Something quite strange happened to me yesterday. I was driving home from my morning workout when I got a telephone call.

“This is Julien,” I answered.

“Charles, It’s Michael”

“I’m not Charles,” I calmly stated.

“OK”, he said, “I’m connecting you into the conference call right now.”

Now, normally, I would just hang up, but I was on a drive home with nothing good on the radio, so I decided to stay on the line. Someone announced that Charles had just joined the call when I got connected into the conference. I politely announced that Charles had not joined the call, and that I wasn’t Charles.

“OK, lets get started” a voice decreed as a response.

What followed was a 13 minute budget meeting for a company that I do not work for or consult for. It was informative, and run quite efficiently, outside of the fact that Charles wasn’t in attendance and I was. The thought did cross my mind to suggest a large sales training budget, and highly endorse Sales Fix as the chosen company on which to spend this new training budget, but I never really had the chance to bring it up as “new business”.

When I was eventually called on (or when Charles was called on), I came clean and pointed out that I was not Charles, and that Charles was not on the call, and that they had a let a total stranger into their budget meeting, some of them asked why I hadn’t told them I wasn’t Charles. I responded that I had stated that several times, but they didn’t listen, because of the urgent drive to hold an efficient budget meeting.

Here’s the point. Most of the time, most of us are NOT LISTENING. We are going through a set of robotic responses and steps, calmly oblivious to the information being conveyed to us.

Your prospects are no different. Just because you called on them and said something, does not mean they heard it. Here’s the real rub….when that happens….you are to blame. It’s your fault. It is your responsibility to make sure that the people you call on are listening when you call on them. Assuming they are hearing you is a gross miscalculation. Your “Elevator Pitch” is wasted on someone who isn’t listening. Even worse, you often do not get a second chance to deliver it, if the prospect thinks they already heard it, even though they were not listening.
Your process needs to include two things at the very top of it.

1 – Making sure your prospect is listening, and not partially interrupting a task to pretend to listen to you.

2 – Stating something that in their role, causes them to lean in an pay attention. Psychologically, I am going for the same reaction I get from my dog when I say the word “Squirrel?”. I wan the world to stop and their face to be locked into paying attention mode. You know, THIS face.

Without those two elements, you are running the risk that your prospect is not listening, and wasting both of your times.

By the way, Charles, email me, because I have a list of action items for you from Tuesday’s budget meeting.