How to drive
I finished a book by Ben Collins recently, the man who played the part of 'The Stig' in Top Gear for several years.
Titled 'How to Drive', he shares his insights into his career as a racing and stunt driver, and there was one story I found particularly interesting.
During Ben's time driving in ASCAR - the UK equivalent of NASCAR, where dozen of deranged or extraordinarily brave Americans race at disconcerting speeds in alarming proximity to one another - he was mocked by all of his competitors.
You see, before each race while the other drivers where getting ready, Ben would sit in his stationary car in the pit lane and have his team stand at points all around his car, just a few inches from the bodywork.
No one understood what he was doing until he was a dozen or so laps into a race at Rockingham Motor Speedway.
As is common in this motorsport, there'd been a spectacular crash and the subsequent pile up meant there was only a car's width clear on the track.
A few drivers had a go at squeezing through the space, but either misjudged it and crashed themselves or lost their nerve before attempting the feat.
Then it was Ben's turn.
To the amazement of the crowd, he zipped through the gap without slowing from 160mph.
Many labelled it luck or insanity, but Ben and his competitors knew different.
He'd spent so many hours preparing himself - learning the exact size of his car through his strange pre-race routine - that slotting his car through the gap was almost second nature.
Ben's approach to racing is akin to the smart way to approach your sales and marketing.
Most businesses frequently try and sell to their audience, without doing the necessary preparation first. And, as a result, they struggle to acquire customers.
Smart businesses make the effort to prepare, creating trust and delivering value to their audience, so that when the time comes, they can pull it out the bag.
Which type of business owner are you?