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Sales superstars plan before going on a sales call. They script out what questions need to be asked and the most effective way of asking. Every prospect has a unique situation with unique problems. Sales superstars make sure that they are prepared to uncover any pitfalls for the exact situation that they are about to encounter. Ideally, they review their strategy with a third party and tweak how they plan to guide the meeting. This plan maps out what needs to be accomplished at the sales call and how to achieve it.
Poor sales people are comfortable in their ability to "wing" the sales call. No sales person should ever enter a sales call without doing some amount of preparation. It's like preparing for an opponent in a sporting event. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the individual responsible for making this decision? Where does the product or service fit and how do we help the prospect see that? What don't we know about the prospect and how do we ask appropriate questions to discover these things? These are just a few samples of things that we should be asking ourselves before a sales call.
Research shows that 96% of sales people don't define an objective before going on a sales call. Don't make this mistake. Know what decision we are looking for. It can always be a "yes" or a "no". Often another meeting is acceptable. Know what the objective is in your case. Script out the opening of the sales call. What is the most effective way to set expectations for the time, agendas, and possible outcomes of the sales call? Decide on 3 - 4 questions that absolutely must be asked during the call. Script out the best way to ask these questions. Finally, set a constructive mindset. Be mentally prepared to ask good questions and run an effective sales call. If we are prepared with these things then we will be well prepared to have a valuable exchange with the prospect and move the sales process forward.
Once the issues that need to be addressed are on the table, sales superstars formulate plans to deal with each one. They map out a way to get a yes or a no from the prospect. Sales superstars typically have someone to use as a sounding board for their ideas and plan of action. This person can be a co-worker, fellow salesperson, or their sales manager. Whoever it is should be able to critique the sales superstar's line of thinking to refine their technique and make sure that their expectations are realistic.
Finally the sales superstar will do a short practice run. Any part of the sales call that can be scripted out will be. They run through it quickly to ensure that they have their words and techniques down. The pre-call planning allows a sales superstar to envision where they want to take the meeting and have a test run on the method they foresee getting them there.
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