Learn how to simultaneously combine your goals with your clients' goals in the prep phase, avoid the two biggest mistakes in pre-call planning, find the time for two-minute planning.
- So I want to talk to you about the two biggest mistakes that people make in pre-call planning. Number one is they script their call, and number two is not setting clear call objectives. So let me tell you a little bit about what I mean by that. First, let's look at scripting your call. It never works. Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone who was just wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, and you couldn't even get a word in edgewise? The reason scripting the call doesn't work is because it doesn't leave any room for the customer's agenda.
And what is the sales call actually about? It should be about the customer's agenda. And the second thing that people often do is they don't set clear call objectives. And I want to be really specific on this, because a call objective is what action do you want the customer to take? For example, if your call objective is to demo your product, that's not a customer action. Demo the product and have the customer take you to their boss; that's an action.
Demo the product and have the customer agree to take you to the buying committee; that's an action. Or the customer buys. And so you want to be really clear, when you are doing your pre-call planning, you want to come from this place of purpose. So the first thing you want to do is you want to think about how is what I'm selling going to improve the life of my customer. And then the whole call is organized around that. So you've got your goals on one side, your customer's goals on the other side, and you organize your pre-call planning so that the first question you ask is not about, hey, can I demo my stuff.
The first question you ask is about the customer's goals, and you want to plan that in advance. The other thing that you want to understand is that you've got to be a little bit comfortable with uncertainty. Now let me be really clear here. Uncertainty doesn't mean you're just, sort of, wingin' it. What uncertainty means is that you're going to ask questions about the customer's objectives, and you're going to leave yourself some space to respond live-time. So let's be really clear, when you plan, it's not scripted, it's open questions that get the customer talking, and it's focused on the action that you want the customer to take.
One way to think of yourself doing this is you're shepherding the conversation. I love this concept. It came to me from my mentor, Alan Weist, and he says the customer's goals dominate, but you shepherd the conversation. So, think about the actions you want to take, think about what the customer's goals are, and then based on that, what information do you need and how can you bring your purpose to life for this customer on this sales call.
In this course, Lisa outlines key techniques to find and leverage your "noble purpose" and connect with customers on a deeper level. Learn the three key elements of a great call opening, when and when not to use a pitch deck, and the secrets to creating a sales process that can flex with different customer types. Last, she provides advice to develop yourself professionally, such as how to talk to senior leaders and position yourself as a strategy partner instead of a pitchman, when and how to take your boss on a sales call, and how to network effectively. Use these tips to close bigger, close faster, and make your work more meaningful.
- Name three questions you should answer when crafting your noble purpose.
- Identify the first action you should take in a new sales job.
- Recall three pieces of information that should be included in a “win” email to the boss.
- Recognize the biggest challenge for salespeople.
- Determine what needs to be included in a pitch deck.
- List two reasons why a sales cycle may be longer than usual.