Too much of the common wisdom about sales planning has more to do with researching the prospect than actual call planning (and too often, research paralyzes a sales rep and robs them of the time they should be pursuing prospects).
Real call planning is about determining the outcome of the sales call before making it. To be successful, you need to ask and answers these questions:
- What are my desired outcomes for this sales call?: This can include acquiring information, obtaining access to others within the prospect’s company, etc.)
- How will these outcomes advance the sale? A well crafted outcome must include an agreement and a commitment that advances the sale. Even though you may not be closing the sale, you must close every sales call with an agreement and a commitment that moves the sales forward.
- What value will the client receive during the sales call? In order for a prospective client to give you their most precious resource, their time, they have a a right to expect something of value in return. They expect it, and you have an obligation to deliver it.
- Can I reasonably expect the client to agree to the next step? If you cannot reasonably expect the client to agree with the next step, you need to revisit your outcome and the value that you believe you have created. It is helpful to have a number of potential agreements that advance the sale to ensure that you have the greatest chance of successfully gaining a commitment to move forward.
The great value from planing the outcome is that it allows for immediate feedback. A client’s refusal to move forward with the outcomes that you defined prior to the call indicates that the call has failed. If the client agrees to move forward with your predefined advance, the call was (more often than not) successful.
Define the outcome! Create real value! Advance the sale!