All outside salespeople have “windshield time” — the time you spend behind the wheel, or in some form of transportation, going to and from appointments.
Windshield time is a critical time both for the anticipation of the sales call and for the aftermath of the sales call.
Reality check: How are you taking advantage of that valuable time? Here are the options: Waste it. Invest it. Your choice.
Most salespeople have a habit of doing the same thing when they get in the car. They either listen to their favorite radio station or, perhaps better, they listen to something they can learn from.
What do you listen to? What should you listen to?
Be prepared to learn and be inspired. At all times have that one CD or that one set of CDs that best resonate with you.
Here are two of my all-time favorites:
1. “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn. I carried this set of CDs in my car for a decade and will listen to it again this year.
2. “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale. Total inspiration. I listen once a month.
Reality: Windshield time is your best time to prepare mentally and emotionally before the call and review what happened after the call.
I have 7.5 more ideas I'd like to share with you about windshield time:
IDEA 1: On your way to the call, identify the first two or three questions you want to ask your prospect. Voice-to-text them to yourself. Start the mental preparation for the call. I promise when you generate two or three questions, you will also generate an idea or two.
IDEA 2: Make slides for each question before you go inside so that you are certain to ask them. My first slide always reads, “Before we get started, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.” The second you generate the idea, voice-to-text yourself the content and then make the slide in the lobby when you arrive. (This requires getting there early, not “on time.”)
IDEA 3: Voice-to-text as you think of other things. This will both ensure you remember the thoughts and it will clear your mind. I cannot stress enough the importance of zero mental clutter before the sale. Get rid of excess thoughts, no matter how small, so your focus is 100 percent on the customer and the sale.
IDEA 4: Pump it up. Listen to your favorite music just before the call. Get happy, get excited, get your rhythm, put some bounce in your step, get your enthusiasm set on “high.” Music can do all of these things.
IDEA 5: Before the call, mentally establish your expected outcome. Think about the detail of it. Expect a “yes” before you start.
IDEA 6: Listen to the recording of your sales presentation as soon as you dare. You’ll laugh and cry. It’s the biggest reality check of your life, and the best private coaching session you’ll ever receive.
IDEA 7: Record the “wish-I-woulda — crap-I-shoulda” for a minute or two immediately after it’s over. Take note of your impression of what happened, good or bad.
IDEA 7.5: Record any promises you made, especially as relates to additional info you need to send to the customer, as well as deadlines for follow-up.
Note: Never actually text while driving. If you don't have voice-to-text capability, pull over to the side of the road.
Pre-call reality: Once you have a few questions prepared, a couple of ideas documented, and your favorite rock song playing in your head, your confidence level entering the sales call will triple.
Post-call reality: Once you “download” the after-the-call reality and listen to the recording, document what you should have done and what still needs to be done so your mind will be fertile for the next call.
Biggest idea and AHA!: Win or lose the sale? Celebrate the outcome either way. Recognize that proper investment of windshield time will give you a hell of a lot more YES! celebrations.
Editor’s note: This Sales Moves column is reprinted from January 2014.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books. His “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling” is now available as a book and an online course at gitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey personally at email@example.com.