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Ready Or Not?

Want to make sales calls that leave an impression? Prepare yourself.

In Hollywood, rumor has it that Robert DeNiro is consistently one of the most prepared actors of our time. On the first day of shooting a film, DeNiro needs no script. His lines have been mastered. While the rest of the cast may fumble through their lines for several days, DeNiro is calmly prepared.

His preparation efforts should remind us that all performance presentations, including those in sales, are not spontaneous events. When the famed courtroom attorney Racehorse Haynes was interviewed by Texas Monthly magazine years ago and asked how he won so many cases, he claimed, "I am not smarter than other attorneys. I am just better researched and prepared."

Since 1991, Bill Palmer Homes Inc. of Austin, Texas, has gone from being a small two-person building company to one of the top building companies in Austin. This is because the owner, Bill Palmer, prepares his sales and product presentations with the help of those he serves.

"[In the beginning,] we went to local real estate agents and asked them how they could help us sell our new homes," says Clark. "They told us how they wanted to be compensated and treated, and we met their requests."

Bill Palmer Homes allows customers to select floor plans from dozens of home designs or to develop their own custom plans. It made this option available after extensive market research told the company today's consumers wanted more control over what they were buying and that they were extremely value-driven. And its research paid off.

Danielle Kennedy presents sales and marketing seminars and keynote addresses worldwide and is the author of seven sales books as well as audio and video sales training programs. Check local bookstores for her book, Seven Figure Selling (Berkley Press). Write to her in care of Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614.

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ready Or Not?.

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