Send Your Customer Your Call Plan!
You do have a written call plan for every meeting, don’t you? Have you ever considered sending it (or a version of it) to the customer in advance?
Now I know what you are thinking. “Dave has some crazy ideas, but he’s really gone off the deep end on this.”
When I speak to groups of sales people about this, the response that always comes up is, “Well, if I do this, then my customer will know what I’m trying to accomplish!”
My response is, “Well isn’t that the point? Don’t you want the customer to be as prepared as you are to accomplish something in this meeting?”
Time is probably the most valuable asset we and our customers have. It is the only thing that is absolutely not recoverable. If you have wasted time, it’s lost, you can’t recover it, the customer can’t recover it.
Consequently, doesn’t it make sense to be as focused and purposeful in the meeting as possible? Doesn’t it make sense to have your customer prepared and as purposeful as you are?
Let’s break this down a little.
We know to use our time well, to accomplish our goals, we need to research, prepare, and have a plan for each meeting we have with the customer (whether by phone, virtually, or the old-school face to face). We go into each meeting, if we are real professionals, with very clear goals and objectives. We know the commitments we are seeking and the outcomes we hope to achieve.
Our call plan becomes the design document to achieve those outcomes and commitments.
But if you think about it, if we are going to ask the customer to make some commitments or we want to produce outcomes, what happens if the customer isn’t prepared? Will they really be able to make those commitments?
If they aren’t prepared–because they don’t know–we know the response, “I’ll have to get back to you……” Now we are in the death spiral of extending the buying/selling cycle. We follow up in a few days, leave a voicemail, later and email, another voicemail. Ultimately, we talk to the customer, they respond they haven’t had a chance to get to it, “Call me back in a week.” We follow up in a week, go through the 1-2 days of phone tag, eventually get the customer. Perhaps we can move to that next step on the phone, perhaps we arrange another meeting.
But add it up, we’ve already extended the buying/sales cycle at least a couple of weeks. And we’ve lost our most precious commodity–our (and the customer’s) time!
But if we shared this in advance, the customer could be prepared. Imagine if they brought data or information critical to the meeting, rather than having to get it later? Imagine if they determined others needed to participate in the meeting and invited them, rather than having to reschedule a follow up meeting? Imagine if they said, “I can’t make the commitments you are expecting in this meeting,” so we could redesign the meeting, understand why they can’t (and who can), or even skip the meeting.
Our time is valuable! Our customers’ time are valuable! They are as goal and accomplishment driven as we are, so doesn’t it serve all of us to make sure each participant is prepared and aligned on the goals and potential outcomes for the meeting?
Be prepared! Make sure your customer is prepared!
Imagine what can be accomplished!
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