Before you start making sales calls, it’s a good idea to prepare for them. A lack of preparation means a much higher chance of things not going according to plan when you make the call. Of course, preparing for a sales call can’t promise a favourable outcome, but it’ll increase the chances of getting what you want from the call.
Before you pick up the phone or charge into someone’s office to try and sell something, do a little preparation. The idea is to develop a comfortable framework where you have enough knowledge to get started and to ensure that you’re prepared for certain eventualities on the call itself.
Define Your Goals
Make your objectives clear. What do you want to accomplish before the call ends? What does your potential customer want to achieve during this call?
Write down specific, targeted questions that are relevant to your potential customer’s business, industry, pain points, needs, and buying behaviors. Be ready to listen and take notes so that you can react to what the potential buyer says. Limit your questions so that the meeting feels like a conversation, not an interview.
Call objectives include:
- Finding out the name (and other contact details) of the person who buys services like yours.
- Scheduling a meeting with the person who buys services like yours.
- Getting the person to request marketing materials (such as your portfolio, CV, corporate brochure, etc.).
- Getting the person to ask for a quotation on a particular project
- Closing a sale.
Structure the Call
Creating an informal itinerary for the conversation will help you maintain control. First, practice how you’d start the meeting to point it in the right direction. Then, map out how to shift the conversation from topic to topic so that you reach all defined goals.
Know Your Value
The truth is that your potential customer is extremely busy. They only have a small window of time to devote attention towards their buying decision. That means they want to feel like they spent their time wisely when they talk to you.
Do you know the value you can provide to this potential buyer? How can you inspire them to speed up their buying decision or move them to the next step in the sales process?
Provide information that answers their questions, speaks to their needs, or explains any concerns they may have. The call should end with your potential customer having actionable steps to carry out and feeling positive about the experience.
Do Your Research
Basic information on your potential customer is essential, but it’s not always enough. Sometimes you need to do your homework in order to understand the big picture as well as the details about the specific challenges they face and how you can provide the solution.
Before every sales call, you should check out the company’s:
- LinkedIn page as well as your potential customer’s professional profile
- Twitter stream
- Website, particularly the About Us and News sections
- Their previous conversations with your company as recorded in your CRM
Think of how athletes prepare for an Olympic race. They control their breathing, stretch and shake out their arms and legs. They visualize each step around the track, picturing how hard to swing their arms, how wide to make each step, and how much energy will be needed to push through the finish line.
This is how you should approach your sales calls. Like an athlete, a balance of adrenaline and oxygen is what you need to maintain performance and focus.