I travel a lot for my work, and I usually travel pretty light, because I dislike luggage.  I mean I really dislike it. In fact, I hate it.  It slows me down, it complicates everything.  From stuffing into the overhead bin, to paying excessive check in fees, luggage is enough of a pain when it’s yours, but what really ruins the fun is other people’s luggage.

Other people’s luggage is worse, because none of the contents are relevant or useful to you.  It’s just dead weight.

Ask yourself this: When you go into a sales presentation or sales meeting, are you aware of how much of other people’s luggage you are dragging in with you?

Bad enough that we all bring our own luggage into a sales call, like emotions from home, fatigue, anxiety, and more, but other people’s luggage?  Really?  Who needs that?

There are two main types of other people’s luggage that I often see being dragged into a meeting by sales reps.

Company Luggage – I define this as all the company “stuff” that is irrelevant to the deal on the table as you speak to a specific prospect.  Things like a changing commission plan, the company stock price, the expense report you are still waiting on, a bad co-worker who makes your life harder.  None, I repeat, NONE of that stuff is relevant to the prospect you are about to meet with.  During those sacred 30 or 40 minutes, your focus needs to be on them, their pain, and how you can help them solve it. Period. Anything else is a distraction

  • Don’t worry about the stock price.  That’s someone else’s job.
  • Don’t worry about the long term sales plan.  That’s for your manager to stress about
  • Don’t worry about your expense report, eventually, it will come through
  • Does it being the end of the quarter or month affect your buyer’s decision-making process? It doesn’t.

While you may need to concern yourselves over some of those things on occasion, you never need them in your head during a sales call.  You work too hard to get prospect meetings to not be 100% there when they are in progress.  Let go of that luggage before you dial or walk in.

Prospect’s Luggage – Your last prospect told you your CEO was evil? They think you are “killing” their industry? They hung up on you because the last rep they had was dishonest?  They think you look like the guy who broke the heart of their little sister?  They are pretty sure your management team killed Jimmy Hoffa.

Good for them, guess what?  That does not always mean the next prospect is going to think that.  In fact, it rarely means that.  Purge yourself of the negative energy of one bad prospect before the next presentation.  Sometimes, it helps to physically do that, by walking around the block, or playing a high energy song in the car.
I have lost count of the number of prospects who didn’t get the point I was making, or told me it was wrong.  I once had a prospect tell me that the best we could do was make him break even on the proposal I was showing him.  “I went to Harvard Business School, and I’m telling you there is only one way to look at it,” he added.

Not true.  It’s not even true that everyone who went to Harvard would agree there’s only one way to see it.  You know why I know that?  President Obama and Bill O’Reilly both went to Harvard.  Do you think they agree on much? 

I don’t care if someone went to Harvard Law or West Lower Valley Podunk Technical College (go Red Beavers), one man’s opinion is one man’s opinion, and it does not change the world of mathematics, and it does not shake my confidence in my product or service. Every new call is a reset, a blank slate.  Yes, you learn lessons from past calls and prospects, but the emotions that come with those calls need to be let go.  It is luggage.  It is someone else’s luggage.  It is a 4ft tall ugly painting your aunt Gertrude wants you to take back home with you and give to a friend.  That’s what FedEx is for.

Stop carrying other people’s luggage. 

Pay attention to your beliefs and your thoughts when going into an appointment or a prospecting call.  Audit your brain and make sure what you believe is what you believe, and not what someone else planted there. If you enjoy extra luggage, at least make sure it’s yours.