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One of my favorite stories from David Sandler involves golf. Apparently, Sandler caught the golf bug late in life. He tells the story of playing in a Pro-Am. He described it as a match against other clubs, and a way for your club pro to play for free! He took these matches seriously.

A match was scheduled for Monday with a 9:07 am tee time. Sandler, eager to play his best and not embarrass himself in front of the pro, arrived early. He hit buckets of balls, practiced his chipping, and tried to perfect his putting. If you’re a golfer, you’ve no doubt had similar last-minute practice sessions.

On the driving range, Sandler is sweating. His once-neat shirt is now untucked. His hair tousled, lying across his forehead. A light sweat builds. A couple of specks of dirt mark his face – remnants of a few “fat” shots.

He’s grinding.

Around 9, the pro strolls over. Sandler, slightly annoyed, says, “Hey, aren’t you going to get ready? This is a big match today.” The pro, who Sandler calls “Cos,” nonchalantly drops a ball from his left pocket and hits an iron. Then, another from his right and drills a three-wood. He ambles toward the first tee. Glancing back, he remarks, “Sandler, if you didn’t bring it with you, you ain’t gonna find it here.”

And so it goes with sales.

If you don’t bring it with you, you won’t find it at your sales call.

This underscores the importance of a solid pre-call plan. Too often, sales professionals improvise on sales calls. They overlook the discipline required for effective pre-call planning.

Studies show that as emotions intensify, clarity of thought diminishes. Even for the seasoned sales pro, emotions rise during a sales interaction. Maybe it’s a mix of fear and uncertainty. Perhaps a touch of excitement. But emotion is always there.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I lost control of my emotions and then, everything just fell into place.”


It’s usually the exact opposite.

How often have you thought of the perfect question, the one you should have asked during the meeting, while driving back to the office? We rarely have Genius Attacks during a sales call.

I have to bring it with me. Like Cos.

Use this pre-call planning tool as your guide. Consider the expected and desired outcomes. Identify what you need to know but don't – and the questions that will reveal this information. Anticipate their questions and plan your responses.

Effective sales calls rely on muscle memory. I’ve mentally rehearsed various scenarios. It’s as if I make the call twice. Once in my head, then the actual call.

Download our pre-call planning tool to refine your sales technique here.

If you don’t bring it with you, you won’t find it there.

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