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The Outcome: The Importance of Preparation


This week JC puts in some preparation work, before a sales meeting at Air Filters International. He is also offering a free coaching by email service. The series involves 15 emails that will help you become your own life coach. To take part or if you have any questions for JC send an email to

I sat down to plan for the sales meeting on the 12th, and as I always do, I played my Dictaphone through and listened to my comments before I did anything else. I find this a powerful of reengaging the mind-set of being immersed in the client. Having got my focus, I then read my notes and added the comments and thoughts from the Dictaphone as appropriate.

Air Filters International sales and distribution manager Bill Proctor, had sent me through the agenda for the sales meeting, and I considered the format of the day.

The meeting was to be held at the office, and it was going to be interesting to see and hear the forecasts the different teams and individuals put forward. I was also looking forward to seeing how the forecasting linked the different departments and people in the teams. I was also looking forward to meeting Carolyn Wheatly (MD), as I needed to get a feel for her views and approach.

I put a call into administration manager Trudy Bradshaw at All Filters. I had a brief chat and a laugh with Judy (WHO) on reception about the fax machine, which she was still battling. The phone clicked and Trudy said “Hi JC, to what do we owe the pleasure?” I affirmed again to myself, what a difference it makes when someone sounds as if they are genuinely glad you called.

“Hi Trudy, I was after a favour to be honest,” I said. “I wondered if you had any of the reports ready for the sales meeting on the 12th yet, and I was wondering if I could be cheeky and ask to see them?” She replied that she hadn't got them into their final formats yet, but I was welcome to see them in draft form. Trudy said that she would e-mail me over the spreadsheets, and that if anything was unclear, I was to call her and talk through them.

“I can’t thank you enough for all your help Trudy, it makes my work a lot easier to plan, thank you,” I said. “No problem”, she said. “It’s great to have something like this happening; it gives us all an opportunity to improve the way we do things.” Trudy said she would get them away to me in the next hour. We said our goodbyes and I went back to my prep.

While I was waiting for Trudy to send me the data, I called Bill and asked him about the awards element of the day.

He explained to me that they would be recognising achievement for Internal Sales and External Sales for 2005. I asked him if there were any other recognition awards planned for any other areas. I pointed out that although this had been discussed a couple of times, it had been decided the focus should be on sales, because it is a sales meeting.

We finished our conversation and I made some notes to add to my preparation.

Trudy kept her promise, and the spreadsheets arrived in a zipped attachment within 40 minutes and I got on with getting ready for the 12th.

    Key Points:
  • Use your notes (recorded voice or written) to first re-engage your mind with the client, before making any planning decisions.

  • Make sure you have as much data as possible, as this will be the foundation of any sales meeting, and will be the supporting evidence accompanying the salespeoples verbal accounts.

  • If possible, use your contacts to get both up-to-date information, and check the history where applicable.

  • Consider awards ceremonies carefully, it is important to recognise individuals for the input, but make sure that this motivator does not and cannot have the opposite affect on others in the company through poor planning.

  • Sales teams are often the most recognised in a company, but they do not succeed on their own. Often the support that is behind them can make them look brilliant, but make sure you know who is making their success happen.

* Catch up with all instalments of The Outcome, including a profile of John Copeman at here.


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