The next step is to choose the one idea you feel most confident presenting. It should open a clear and direct path to the prospect's goal. Judge the idea by its ability to achieve that goal.
There is one final check to make before preparing the presentation of your idea: See if you can clearly express your idea in a sentence or two. Try to say it aloud without taking a breath. If you can't, re-examine the idea to see if it's too complicated. Overwhelming a prospect with a proposal that you can't explain in simple terms is a sure way to lose a follow-up call.
Now that you've come up with the ideas, pick one and pitch it. That's right, pick one-any one. It doesn't matter which idea you choose as long as you know your company can deliver it. You can't choose one based on your knowledge of the customer's likes and dislikes because you haven't met the prospect-so just pick one and go with it.
That's when you'll learn the secret to creative selling: Your real goal on the first call is not necessarily to sell that first idea-it's to gather as much information about the prospect as you can so subsequent ideas hit the mark.
As you gather information, you're accomplishing several other things. You make a strong first impression by showing a willingness to invest your time in a study of the prospect's needs. You establish yourself as an idea resource. If you bring prospects something of value, they are likely to see you again. Above all, your idea will provoke a discussion about the prospect's needs. It's through such discussions that you learn what they will buy from you.