“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
We have all been in situations when poor preparation has led to unnecessary work, when we wished we had taken the time to organize our thoughts or questions before acting.
Approaching a sales call requires groundwork. Without it, it is easy to lose control of a conversation. By the end of the call, you and your team may discover you have more questions than when you began, or, without realizing it, that you failed to gather all the requisite information to begin serving a client.
Benjamin Franklin’s warning is important in life as well as in business. If you take time to prepare, and stick to our proven, pre-call plan, you and your team will have a smoother, more successful sales call.
The Basics of the Pre-Call Plan
A good pre-call plan consists of several elements that should be in place, if possible, one week before the call occurs
To begin, make sure you’ve secured the basic information. This includes the time and date you will connect with the prospective client. It is also wise to note what type of meeting will occur, whether it will be conducted through GoToMeeting, Join.me, or other providers. Completing these basic steps can eliminate a lot of last-minute stress leading up to a call.
After this, ask yourself what you already know about the person to whom you will be speaking. Try to understand their style and personality on a human level. You can check their LinkedIn profiles, research their company’s website, or read through recent blog posts for additional insights. If you can find them, look up investor reports to gauge their business.
Better still, check with team members who may have initially spoken to the attendee. Note any previous conversations that shed light on his or her goals. As with securing basic information, this aspect of the pre-call plan will only make the call easier. Familiarizing yourself with information early creates a more personable atmosphere and opens the door to conversations and questions.
Once you have reviewed the information above, it is time to assign roles to each team member on the call. In doing so, you will eliminate any confusion about who is quarterbacking the call, who is asking questions, and who is taking notes for a follow-up connection.
And remember: cooperation is vital to a sales call. Each team member brings various experiences in their respective roles and has valuable insights to contribute. In fact, the only thing more important than planning your call is coordinating the roles and working as a team.
Setting the Agenda
At this point you have all the basic information for the call. You’ve researched the attendee and his or her company and delegated roles for each team member. Now it is time to outline what you want to learn on the call and set the agenda.
When thinking of questions for uncovering information, keep the following examples in mind:
- How long has (the attendee) been with (the organization)?
- Have they always used (the competitor’s system)?
- What do you currently like about (the competitor’s system)?
- What do you dislike about (the competitor’s system)?
- What would you like to see from (our client’s) solution?
- What do you look for in a partner?
All of these questions are geared toward learning more about the attendee and whether or not we are an adequate fit for them.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Like Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln favored preparation, and with good reason. By not taking the time to plan, we risk losing the advantages of organizing our minds and orienting ourselves in the right direction. But if we put together a strong pre-call plan, and work together to share information and coordinate our efforts, we will go into a sales call with the best possible chance for moving forward with prospective clients.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”no-repeat” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” class=”author-box”][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]
Author: Kyle Tillar
Kyle Tillar works to ensure that clients’ target goals are reached and that the inside sales team is meeting objectives. Kyle is able to leverage his sales expertise and extensive training to help inside sales executives advance their career development and achieve client commitments.
Kyle Tillar is VP of Sales for NuGrowth Solutions, working to ensure clients reach their goals and inside sales teams meet objectives. Under Kyle’s leadership, NuGrowth sales teams have generated hundreds of million in pipeline revenue and closed ACV for clients. Leveraging his sales expertise and extensive training, Kyle excels in developing go to market strategies and sales processes to increase KPI’s and results.