If you never define what you intend to accomplish during a sales call, it’s impossible to fail. But, it’s also impossible to succeed. You need a defined outcome, a goal.

Have you ever returned from a sales call to be asked how the call went and heard yourself reply with something like this: “It went great! They really liked us!” Or maybe you replied: “I learned a lot about their company. We had a great conversation.” There is nothing wrong with being liked, and it’s nice to have a pleasant conversation. But these aren’t the primary outcomes of a sales call. They don’t indicate success.

The primary outcome of a sales call is a commitment that creates an opportunity, or one that moves an opportunity forward.

Define Success Ahead of the Call

The only way you can measure your success on a sales call is to define the outcome prior to the call. Without defining the outcome, you can be fooled into believing that you had a successful sales call.

You can mistakenly believe that being liked or having a good conversation with a receptive stakeholder makes for a successful call. You might also mistakenly believe a sales call was successful if you gathered useful information. While these are positive events, they don’t indicate a successful call.

Without some future commitment, it isn’t enough to be liked. Neither is gaining information. It is critical that you know your dream client, but that knowledge must be put to use. To put it to use you need some future commitment.

Before you make a sales call, define the outcome. That outcome needs to include some commitment that creates or advances an opportunity. Those gained commitments are how you discern a successful call from a failed call. Without some commitment, your sales call is a failed call.

A call without a defined outcome wastes your time. More still, it wastes your client’s time.

Your Dream Client Wants You to Succeed

Your dream client wants you to succeed. If they gave you their most precious commodity, their time, then they want you to succeed in helping them. You can share the outcome you hope to achieve when you open you sales call. You can close the call by asking for and gaining a commitment to move forward with your dream client.

Too many salespeople wait for their dream client to give them some sign. Your dream client is waiting for you to lead the development of the opportunity. You are supposed to know what you need from your client in order to help them. Your dream client wants you to succeed, but you have to do your part and define what steps need to be taken. You need to ask for the commitments.

There is this old saying that goes “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” But that’s not true. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll wander around aimlessly never arriving anywhere. Define your outcome before you make your sales calls so you can measure your success—and so you can create and move opportunities.


What makes a sales call successful? What makes for a failed sales call?

What are the outcomes of a call that define success? What are your goals?

How do you ensure you achieve the outcomes of your sales call?

What does your client expect from you when they give you their time?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 17, 2012
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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