Do you want to easily improve your sales results? Why not consider how you prepare for your sale calls? There are a few things to consider that will not only make you less stressed for the meeting, but will also make you more successful, too.
Who is in charge?
It’s your job to control the sales conversation. That does not mean that you do most or all of the talking. In fact, you should be judging your sales call success by whether your customer is doing most or more of the talking. Why? You can only learn what you don’t know when your customer talks. So how do you control the meeting? Your questions control the sales call.
It’s not like you’ll sit down in the office and start talking about your customers business. That’s even the case if a prospect or customer starts the meeting with, ”So tell me what you’ve got.” Do not launch into a sales presentation despite your prospect’s instruction! Instead, your reply should be a question that gets the prospect talking about his business.
Your question should be an open ended question that cannot be answered by yes or no or just a few words. This means that a question about sports or the weather is not a suitable transition question. I often refer to this question as a pinball question because a good pinball question get the sales conversation started and going back and forth between you and your prospect. This back and forth is much like the ball in a pinball game. You must plan your Pinball question before your sales call to ensure the meeting will be a success.
What do you need to know?
The purpose of your sales call is to learn what you don’t know about your prospect or customer so you can determine why he should buy from you. Customers buy when they have problems needs, and wants that your products and services can solve. Of course, that’s not enough for them to buy. Your customers have to believe that the effort to make a change is worth the effort and cost involved. That’s a later strategic step for you to work on. First, you have to uncover the problem, need, or want that your prospect has. You do that with your questions.
Every sales call has some basic preparation about your prospects existing situation. This preparation indicates what you know and what you don’t know and need to know about this prospect. You might even have enough sales experience to know which questions you need to ask your prospect during your first sales call to uncover the problems, needs or wants that most companies like your prospect might have. Those areas might be about operational performance, employee issues or product performance. You have work to do if you do not have a general idea of why your prospect should buy from you.
I have a basic rule that the more important the sale, the more sales research you should do for the sales call and especially the first one. This preparation and research is critical for your sales call success. Too many salespeople make the mistake of thinking the sales call starts when they’re sitting down in the chair in front of their prospect. You will ask better questions when you have done your research. You will avoid wasting time on questions that you could have found the answers to had you researched them before the sales call. Remember that your prospect is judging you by the questions you ask. Better questions gain you more respect and generally more time and trust built with your prospect.
Do you want your next sales call to be a success? Start your sales call well before the meeting with preparation so that when you’re at your sales call you’re leading the conversation and making progress on the sale.