4 Ways to improve your next sales call

This month at EnMast, we are focusing on improving your sales IQ and getting more out of your sales calls.

We’ve covered how to ask for the sale, and our free tool of the month is our Sales Call Post Mortem.

Today, we’re getting down to basics. Here are four things that I assume most people know about sales … yet I see and hear about people doing otherwise, so let’s review them.

Prepare a Point of View.

Being prepared is the most basic sales skill. There’s a basic level of preparation, being on time, knowing some background about who I’m meeting with and what their business is about. But I know that I’m more likely to close a deal when I’m prepared with a point of view.

I want to have done enough research about the company and their situation that I have a pretty good guess about what the engagement would look like if they decided to work with my firm. That means I’ve qualified their need over the phone before the meeting, but beyond that, I’ve thought about their situation and come up with an idea of what the reason behind the reason is. For example, someone calls me because they have had a lot of turnover and want to know how I could help them with that. I know that turnover has several possible causes — inadequate pay or raises, poor or inconsistent management, or a lack of momentum in the company. I’ll have prepared some questions that I can ask to diagnose which of these causes it might be. I’ll also have prepared some idea of how I’d work with this client to fix that.

Of course this is just an idea, I could be wrong. But this preparation gives me more confidence and enables me to have a line of questions prepared. If I’m wrong, I need to go with the flow of where the client is taking me, but if I’m right…

Be Patient.

Even though I’m coming prepared with a point of view, I have to be patient and let the client see me thinking about their problem. They’ve been thinking about this issue for a long time — it’s important to them, that’s why I am here. So I have to listen, ask lots of questions, and think before I present my solution. I had a mentor who taught m

e that “If they see that you understand the problem, they assume that you can fix it.” So my time in the sales call is spent working with the prospect to understand the problem, not presenting solutions! This process of understanding the problem can be aided with a series of probing questions that enable you to really understand the problem with the prospect.

Think Ahead.

I’m always amazed when I sit in on someone else’s sales meeting and they get to the end of the discussion and say, “OK, I’ll head back to my office and write you a proposal to address that.” WHAT?!?! You are right here in front of the client. Why do you need to make a proposal?

If you come prepared, you will have thought through what they might need and how you might deliver it, can’t you also think about what that might cost? Ok, so the prospect throws you a curveball – she’s asking for something you didn’t prepare for – but you’re the expert! You’ve (presumably) done this before, right? Use this time when the prospect is right in front of you to at least outline a plan and approach; then ballpark a cost. You need to get agreement on something before you get out of that chair.

Have something to offer that the prospect can say “Yes!” to. Be positive that you and she are on the same page.

Be Persistent.

Sometimes when I’m trying to get that agreement, the prospect is hesitant. “Why don’t you just send me a proposal and we’ll see.” Uh-oh. That doesn’t sound good. Now I could walk out the door, write the proposal (which I’m going to hate, because I don’t think she’s going to buy) and move on to the next one. But instead I’m going to be persistent and find out now if that proposal is a waste of time.

“What process are you going to use to evaluate my proposal? If my proposal follows the outline we’ve discussed and comes in close to this price range, are we likely to move ahead? Who else needs to be a part of this decision process? How many other firms are you considering?”

All of these questions help me gauge the prospect’s commitment to my proposal; I don’t want to be the only one committed to it! I’ll either hear her telling me that this proposal is worth my time, or I won’t!

Not doing these things consistently? Our Sales Call Post-Mortem tool is designed to help you to make your sales calls more consistent and effective (and it’s free for the month of March). Check it out!

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