When I look back to my career and the thousands of sales calls I’ve made, I admit I was not always prepared for the all-important 1st call. Team meetings, cold calling, updating my CRM and a busy day were some of the excuses I made. In the end they were just excuses, but a recent study has shown that only 18% of sales reps feel they are fully prepared for an initial sales call while over 60% stated they were neither prepared or underprepared. It’s through this experience I have a full picture of all the work that goes into creating a qualified lead. I understand that sales are squandered from not being 110% prepared for a sales call.
What will you talk about? What business questions do you have for the prospect? Pencil in some Q/A time and close the agenda with next steps. This way the prospect and you have a clear understanding of what will be discussed avoiding interruptions and keeping the meeting on point. Prospects also appreciate an agenda as it shows that you value their time.
Connecting with the contact before the call allows them to research you more and will help break the ice going into the call. Side note: this also helps increase show-rates.
Either you lead the call or the call ends up leading you. What information are you looking to gain? What checkpoints need to be met to move on to a 2nd call? What info must be shared before hanging up?
15% of the time I end up on a call with a contact that was not the one invited. This would throw me off my game and lead to outlining the wrong value propositions. I want to confirm who I will be talking to and do my due diligence on them. Know their history, know their role, map out assumptions on key decision makers and influencers, and find data to break the ice,
How will your product fit into their business? What pains will do you alleviate, what example clients do you have that would resonate, do they use a competitor or who are their customers.
Although each sales call is different many of the questions and objections that you receive are the same. You have mastered these and relish them popping up. That being said, when you react to a question or objection you are already on your back foot as they were the ones that brought it up. By being the first to bring these up in your presentation you will maintain control of the conversation and show that you understand the customer.
No one likes to be sold yet most love to buy. And everyone likes a good story! Find a relevant client success story and prepare it for the call and recognize when a proper time to inject it into the conversation.
A variety of action items should be ready depending on the direction the call took.
In the end, most buying decisions are made on clear ROI that your product will provide. KPIs are the building blocks to showing ROI, so make sure you have them ready so that you can clearly demonstrate why they would benefit from using your solution
23% of my sales call end up with the prospect joining 3-5 minutes early. This used to throw me off my game and give control back the prospect. Ensure you have budgeted time before the call, you will always be there before them, ready with your agenda and stories to crush it!