Sales Performance

How To Effectively Pre Call Plan

What constitutes an effective Pre Call Plan?  Fair question in follow up to You Consider That A Sales Call?

A solid Pre Call Planning system breaks down like this:

Outcome Objective:  Define meeting success.  What is the  primary goal or objective of the meeting in one sentence?  Is it discovery, a referral or a signed contract?  Those are different meetings.  Begin with the end in mind.

Research: Conduct thorough online research including a review of all meeting participant profiles.  Avoid allocating valuable meeting time to obvious insights you should acquire during a basic preparation cycle. I typically send Linked In invitations as a follow up to my first meeting and not prior.

Questions Map:  Build effective, open ended questions from a position of intelligence.  Structure questions designed to help create understanding and awareness that moves the conversation toward the outcome objective.  These are always prepared in advance.

Show & Tell:  Something to show helps.  Keep it simple.  Sharing a meeting agenda and objective at the outset immediately builds context and commitment.  Invite suggestions.  We use Go To Meeting and this simple addition to frame our online meetings has helped us improve focus considerably. The key here is to show people something they genuinely care about.  They care about their situation and success.  Not your pitch deck or media kit and not so much about you.

Competitive Intelligence:  Great sellers understand the competitive landscape.  Additionally, they spend almost no time discussing or diminishing the competition in a meeting. This undermines authenticity and weakens the strength of their own ideas.  If your ideas are good enough, differentiated enough, compelling enough that is where you spend the time.  Focus on how you are different.  Your best differentiation opportunity is around the customer outcome and how you do things

POV: Demonstrate an authentic, differentiated and compelling position of value.  It should align with the customer outcome and be compelling enough to mandate more investigation or movement to change.  The best customers don’t buy on price.  They buy value.  You don’t lose sales to price.  You lose based on your ability to create value.  Value exists in the mind of the customer {more on delivering value soon}.  When you are providing new insight that helps a customer improve their business you are delivering value.  Value is about customer success.

ROI Analysis:  POV is strengthened when it’s attached to money.  Promising accelerated growth?  Savings?  How much?  When?  Can you prove your ability to deliver?

Proof of Concept:  Who else is achieving these results? Case studies with evidence count.  You need testimonials.  You need Brand Evangelists to tell your story for you.  Is your story worth telling?  This is your brand experience and the results that power sales performance.

Challenge Ready: What are the top 5 objections you encounter?  Top producing sellers know this cold. They invite objections.  They welcome the tension, hard questions and moments of challenge in a sales call.  They recognize them as signs of interest and for the opportunity to elevate understanding, align expectations and move a call to a commitment.

Commitment:  A quality call ends with a shared commitment to advance.  What are the next logical steps forward in the decision cycle?

This is how we prepare Top Producers to have quality calls that yield commitment.   Preparation is the ultimate competitive advantage.

TIP:  This approach can be applied to meetings that aren’t sales oriented. We waste too much valuable time in bad meetings that don’t make a difference.  Every meeting deserves an agenda and outcome objective that should result in positive change and business improvement.

{Programming Note:  Our 2012 Speaking/Training Calendar is closed.  For 2013 program inquiries please contact Lynn Mandienc}.

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