Okay. You have a sales call on the calendar. More importantly, you now have a vision for where this next part of the sales journey should take both you and your customer. You have the end in mind. What’s next?
You need to have a plan and a process.
Let’s Do Some Thinking
Think of it like this. Every sales opportunity is a like project. Each one has an order of events, a series of milestones, action items and status calls, with many of the same characteristics of any significant project or major initiative. And like any big project, you need a strategy and a plan to have a chance to increase your sales volume and boost opportunities.
Your sales plan doesn’t have to be complicated. There is no rule that says it has to be 20 pages long or replete with graphics and fancy layout. And there is no need to overthink this. (Although it does require some thinking…)
But grab a pen and paper, because you do need to write it out.
It’s Not Complicated
Your call plan process can be as simple and straightforward as running through a thorough set of preparatory questions, and then determining both the answers to those questions and any homework or responses needed. Questions like:
- Who is attending the call? Who should be attending?
- What is going on within the customer’s company right now? And in their industry? How does this affect them, and how does your solution address those issues?
- What does each attendee want to know? What questions will they ask? What are their priorities, their preconceived positions? Do they stand to win or lose if you are selected?
- What materials, documents, information should you have at your fingertips?
Depending on where you are in the sales process, the questions will naturally vary. Early in the sale, you’re simultaneously in ‘Discovery mode’ and looking to establish credibility, which will inform your questions and preparation for those calls and meetings. Further along the sales process, your attention may be instead focused on proving out the expected ROI or working through implementation challenges, and so your preparation and the sales strategy will thus evolve accordingly.
This is an exercise you’ll want to go through for each meeting, call and conversation you have with your clients. (Don’t worry. It becomes automatic, just a natural part of your sales process.)
Make It A Habit
But you should still formalize it. Have a defined structure, a set of steps that force you to focus and prevent you from missing some key perspective. Having to circle back after a meeting to get important details, or having to move forward without those details, is to be avoided at all costs. Having a written, working plan and a rigorous planning process will enable you to avoid such missteps and execute more effectively.
If this sounds tedious and overly academic, it shouldn’t. Having a concise, actionable written sales plan can be as simple as a few reliable forms and the investment of a few quiet minutes.
And the return on that small investment will pay off handsomely and consistently.
(For example, download these Sales Discovery Worksheets to help support your discovery process.)