Pre Call Planning is Key
Pre Call Planning
Ok, you have made your 75th call of the day and to this point you have experienced nothing but rejection. All of a sudden you did it… you reached a decision maker who has a possible pain that your product or service could potentially help. The prospect says let’s talk at X time on the 25th at which point he will assemble his team and they would like to see a “demo”.
If you are like many sales professionals, the 25th will come and you will hop on the call and “wing it” while hoping for the best. For some this approach works, but for the vast majority of sales professionals this leads to ineffective meetings and lost opportunity.
Do you fall into the latter? If so I want to start with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
What can you do to prevent this ineffectiveness and wasted opportunity? You need to conduct a pre-call planning session. These sessions will give you a road map on where you want to go and how to get there. Here are some ideas on how to conduct an effective pre-call planning session:
Review the prospect’s website
Reading a prospective company’s website is the first step to understanding who your prospective company is. Most websites are a tremendous wealth of knowledge that can help you understand some of the goals and initiatives the prospect is trying to accomplish.
Know their competitors and the industry they are in
Understanding the competitive landscape that your prospect faces and the industry in which they work will help you build credibility and allow you to develop rapport quickly. This in turn will allow prospects to open up and share their core issues with you sooner.
Research Participants on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has changed the game for sales professionals and allows them to understand who each of the participants is and their roles and responsibilities within the organization. This allows you to cater your solution’s benefits to their specific needs and or interests.
Have Established Goals for the call
Many sales professionals have very loose goals like “I want to demo the software and get a trial going with the prospect. This is ok, but having more defined and established goals will help you understand if your solution can actually help your prospect and if it is worth pursuing. An example of a more defined goal would be “I need to identify what company xyz’s top initiatives are and what will happen if they don’t hit these initiatives”
Have appropriate open ended questions ready:
Once your goals for the call are established create a list of open ended questions you want to ask that will guide your prospect to giving you the information you need to reach your goals. Example: “What are the top 3 areas of improvement you want to achieve in xyz department?” “How important is it for your team to make these improvements and what happens if you don’t?” “Is there a specific date these improvements need to be made by and what happens if the date isn’t met?”