Ramping Up The Results Of Your Sales Calls
If you are a high performance sales professional, you always prepare your calls rigorously. Hacks are those that have mastered the art of “shooting from the lip,” but accomplish very little in each call as well as running the risk of aggravating the customer. I know none of you are hacks–they don’t read and learn, so they will never see this post. So let’s focus on how you can turn the crank further on sales call effectiveness.
You’re in the middle of a deal. You’ve mad a number of sales calls on various people involved in the decision-making process. You’re slowly but surely making progress. You have an important call coming up. Since you’re a professional, you are researching and preparing rigorously. You’ve established your goals for the call–these have been primarily driven by the next steps in your sales process. You’ve prepared your questions, you’ve anticipated objections the customer might have and believe you have nailed them. You’ve identified the value you will create in the call, you know you will create great value and use their time well.
You’re all ready! You’ve done everything well, so how do you magnify the impact and results you create in the call?
It’s actually pretty easy–and customers love this. Ask yourself the question, “How do I make sure the customer has prepared for the call as well a I have?”
It’s almost magic in how this changes the quality and outcomes of the call!
See the problem is, if we don’t ask the customer to make sure they are for the call, then we are really limiting our impact and our ability to help the customer. Here are some things that happen:
The customer might not have the right people available to help you both achieve the goals you have established for the call. You get to the meeting, you go through your agenda and all of a sudden the customer responds, “We really need Charlie in this meeting.” You know what happens, you pause the meeting, the customer sends a message to Charlie–he’s in a meeting. You coordinate calendars and you schedule a meeting with Charlie participating next week. All of a sudden,, you have lengthened the sales process by another week.
Or in reviewing the agenda, the customer doesn’t have all the information they need to provide you in order for you to achieve your goals. You sent an agenda, but they pulled it up and looked at it just as you entered their office. They spend time trying to get the information. It takes time and attention from the meeting. You fail to get all the commitments you had hoped for–you schedule another meeting.
See, sales professionals make sure they are prepared for the meeting, but seldom think if the customer is prepared.
Agendas are critical to reducing the number of calls you need to make to close–but not your ordinary agenda. Here’s how you harness the power of an agenda:
- Some days before the meeting prepare an agenda for the meeting. (Wow, this means you can’t plan your call in the lobby as you wait for the customer.).
- Write down 3-5 key topics you want to discuss in the meeting.
- Write down 1-2 commitments you want to have the customer make as a result of the discussion. (You’ll notice, in the sample, I make sure the customer knows what I want to achieve. ACTIONS are in caps, underlined and bold. I want them to know I’m entering the meeting with the expectation of accomplishing something. I want to make sure they shared the expectation.
- Put 2-3 blank lines on the bottom of the agenda.
- Email it to the customer and ask for their response to the agenda. Is it appropriate? Are there items that should be added, deleted. Make sure you go over the commitments/outcomes. Ask them to make verify these are appropriate for the meeting. If they reply “No,” then you have your first objection, handle it.
- If the customer doesn’t respond, but a call into her. Leave a voicemail reconfirming the agenda and outcomes, asking if anything should be added.
It’s simple and powerful. It’s professional. It makes sure that both of you are aligned and prepared to accomplish something in the meeting.
It clearly and positively tells the customer, “I don’t want to waste your time. Likewise, I want to make sure my time is well used.”
Do this rigorously, you will reduce the number of calls to close dramatically.
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