This post is going to begin a series of posts on planning a sales call.
Too often, because we have made hundreds or thousands of sales calls, we believe that planning a sale call is no longer necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Planning your sales call improves the likelihood of making a successful call, and it demonstrates to your dream client your professionalism.
Planning a sales call begins with asking and answering the question as to what is the purpose of the sales call.
Identifying the Purpose for Your Dream Client
There are really two party’s purposes that we need to consider. We tend to focus on what we hope the outcome of the sales call will be for us, when we should first focus on what our dream client needs in the way of an outcome. This is why it is helpful to understand where the client is in their buying cycle.
If your prospective client is working on developing an understanding of their needs, they will expect that you can help them develop those needs and to add ideas that they might need to consider. You have expertise in your industry that they don’t possess. Because of your experience, you know things they don’t know.
If your prospect has already developed their needs, they will expect you to help them understand the range of options available for meeting their needs. You have helped other clients, and you can help your dream client understand what is possible, and what it will cost them in the way of time, effort, and resources.
If they are trying to ensure that they make an effective choice and avoid risk (usually late in the buying cycle), you help them to understand the risk and you resolve their concerns in some way that gives them confidence to move forward. When they are unsure, you provide what is necessary to give them the confidence to move forward—and to defend their decision.
It helps to consider your client’s needs first because it means that you have a greater opportunity to create value for them during a sales call. When you open the sales call, you can confirm these needs, but you should plan to address their needs based on what you do know if you hope to create or advance an opportunity.
Know this: You can succeed at achieving all of the outcomes that you believe benefit you on a sales call and still have an unsuccessful call. Your dream client needs to achieve their outcomes in order for you to succeed. Putting their needs first massively increases the odds that you achieve your outcomes.
Then, Identify Your Purpose
Why are you making this sales call? The answer is obvious, right? You want your dream client’s business. But that’s not an effective or acceptable outcome for a sales call.
The right answers as to your purpose are more specific, more concrete, and they are outcomes that you can achieve on a sales call. Achieving these objectives means that the call was successful. Failure to achieve the objectives means that the call was not successful.
Your objectives may include gathering information to learn and understand your client’s business objectives. They may include gaining access to additional people onyour dream client’s buying committee. You might need to demonstrate your capabilities so that you can create a vision of what your dream client’s imagined future might look like. Maybe you need answers to some questions so that you can propose a solution.
Identifying the purpose of the call before you make the call greatly improves the odds that you will achieve the outcome. It will direct your efforts during the sales call, and it demonstrates a level of professionalism. Planning helps you to prove that you are a value creator and not a time waster.
Questions to Identify Your Client’s Purpose
At what stage in their buying cycle is your dream client?
What it is reasonable to expect that they would need from you now?
How should you be prepared to deliver the outcomes that they need?
What kind of proof or evidence might they need now?
What do you need to do to create enough value to deserve to create or advance an opportunity?
Questions to Identify Your Purpose
What do you need to achieve on this sales call?
How does your client helping you achieve the outcomes you need help your client?