Have you ever considered how your initial meeting with a prospective customer is like a first date? Whether business or personal, one's anticipation of a "first date" can range from giddy excitement to outright dread, and it is our level of confidence that most influences that perspective. Selling skills provide the very foundation of confidence for the sales professional. Specific to the initial sales call, preparedness via pre-call research and call planning will greatly boost your confidence going in.

A successful first date also requires the right objective. Consider your own first date experiences, and which were the most successful.  Were they with individuals who used the time to learn more about you and explore for common ground, or dates who used the time to impress you with their many attributes? Now consider a similar situation as it relates to sales calls. Compare the sales professional who uses the precious opportunity to inundate the customer with product information and self-praise, with the one who explores with the customer to understand their needs, attitudes and purchase motivations. The sales call spent in exploratory mode will likely be more pleasant and productive for buyer and seller alike.

The right attitude, preparedness and an objective to learn/explore versus impress/sell will put you on the path to greater success in your initial sales calls (and in first dates too).