, how can I help…”
After a great meeting with delicious coffee, update Jack/Jill on how it went, and thank them in front of others. When we give compliments, others learn how to earn compliments.
Another daily example is your daily lunch break. For example, if you’d gone to see who was in the break room before taking your lunch, you might have been able to time your midday meal with a colleague that has a strength or skillset you admire. If you’d time your lunch right, you might be able to strike up a conversation.
It’s a common exchange of value. They will enjoy speaking about something they love, and you’ve made them feel good by showing them you value their art. In return, you get to learn a bit of their expertise.
Opportunities are everywhere. But you must plan to make great deals.