An early-career lesson for me about the importance of pre-call planning … When I first started in sales, one day I thought I had done an amazing discovery. I told my boss about it. It was amazing, I said. I hit every major point.
“So”, Greg said, “Did you get the deal?”
Shari: “Well no.”
Greg: “Did you schedule the next appointment?”
Shari: “No, but….”
Greg: “Did they commit to do anything like send you materials, financials, book another meeting?”
I had to admit that my first meeting hadn’t gone so well after all. I had focused on what I wanted to say, not on what they needed to hear.
Lesson Learned: The point of a pre-call plan is to motivate your client to take action.
The goal of each sales encounter is to get your prospect to commit to next steps or what’s commonly referred to as an advance.
A solid pre-call plan helps you to strategize and articulate your goals. In the words of Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there”
To create an effective pre-call plan, you’ll want to answer the following questions:
- What do I want my customer to think?
- What do I want My customer to feel?
- What do I want my customer to do?
- What materials do I need to prepare ahead of time?
- Where will I look to conduct research on all the stakeholders?
- What questions should I ask to ensure I uncover their unique problems, and objectives?
- What must I practice?
The very act of answering these questions will shift your frame of reference. You will pivot from what you want to say, to reflecting on what your customer needs to hear and feel in order to move the sale forward.