Utilising Pre-Call Planning leaves nothing to chance. You can’t be surprised by anything. You already planned for everything.

I was travelling down to London to meet a couple of prospects, and almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong. One of them called and cancelled, I nearly missed my train a couple of times, I got off at the wrong stop and that caused my ETA to be 10 minutes before the meeting began…things were not looking up.

I wasn’t in the right mindset. At all.

However, I’d already done my pre-call plan. My preparation was good. And it pulled me through.

I can’t overstate the importance of planning more than the old adage, fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The Science of Pre-call Planning

WOPPA

What does it stand for?

Why – What’s the reason you’re talking in the first place?

Objectives – What you plan to achieve within the conversation?

Premise – What is the proposition?

Plan – How do you plan to reach the objectives?

Anticipate – What could go wrong and if it does, how do you react to it?

What are the benefits of using WOPPA pre-call planning?

It gives you a clear direction. Thinking about what you’re going to say before you actually say it is almost always a good thing. Also having your objectives written down and to have thought about how to achieve them gives you a strategy, rather than just going into a meeting and hoping for the best. This sounds really obvious, but I think we’ve all tried to wing it at some point. In no scenario is winging it better than having a thought-through strategy.

It keeps you on track. When you’ve got 3 objectives you’re excited because you’ve got the first, planning ensures you don’t forget the other two. You may also only have a limited time to talk with your prospect, so maybe think about how much time you might devote to discussing each area.

Clearer communication. Send an agenda to the person you’ll be meeting with. If you’re both clear and aware of what the meeting will be about, you will have a greater understanding and fluency when you talk.

Proactive rather than reactive. Have you ever thought of something to say to someone half an hour later than when you needed to say it? If you’ve planned for negative eventualities or objections, you can also have planned how to handle them.

Key Points to Consider

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. In no sales circumstance is trying to improvise everything better than knowing what you want to talk about.

Pre-call plans don’t mean scripts. You should still be natural in the way that you talk about things. A structured approach means that you won’t go off topic in a way that is distracting or time-wasting, especially important when you have limited time with someone to communicate your message. However, it is important to still be personable and not seem like you are regurgitating rehearsed lines.

Pre-call plans are not just for the phone. You should be planning for every meeting with prospects, whether that be face-to-face or on the phone.

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