The other day, I was writing what seemed like a pretty smart piece for The Marketing Mind blog. That’s the site where we capture a wide variety of consumer and industry trends.
Our goal is to convert topical issues into valid business reasons to help sellers get appointments, and needs analysis questions that lead to meaningful challenges they can help their clients solve.
But as I got to the point in my story where it was time to state the issue as a catalyst, the whole idea fell flat. I worked for several minutes to try and rephrase it, but no matter how I approached it the topic was going nowhere. But at almost the same moment I started thinking, “This was a stupid waste of time,” another thought occurred to me: This was a fantastic waste of time. Why? Because it happened in the privacy of my laptop, where nobody was the wiser and no harm was done to my credibility.
Think about it. If, instead of typing at my keyboard, I had been on the phone with a prospect, attempting to “wing it” with a stinky excuse for a valid business reason, the call would have crashed and burned. (It’s hard enough to get someone on the phone the first time. Good luck trying to wangle a second chance.)
So as horrible as the concept for my story was, I realized that my thoughtful preparation had actually rescued me from failure… by condemning the idea before it ever left my screen.
The moral of the story: Think through and write out your valid business reasons before you dial the phone. Craft your needs analysis questions before you ever head to the meeting. That bit of preparation, actually writing it and looking at it, brings you face to face with your ideas and your words. It gives you the chance to improve what needs to be improved and to desert what just can’t be improved (like my idea for that blog post). We all have lousy ideas; they should end up in a wastebasket, where they can’t waste your client’s time.