You know I'm an ardent believer in the value of preparation. I've even encouraged you to go A.P.E.! Meaning: Anticipate. Plan. Execute. The ability to go A.P.E., has lots of applications:
- Questions you'll ask a prospect or client during an initial or follow-up interview.
- Obstacles you might encounter.
- Objections you could get.
- Negotiation strategies you may implement.
It isn't easy to be really adept with the preceding. It takes hard work. Practice. Preparation. Repeated execution. Ongoing upgrades. More practice.
Yet here's the good news. It's doable. And the payoffs are huge. Happy customers. More sales. Bigger earnings. Plus, the freedom, flexibility and independence that come with improved performance, greater profits and higher commissions.
Here's the great news. The preceding are all learned skills. They can be mastered with diligent effort, focus and discipline.
However, most folks won't do it. If they're competitors, send 'em a "thank you" note. If it's you, shame on you.
Here's something I don't get ...
Lots of folks will spend hours, (hundreds of 'em), working on their golf game. Hit countless buckets of balls, stand over numerous practice putts and invest in coaches.
Yet they're unwilling to devote the same kind of time, money and energy to "business skills" that'll produce remarkable results; financial, emotional and psychological.
It's incomprehensible to me when people justify laziness with lame statements like, "I'm too busy to read a business book!" Or, "When I'm in my car, I don't want to listen to inspirational or educational CDs/podcasts, I need to clear my head."
Maybe that's not fair. It's their choice. But then don't complain when you're not generating the results you want or earning the income you think you deserve.
The skills and strategies I write and speak about, work. Big time. Quickly. Ethically. Dramatically! Yet I always tell folks, it's up to them if they take action. If they choose not to, I'm not offended.
Everything I share is on an "action continuum." You can either ignore or implement. Erase or embrace. Or anything in between.
Yet if you choose to take action, know mastery isn't easily achieved. It takes time. I'm really good at the "stuff" I urge others to execute on. But I never take these skills for granted. I'm in a constant state of upgrade.
Since we live near our community's high school, when our daughter Brittany was in high school, she'd often have her friends over for a quick lunch. As they flew past my office, I'd hear them exclaim, "Brit, passed your Dad's office, sounds like he's talking to himself!" Brittany answered, "Daddy does a lot of that. He’s very strange!"
Brittany’s right! (In many ways!) It's common for me to prepare out loud! "Playing" with questions to ask a client, or the pacing, inflection and volume of my voice for a story.
However, when I repeatedly recommend others to "practice and prepare," I'm often challenged with skepticism. Workshop participants say, "I don't want to sound ... "
Understandable. Yet, unfounded
This was driven home, when I was in New York City for speaking engagements in Manhattan. There, I decided to see two Broadway shows; a musical and a play, where I sat close. Center stage, in the orchestra section. Within the first 10 rows.
How come? To listen and observe the performances up-close. The actors' nuances. A furrow of a brow. The tilt of a head. The emphasis of a word or syllable. These subtleties gave me ideas and possibilities for my "stage presence" and "performances."
Now I know, every Broadway dance step, every stage movement and every word have been highly choreographed and exhaustively rehearsed. Which is why, they look so natural. Seamless.
It's only when you're not prepared, you appear uncomfortable and unprofessional.
When we see an athlete make a phenomenal play, we even exclaim, "They made it look ... easy!"
Yet "ease" only came with grueling hours of practice.
If you want to fly above the rest, don’t "wing it." For instead of a flight to new heights, you'll likely crash land. Ouch!
So go A.P.E.: Anticipate. Plan. Execute.
And reap the rewards of rehearsal!
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or email@example.com. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.