We’re Talking About Practice?

In a classic interview with Allen Iverson, he goes on tirade for reporters questioning his practice habits:

Iverson: “…we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice.”

Reporter: “Is it possible that if you practiced, not you but you would make your teammates better?”

Iverson: “How in the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?”

I see so many agencies where the producers are past “practicing” proposals, new business meetings, or presentations.  They feel they’re already prepared for any and all of the questions that could possibly come their way.

Contrast this with professional athletes.  Does the most seasoned veteran ever stop practicing?  They continually work and hone their skills so that when it is game time, they have prepared themselves as best they can.

Here are some things we’ve done to make sure our sales staff is “game ready”:

  1. Have a weekly meeting just to practice upcoming proposals or new business meetings.  Challenge the salesperson with off-the-wall, but related questions.   Try to stump him.
  2. Before a big proposal or meeting take some time to write down all of the questions that you think would terrify you if they were asked.
  3. Remember that clients will typically ask questions that aren’t related to their real concerns.   Make sure your sales team practices how to dig deeper to find what the clients real concerns and pains are.

Remember your peers are typically much harder on you than a prospective client will ever be.  If you can get past the grilling and questions you’ll take from them you’ll be ready for almost anything.