I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase many times in your life. Right?

So many years ago, I was in an appointment with a new prospective customer.

I gave my spiel. She told me some of the challenges the company was having and asked what solutions we could offer.

My response. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Her face turned pale.

She was speechless for a few moments.

Then she politely told me that the sales call was over and I needed to leave.

As I stood up, wondering what possibly could have gone wrong, she told me that it was clear I had not looked around her office. So as she pointed around I saw all the pictures of her many cats. No family. No friends. Just a dozen of so pictures of cats. A few candles in the shape of cats. And a few statues of cats.

Lesson learned.

The key to a successful sales call starts before we ever talk. It starts with some careful observation of the items that fill the prospect’s office because we can learn much about our prospect just looking around.

There’s a phrase my children learned from Sesame Street about what to do if they catch on fire: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Here’s a different phrase for all of us sales professionals to learn about conducting great sales appointments: Stop, Look, and Listen.

About The Author

Greg Muzzillo started Proforma as an industry distributor in 1978. The company grew quickly and in the early 1980s Proforma was recognized for three consecutive years on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in North America. In the late 1980’s Proforma introduced its membership program to empower distributors to retain their business ownership and independence, and to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, one back office including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems and more. Today Proforma has over 600 Members and is the $500 Million leader in the Promotional Products and Print Industry. Proforma’s record breaking success includes having 18 of its Affiliates named to Inc. Magazine’s 2020 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies and 193 Affiliates achieving its Million/Multi-Million Dollar Club with sales up to $38 million.