Some salespeople are blessed with a natural ability to think on their feet. In client interactions, they thrive on the hardball questions and the give and take that allows them to utilize their abilities. Planning the sales calls seems both unnecessary and unnatural, so they don’t do it.

Other salespeople are so comfortable, or perhaps have been in their role long enough, that they no longer feel a need to plan the sales call. They have made lots of sales calls on lots of clients with lots of similar problems. Why plan when you already know how sales calls go?

Even if you are as gifted as a politician in answering tough questions and thinking on your feet, and even if you have been at the game for decades, planning your sales calls (and other client interactions) is still necessary, and it still improves your results.

Without Knowing the Desired Outcomes, You Are Less Likely to Obtain Them

To ensure you achieve all of the outcomes of a sales call or client interaction, you should plan the sales call.

Making a list of the outcomes that you need to achieve based on your sales process, and based on what information you have, will make achieving those outcomes more likely.

That same list of outcomes provides you with an opportunity to ask yourself some questions that will make your sales call more effective, as well as making the sales call more valuable for your dream client.

Planning the Outcome Helps You Plan What You Need to Do to Obtain It

By identifying the outcomes, you can also identify what you are going to have to do in order to obtain them.

Do you want access to other decision-makers, decision-influencers, or stakeholders? How is your dream client going to benefit by granting you vertical access to the people that you need to move your opportunity forward?

Do you need access to information? What do you have to do in the way of creating value for your dream client that would make it worth their while to help you acquire the information that you need?

Do you need to sell your dream client a better buying process? Have you thought through how you are going to sell all that a better buying process requires of your dream client and their team?

How many outcomes does your sales process require that you complete during this sales call? How many outcomes can you achieve on this sales call and how many of them will require another sales call?

Thinking through your sales call and doing some planning will improve your odds of achieving what you need to create or advance your opportunity. Answering questions like the ones above will also make your time with your dream client more valuable to them.

Your Dream Client Expects You to Have an Agenda and a Plan

One final—and important—thought here: Your dream client doesn’t wan—or expect—you to wing it.

As impressive as your ability to think on your feet may be to you, your dream client expects you to have an agenda and a plan. It is more impressive to your dream client that you have developed a thoughtful, logical, and professional plan for the time that they have invested in you.

A short written plan takes about 10 to 15 minutes to develop. If you have a must-win, mission critical sales call or interaction, spending a half hour to plan your call will be an awesome investment of your time, and you will produce greater results for having done so.


How much time do you presently spend planning your sales call?

Even if you are gifted at thinking on your feet, why is it still important to plan to achieve the outcomes of your sales call?

Have you ever left a sales call and forgotten something that you wanted to accomplish?

How much time should you spend preparing for a sales call?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on March 26, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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