At the beginning of the month, I heard a presentation on sales from the perspective of a former sales person who became a successful speaker and trainer. He had several interesting things to share and here are my favorites:
- Pre Call Planning is the most important part of the sales process and the first thing we abandon. My first sales career at Sprague was only 14 months and in those months I went from an avid student and planner of the pre-call routine to someone who would “wing it”. My confidence in myself and my new found experience and success would be just fine to get me through each call. Boy was I wrong. I knew very little about my prospect and I am sure they knew immediately who I was – an underprepared sales person out for my own good instead of theirs.
- Here is his trick to good pre call planning; go to the prospect’s website and stay there until you find something that you do not understand. When you have that done, you will have questions to explore with your prospect to gain a real understanding of what they do and how we can help them reach their goals.
- Is it in my customers’ best interest to meet with me? I love this question. Before we make the first contact with a client, we must be able to clearly articulate from their perspective why it would be in their best interest to meet with me. When we answer the question, we are ready to make the call.
- Sales people are teachers. Customers make decisions based on their limited understanding. We can help them with their understanding in making a great choice for their business. This means we have to be more than an expert on Sprague, we must use our sales calls to understand how we can help the customer and teach them about our value.
- Nobody will pay you what your service is worth, they will pay you more or they will pay you less and we control what they think. Everything we do when interacting with a customer is contributing to how we are valued by the customer. How our first call is perceived, if we are early or late, how we are dressed, our demeanor etc. The devil is in the details and they matter.
- We’re all in sales. I called my time as an Account Manager as my first career in sales. Until that point I had not realized how much we are all in sales. I had been in sales my entire life from school, work, home, my relationships all consisted of selling my ideas to someone. The more my career has progressed, the more selling my ideas has become a full time job. The more my career has progressed, the more pre call planning is part of my life. And guess what happens when I wing it? The person on the other end knows. The conversation is far less fruitful for both of us.