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Planning for Effective Sales Calls

Sales manager to sales rep: “Let’s meet in the lobby 5 minutes before the meeting starts to go over what you’re going to say and what I’m going to say.”

Does this sound familiar?

How prepared are you and your team for your sales calls?

One of the most difficult, yet highly important aspects of a sales professional’s job is securing meetings with prospective clients. Salespeople are asked to enthusiastically prospect every day in a way that will ensure prospective clients will take time out of their day to meet with them.

Yet, it is alarming how many salespeople plan their calls on the off ramp leading into the meeting. Or worse – they have no plan at all and “show up and throw up.” So, why aren’t salespeople more prepared for their meetings? I have to think it’s due to a lack of oversight and accountability from their management team or just pure laziness on the part of the sales rep.

Planning for effective sales calls ensures:

  • You won’t waste your time or the client’s time

  • You will know if you had a successful meeting or not

  • You think about the client/prospect’s specific goals/outcomes, your specific objectives for the call, the questions you need to ask to achieve both and to anticipate any objections that might arise.

At Butler Street, we use a Call Planning Worksheet (CPW) that is designed to ensure proper preparation for a sales call. No one within the company meets with a prospect or client without a CPW – even the Managing Partners. This creates consistency and accountability throughout the organization. If there are multiple people included on the call, the CPW must be sent out the night before and always returns with notes and additional questions. We strive to win our play at every contact point with the client (or moment of truth) and a proper call plan allows us to achieve a higher level of success.

You might think this sounds like a lot of work but I would simply ask, “Do you perform better when you are prepared or not?” Every time you contact a prospect or client, it is an opportunity to create value. Create maximum impact by planning for these interactions.

In our Sales Effectiveness course, sales representatives learn how to plan for effective sales call by following the following structure:

Background/Interesting Facts:

  • What do you know about the client?

  • What does the client know about you?

Primary and Secondary Goals:

  • Define your objectives for the call

  • Primary – What is the best commitment to action you can expect the client to make?

  • Secondary – What is the least commitment to action to still move the buying process forward?

Opening Statement:

  • Script your opening statement to answer the question: Why are you meeting (in the client’s operating reality – not yours)?

  • Suggested agenda

  • Response check – gain agreement from the client

Fact Finding:

  • Be diagnostically oriented: Prescription Before Diagnosis = Malpractice

  • Script the questions you need to ask to achieve your primary and secondary goals

  • Create gap between customer’s actual state and desired state

Sell Value:

  • Now it’s your turn to talk – be prepared to articulate the ways in which your product/service will add value to your customer based on the gap you have created

Anticipated Objections:

  • What objections may arise that could potentially stop the client from committing to next steps?

  • Be prepared to isolate the objection which will not only set you apart from the competition, but will also allow you to advance through the Decision Process with your client

Gain Commitment:

  • Be prepared to summarize your value and the agreements you have made during the call to move the relationship forward

  • Closing with next steps ensures you have created enough value for the client to meet with you again and you are advancing through the Decision Process

A CEO recently said he turned a sales rep away who came into a meeting with a blank piece of paper, because it showed the sales rep was not prepared for the meeting and would ultimately waste his time. Don’t allow this to happen to you or anyone on your team. Butler Street's proved processes and methodologies help you prepare for interactions with your customers so you can drive value and win your play! Contact us to learn more

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