At some point during sales training sessions, or one on one coaching we hear from a veteran salesperson “I knew that!” Our follow up question is something along the lines of “I’m sure you did, the question is; are doing it?” Eyes go down and there is stillness in the room.
Most often this occurs when we are discussing call planning and debriefing. A surprising number of veteran salespeople do little, or no pre-call planning. Even fewer do any kind of de-brief after the call. I often wonder how one can determine the success of a sales call if they have no plan going in and no thought given to what happened when they come out.
We develop client specific Call Objective forms for our clients. You can download a sample here. Whether you are successful or not in a sales call, it is always advantageous to review what you did and didn’t do.
Here are some simple steps to follow to make your next sales call a hit!
- Do your research
If this is your first call on the prospect, have you visited their website, looked up your contact on LinkedIn, and checked the local newspaper for any current news articles? If this is a follow up call, did you complete all the action items from previous calls? What new information are bringing to this meeting?
- Do your prep work
Do you have prepared questions, are they open ended, do you have follow up questions? Can you anticipate any questions they may ask? Do you have answers for those questions?
- Set specific goals/objectives for this call
Why have you scheduled this meeting? Know what you want to accomplish and write those goals down. Your goal might be to get a buying commitment, or might be just to gather more information and set a follow up meeting. Be specific in your objectives.
- End the call with purpose
Establish a list of Action Items for the customer as well as for yourself. Each one should be assigned specifically to someone. Each one should have a completion date and each one should be achievable.
- Summarize and get out of there
What’s worse than people hanging around too long? Summarize your meeting, get agreement on the Action Items, establish a follow up date and time and leave. It’s been a productive meeting. Do not lose the luster by over staying your welcome.
Before you drive out of the parking lot, pull out pre-call planning sheet and review. Did you accomplish your objectives? If not, why not? What are your Action Items? Were there any questions you need to respond to quickly? What will you change on the next call?