When you do something over and over again, it’s easy to believe that your experience means you are doing quality work. As helpful as time and your experience are, there is more to doing quality work. The professionals in any endeavor always approach things in a way that is far different from the amateurs.
Your Preparation: One of the keys to a successful sales meeting is your preparation. Do you have a seriously quality agenda? Do you have an excellent line of questions? Do you know where you are going to start and where you intend to end up? Professionals do the quiet work when it’s dark outside when no one is looking, even when they have years of experience. Preparation is the domain of the master; unpreparedness is amateur.
The Conversation: A quality conversation is a measure of your effectiveness as a salesperson. If the conversation is a monologue, the discussion is poor. If it is an interrogation, it’s even worse. But the very lowest level of quality is a boring conversation one. The ability to engage in a dialogue about change and manage the ebbs and flow while still keeping to your agenda is a high-quality conversation.
The Learning: Discovery isn’t something that is limited to you learning something from your client. Your client also should discover something in a sales call. They could discover the need to change, the vision of what is possible, choices of which they were completely unaware, or a lack of alignment in their priorities. You and your client both learning something new is an important outcome and one that is evidence of an effective sales call.
The Outcomes: Some in sales suggest that they had an excellent sales call if they enjoyed the conversation and the client was pleasant and thanked them for their time and information, which is all well and good. However, no sales call can be called quality if you didn’t achieve any significant outcomes. If it’s your first visit, a client who acknowledges the need to change is evidence of a quality sales call. On a much later call, a client who shares the concerns that may prevent them from moving forward is proof positive of quality call.
Gained Commitments: A sales call that you allow to end without a future commitment isn’t likely to be a quality sales call. You can walk out your client’s front door having achieved some measure of quality in the sale call, only to have it all be a waste of your time—and your client’s time.