An ounce of sweat is worth a pint of blood. –George S. Patton
I was giving a sales call planning workshop to a group of salespeople. I asked them to take ten minutes to complete a sales call plan for a mock presentation. They had all of the information and tools they needed to complete the exercise. At the ten-minute mark, I called for them to stop working on their plan and present their work to the group.
They groaned. The whined. They complained that I didn’t give them enough time to complete the call planning exercise. Now I had them. Feigning anger, I shouted: “Are you kidding me? You guys have never spent ten minutes planning a sales call in your lives. I gave you ten minutes more than you’ve ever taken.” We all busted out laughing because we all knew it was true, and I had made my point.
Most salespeople don’t plan their sales calls. They believe that, because they’ve made some great number of sales calls in the past, they don’t need to plan their sales calls. But this is a terrible strategy for creating—or winning—an opportunity. The truth of the matter is that you are much better off planning a sales call, identifying the outcomes you need, aligning your call with your sales process, and preparing to create value for your client.
A sales call is a live performance. It’s a good part improvisational, because your client can throw all kinds of things at you. But there isn’t any reason to not to plan how you want the call to go. There is no reason not to spend the ten minutes it takes to plan your parts.
You plan your sales call because it makes you a professional. You share your agenda with your client and you give them proof of your professionalism.
You plan your sales call because it makes it increases the chances that the call will go the way you intend it to go. If you have defined the outcomes you need, you improve the odds of achieving them.
You plan your sales call because it allows you to follow your sales process, completing all of the tasks and gaining all of the commitments you need to increase the odds of actually winning an opportunity.
You plan your sales call because it is what professionals do, because it increases the odds that you get the outcomes you need, and because it allows you to create the kind of value for your dream clients that makes it easy for them to agree to the commitments you are asking them to give you.
Do you plan your sales calls?
How much time does it take to plan a sales call?
What could you gain by spending ten minutes preparing for a sales call?
What would the discipline of planning calls do for your ability to execute on your sales process? How would this discipline help you when you plan for really big calls?
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