Results for pre call planning
Let’s say you have a lifelong ambition of becoming an Olympic athlete (it’s never too late!) you wouldn’t just wake up one day and expect to be entered in the next Olympics representing your country. Jessica Ennis-Hill started training in 1997 when she was just 11, she turned pro in 2005 and then won her first world title in 2009 and her first Olympic medal in 2012.
By the time she won her first world title in 2009 she had been training for 12 years. Although, you may not have any desire to become an Olympic athlete the same sentiment about preparation applies to almost anything in life, including calling cold and warm leads. But luckily you don’t need to spend years building up to that first call, instead you can use a tried and tested sales technique called pre-call planning.
So, what results can you expect with pre-call planning. I’m going to be honest, it’s not going to win you an Olympic gold but you can get the next best thing, at least for your business.
Predicting what the customer might ask
Having a pre-call plan such as WOPPA will set out your objectives and desired outcomes clear in your mind before the call. This will help you anticipate potential questions that may re-direct the conversation or bring it to a close quickly. The best way to be able to solve a customer’s pain points is to know the answer to potential questions they may have around them e.g. how can your product help me compared with product X from supplier X?
Have a good think about your product or service and really understand why it stands out from your competitors, what makes it unique and why your potential customers should give it a go. There’s nothing worse than calling up a customer and them asking you a question and you saying “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you” after all it was you who made the call to them.
Another top tip, have a few dates and times that work for you that you can offer to the customer if you do secure a meeting with them.
Guiding the call
Setting clear objectives and outcomes by doing pre call planning before you pick up the phone will help you to steer the direction of the call once you start speaking to the other person. If you know you are in the early stages and you would like to secure another chat with that person, the call should be aligned with that. Not too long, not too short but enough time for you to listen and answer questions regarding their pain points whilst setting up a time to chat again.
However, if you are further along and you would like to secure a meeting with them you might skip the initial basics around your product or service and really hone in on a particular pain point and how your product will help with this e.g. mobile pet grooming service might focus on the customers lack of time to bring their pet to the salon and use this to show how they are able to work around the customer’s available times.
Adding value to the call
How many times have you picked up the phone to a sales call, shown interest and started to ask questions but become switched off quickly? How many of those times were because they weren’t able to provide information about their product to answer your questions? A good salesperson will be able to guide the call through close questioning, so for example if a customer says how do I know life coaching will work for me?
A good follow up response would be to ask further questions to understand what they expect from the coaching sessions, and why have they struggled to resolve their current issues. Focusing on the customer’s pain points in detail will help you understand clearly whether you will be able to solve them and more importantly, meet their expectations. The latter is a cause of many sales falling through. By being focused and knowledgeable you will increase the customer’s perception of you.
Remembering all your questions
Writing your questions down, practising saying them out loud, coming up with potential obstacles or walls, etc will help you prepare for the unexpected.
“Prepare for the unknown, unexpected and inconceivable . . . after 50 years of flying I’m still learning every time I fly.” – Gene Cernan
Your preparation for the call will help you gain confidence in almost any scenario. You’ll be able to ask the questions because they will be written down in front of you and you’ll be able to get some solid outcomes whether that is arranging for another call, a meeting or an agreed sales order.
Don’t treat your questions as a script and make sure you’ve prepared enough to be able to jump around. Even though you’ve got a structure and an outcome you still have to be ready for the call the go in several unexpected directions. Having a pre-call plan will allow you to quickly bring it back on track and heading towards your end goal.
What to do now!
Firstly head over to my website and book onto my upcoming March Sales Growth Club Live event happening in Sheffield. With several courses happening throughout 2020 if you can’t make March I’m sure there will be one right for you.
Secondly, grab a copy of my latest book “Funnel Vision, Selling Made Easy”either in paperback or kindle from the Amazon store and benefit from my vast experience in sales from working at Shell to setting up and running “The Sales Mindset Coach”.