“There is no substitute for being prepared.” – Andrew Sobel
I have a confession to make. Sometimes I overrate my own ability. There are times I am not as prepared as I would like to be. My attempts to just show up and “wing it” have produced inconsistent results.
There have been customer meetings, classes, & little league baseball practices that I would have conducted at a higher level if I had set more time aside and prepared better.
Last week, I broke that trend. I spent 90 minutes preparing for a 30 minute meeting. The meeting was with an important new customer. I started my PREPARATION by reaching out to a mutual acquaintance and learned everything I could about the customer. I also Googled everything: the customer, their business, the college they attended, the latest news on their favorite hobby**.
I showed up to our meeting with relevant ideas and new concepts. I also wrote down thought provoking questions in advanced that were focused on helping that customer succeed. The meeting went fantastic and generated a significant business opportunity for both parties.
(**Full Disclosure – Good thing the customer’s favorite hobbies were not baseball, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, or American history – because I would have probably reverted back into my old habits of overrating my knowledge and not put in the needed PREPARATION).
I have noticed a trend. When I allocate time for PREPARATION – I am amazed at the results. The conversations start easier. The dialog is more relevant. The outcomes are more favorable for both parties. There also seems to be a different energy in the room. There is no anxiety to deal with, only the positive excitement of someone who is ready to engage, provide value, and create a positive outcome.
So what has stopped me in the past from PREPARING?
The BIG problem is that PREPARATION requires 2 things that are in limited supply: TIME & ENERGY. Preparation also requires you to slow down and schedule THINK time. In our A.D.D. culture, sometimes THINK time loses out to BUSY time.
Preparation also requires you to check your EGO at the door and admit you are not as good as you think you are. Showing up and winging it is not the pathway to REMARKABLE.
Your PREPARATION has to be unselfish. The key is PREPARING in terms of your customer. Show your customer how they win. Demonstrate to your customer how they succeed. Show your customer what is in it for them. Prepare thought provoking questions, creative ideas, & strategies in terms of them, NOT you.
The BIGGER problem is that preparation also requires you to change one of the hardest things on earth – a HABIT. You have to break the habit of attempting to get everything “checked off” your “To Do” list. The “To Do” list is a fallacy. To get everything checked off your list, you have to sacrifice the IMPORTANT for the URGENT.
PREPARATION never happens by accident. Preparation must be intentional. Preparation will take what you do and bring it to the NEXT LEVEL. Preparing shows others that you CARE about the outcome.
PREPARATION will now be consistent part of my game. The journey of a REMARKABLE life starts with PREPARATION.
– Joe Ciccarone