When I first started in sales, one day I thought I had done an amazing Discovery. I told my boss about it. “It was amazing”, I said. “You would have been so proud of me. I hit every major point.”
“So”, he said, “Did you get the deal?”
Shari: “Well, no.”
Greg: “Did you schedule the next appointment?”
Shari: “No, but…”
Greg: “Did they commit to doing anything like sending you materials, financials, booking another meeting?”
I had to admit that my first meeting hadn’t gone so well after all. I had focused on what I wanted to say, not on what they needed to hear. The point of a pre-call plan is to motivate your client to take action.
The goal of each sales encounter is to get your prospect to commit to the next steps or what’s commonly referred to as an advance.
A solid pre-call plan helps you to strategize and articulate your goals. In the words of Louis Carol, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
To create an effective pre-call plan, you’ll want to answer the following questions:
- What do I want my customer to think?
- What do I want my customer to feel?
- What do I want my customer to do?
- What materials do I need to prepare ahead of time?
- What must I practice?
The very act of answering these questions will shift your frame of reference. You will pivot from what you want to say, to reflecting on what your customer needs to hear and feel in order to move the sale forward.
Here’s an example: Last month I spoke to a new prospect, Loretta, the VP of sales for a private school. Since the pandemic, 90% of all their sales calls, (enrollments) had moved from in-person to virtual, and sales had declined by almost twenty percent! I knew I could help her.
In my pre-call plan, I decided I wanted Loretta to first think about this.
She could not simply repeat what was done in person, face to face, and expect the same results. But that’s exactly what she was doing and her numbers were going down. She had to find a new way to sell.
What I wanted her to do by the end of the call is commit to a follow-up meeting. We set a specific time and date and she agreed to bring in the other two decision-makers. Together we would review the proposed curriculum and pricing.
I wanted to be very specific as to how I would help Amy solve her problem so she would feel confident in my ability to do so, to increase her win rate, and to shorten her sales cycle.
Next, I prepared for the call. I scripted out discovery questions and developed a table of contents to show her my curriculum.
Finally, I practiced making certain that my computer was correctly plugged in and working. I had a backup monitor just in case something went wrong. (It often does). Since I was co-facilitating the call with a colleague, we practiced screen sharing and the showing of reports several times.
In the words of Navy Seal and author Eric Gretains, “Excellence comes wrapped in hard work.”
Like our clients, we have had to re-imagine our business too. Since the pandemic hit, Levitin Group has spent much of our time reviewing countless virtual sales meetings, product demonstrations, sales calls, and conference presentations in an effort to help our clients learn to sell in a virtual environment.
As a result, we’re now offering rock and roll quality Masterclasses and Live Stream events from our studio. Said one of our financial services clients last month, “Wow, that was the most action-packed event I’ve ever attended. Are you sure it wasn’t live?”
“The texts are rolling in. Bravo, Shari. Both sales divisions loved it!”
If you’d like to book your next event, we’ll be streaming live from our studios on October 16-22 and again in November. Inquire here.