Are you a Sales Professional or a Well-Paid Tourist?

Posted on 03/20/2014 in Sales Call Planning

As a former sales professional and sales manager, I saw firsthand for myself and my sales team how important it is to do pre-call planning well.  

There are three critical tasks that should be done before every sales call – we call these tasks the What, the Who, and the How, for short.  

The first critical task is referred to as the "What” of your plan, meaning:  What specifically do you want to accomplish on this sales call?  Have you set clear sales goals and sales call objectives?  

This is the most important step because it ensures that every sales call should be purposeful.  A sales call without an objective is a visit.  You are a sales professional, not a well-paid tourist, so don’t make visits!

The second critical task of your pre-call plan is the "Who” of the sales call. Your sales goals directly influence who should be at the sales call.  Who do you need to speak with, either on the phone or in person, to achieve your sales goals and objectives?    

At the risk of stating the obvious — you can’t accomplish your sales call objectives if the right customer contact isn’t at the sales call.

The third critical task is the "How.”  After you’ve set your goals and objectives and scheduled an appointment with the right person(s), then you should plan and organize what you will say and do during the sales call.  

Depending on the specific customer situation, you might plan some (but not all) of these factors: 

How to open the sales call
Questions to ask about the customer’s needs
Benefits and differentiators to highlight about your company and product/service
Likely objections and how you will respond
Actions/next steps that you want the customer to take

For some additional reading on pre-call planning, please visit an earlier blog post: Back to Basics: Why Pre-Call Planning is Crucial.  Sales managers interested in helping their salespeople improve pre-call planning skills visit the Sales Meeting Kits: Pre-Call Planning page. 

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