Santiago was supposed to visit Mrs. Cindy, a nice businesswoman nearing 60 years old, in her office in Quezon City at 2pm. Mrs. Cindy cut short her birthday blow out with her high school friends in order to be present in her office by 2pm. Without any prior warning, Santiago was late for 20 minutes and gave no apology. Sweating with messy hair, Santiago, in black shirt and black coat, had no time to fix himself in a more presentable manner before meeting Mrs. Cindy.
Santiago extended his hand while greeting Mrs. Cindy ‘good morning’. Unfortunately, Mrs. Cindy was avoiding a handshake as she has just recuperated from a bad cold. Awkward moment for Santiago as Mrs. Cindy politely explained her predicament and asked Santiago to be seated.
Santiago handed his calling card to Mrs. Cindy using his left hand while Mrs. Cindy accepted and gave her own calling card using both hands. Santiago immediately wrote something at the back of Mrs. Cindy’s card without reading much of the content of the card. Next, Santiago gave his company’s brochures to Mrs. Cindy using his left hand again and Mrs. Cindy used her right to accept while saying ‘thank you’.
Santiago started talking about his company and how it can help Mrs. Cindy’s company, unaware of the specific needs of Mrs. Cindy. By this time, Mrs. Cindy noticed the cheap pen Santiago was using, and the unmindful many ‘ah’ and ‘well’ he used all throughout his presentation while picking on his nose every so often.
Mrs. Cindy’s secretary came in and reminded her boss of a 2:30pm next meeting. By this time, Santiago started panicking, asked for ten more minutes to finish his presentation and voluntarily offered a discount to Mrs. Cindy if she will sign up that same time. Calm and pleasing, Mrs. Cindy stood up and told Santiago that she will call him when interested, a diplomatic way of telling Santiago to leave.
The above is not an unusual case of unprofessionalism for beginners as well as those who lack mindfulness. Disasters await for those who are not prepared to execute the firm’s strategy. In the case of Santiago, he would benefit by knowing the following on a micro level:
1. Research about your client and the company you are visiting.
2. Be prompt. Arrive 15 minutes before scheduled appointment. Never let the customer wait for you.
3. Upon arrival, fix yourself properly before seeing your customer.
4. If you will be late, inform the assistant of your customer (if you do not know the customer’s number).
5. Always have full battery and extra mobile load in case using prepaid mobile number so as not to be crippled by the absence of mobile device’s functionality.
6. Use both hands to give calling cards or brochures. In many cultures, it is a show of respect. Left hand is the dirty hand and is used to wipe one’s ass in the bathroom.
7. Ask where the customer prefer you to sit. There may be a seat that is considered the ‘sacred seat’ within a company used by the revered big boss.
8. Probe before presenting in order to customize your presentation to the needs of the customers.
9. Ensure there will be no distractions (clothes, voice, mannerism, pen, etc.)
10. Handle objections professionally. Don’t give discount if it is not the issue.
Remember the above and you can focus on executing your mission and achieve higher result in less time.