Are you at the cusp of something new? Perhaps you've taken a newsales position or are selling to new markets or buyers. Maybeyou're launching a new product or service or are taking onresponsibility for on-boarding a new rep. Or maybe you've finallyrealized that you're doomed unless you figure out how to deal withtoday's savvy, frazzled, sales-averse decision-makers.

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What's common among all these scenarios? You (or your new reps)are once again thrown into learning mode. You're overwhelmed by thesheer magnitude of the task at hand. You're not sure you'll everfigure it out. But here's the deal: To make things happen, you needto take control of your learning. It can't be done in bits andpieces, with no rhyme or reason to what you're learning.

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In my book Agile Selling, I lay out a complete 90-daysales plan, which starts with a deep dive into the informationand/or skills you need to focus on. Why 90 days? Because thistimeframe is short enough to feel manageable yet long enough to getresults.

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1. Obtaincompany-specific training (for example, products, sales andindustry).

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2. Map out andprioritize “need to know now” info necessary for situationalcredibility.

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3. Immerse yourself inrelevant product and marketplace knowledge.

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4. Fill outa buyer's matrix on primary buyers.

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5. Create a dictionary,cheat sheets and checklists to aid recall.

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6. Map out and researchbuyers' decision-making processes.

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7. Clarify reasonsbuyers choose to maintain the status quo.

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8. Identify businesscases that will encourage buyers to make changes.

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9. Get up to speed onthe technology needed to do the job.

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10. Start collecting customer stories;learn how your solutions have made a difference.

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Notice how the plan focuses on understanding your customer, evenat the expense of your company or offerings? That's because that'swhat matters most—you need to establish situational credibility assoon as possible. The full 90-day plan is filled withopportunities to deepen your knowledge, sharpen your skills,increase your prospecting effectiveness and engage yourcustomers.

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Selling is an activity like any other. When you map it out aheadof time, you get lots more done and end up being moreproductive.

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