The best-prepared salespeople are often the most successful. All of us have experienced that empty feeling of nervousness on a sales call when we’re not prepared. Proper preparation will help build your confidence with the knowledge that you are ready for any eventuality and that confidence will come across to your prospect. You’ll look more professional than your competition, giving you an early advantage. Your questions will be more focused, more relevant to the prospect’s situation, helping to build trust. Since first impressions are so important, being properly prepared can get you out of the gate in front of the pack.
Here are some areas to focus on to ensure you’re prepared for you sales calls.
- Research – Find out everything you can about the company. Look at their website, see if they have posted any recent press releases that are relevant to your business or could be a discussion topic.
- Set objectives –Determine what your primary objective(s) for the meeting would be. This should answer the question: “If this was a great sales call, the following objective(s) would have been achieved.” Then set a secondary objective in case you don’t achieve the primary objective.
- Anticipate – What roadblocks might you encounter, and how will you handle them? What questions will your prospect ask and how will you respond? What other customers have you worked with that have similar issues, and how have you helped them?
- Communicate – Insure that you and your prospect are on the same page with respect to the time allowed for the meeting and the meeting objectives. Call a day or two ahead to confirm your meeting.
- Rehearse – How will you open the meeting? Practice your Meeting Agreement in the car before you go into the meeting. Take another look at the questions you plan to ask. If necessary, write them down someplace where you can refer to them during the meeting. Mentally envision yourself having a very successful meeting.
The Five P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
No doubt you’re thinking that this is a lot of preparation. It is. But, it’s virtually impossible to over-prepare for a sales meeting with a prospect.
A good rule of thumb: the bigger the opportunity, the more preparation is required.
Self-Study Assignment: Think back on some appointments where your preparation has been lacking. What were the results? How did that impact your ability to get the business, to build rapport with your prospect? Examine any call preparation forms you are now using for content and completeness.