Partners in Performance Blog

What the Ice Storm Taught Me about Sales Preparation

Preparing for Sales What do sales preparation and preparing for the next big winter storm have in common?

More than you might think, as I have learned!

If you live in Toronto and the surrounding areas, you experienced the wrath of the ice storm during the frigid Christmas holiday season. It was devastating and everyone had their stories.

We live in the country about one hour outside of Toronto and our power was out for 6 days and five nights. We had no heat, no electricity, and no light and, because we are on a well, we also had no water.

There had been warnings for the ice storm and I was somewhat prepared for a short power outage. And we do have a wood stove, thank goodness. But in order to stay safe and comfortable and to protect our home for the longer duration, we had much to learn.

For the first couple of days we felt like pioneers and it was a fun adventure. But it quickly became frustrating and wearisome. I wouldn`t want to repeat this experience again!

That`s why the day after our power was returned, I sat down and wrote out a two-page list of everything I learned, including:

  • What additional supplies should I have on hand for the next outage?
  • What worked well?
  • What do we need to do differently for the next time?
  • What do I need to do right now in order to prepare for a next time?
  • What other people should I review my list with to make sure all bases are covered?

These thoughts had been rolling around in my mind but thoughts are fleeting and easily forgotten. Written words have power and are actionable. Writing down a list like this helps me to remember.

And this brings me back to preparing for sales and learning to leverage our sales experiences.

Sales knowledge and experience are powerful or so you might think. But If that was entirely true, then why do we continue to make the same mistakes? That’s why my favourite expression is, “You don’t learn from your experience, you learn from your reflections about your experience.”

And to take it one step further, when you document your reflections about what you have learned, you have powerful tools that can be leveraged over and over in many ways. Bad experiences are quickly forgotten. Unless, of course, you write them down. What is worthy of documenting? Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Sales Call Planner: A planning tool and checklist to clarify your desired sales outcome, get in the right mindset, prepare your opening, your discovery questions, your positioning, your closing call to action. Includes self-reflection questions to review after the meeting to debrief call effectiveness and lessons learned.
  • Discovery Questions Toolbox:  Best examples of high-gain strategic questions to effectively uncover a broader spectrum of client needs.
  • Objection handling Toolbox: ‘5A’ process for handling objections without being defensive. Includes questions you must ask before you respond.
  • Email templates: Templates for emails that get the client to respond.

Creating documented sales tools will ensure that your client meetings and sales process are continuously improving and producing more consistent results.

You can’t predict the weather; you can only prepare for it. Sales calls and meetings aren’t as unpredictable yet I see people react to them like they were. Don’t let your sales process run out of power and leave your clients feeling cold.

By the way, if you’re interested in using these same templates I customize for my clients, send me an email at I’ll be creating generic versions anyone can use. 


This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on January 7, 2014 in Intentional Selling™, Sales Tools. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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