We’ve had great response (and a lot of STRONG suggestions) when we started asking sales leaders across the country to share their insights about what sales pros should STOP doing to earn more sales.
I had particularly emphatic response from my colleagues of Women Sales Pros, whom all seem to be on a mission to save the world from terrible selling.
This week, I’m featuring the sage advice from sales expert Alice Heiman, who works with sales teams and entrepreneurs to coach them in developing relationships and sales skills.
I asked Alice the question, “If you could tell sales pros to STOP doing this one thing immediately, what would it be?”
Stop winging it! Salespeople are notorious for winging it. It’s great to be confident but to go into a sales meeting without preparation is just plain crazy. Salespeople need a sales call planning process. Whether the sales call is on the phone, web or face to face they need to systematically plan for the call. That starts with research and reviewing what is already known and moving to thinking through their objective for the meeting and the prospects objective, planning questions to ask, preparing to handle objections, planning to get commitment and thinking through the best next actions.
Many salespeople will shake this off thinking they have closed many deals without doing this why start now. Besides, who has the time!
It’s much easier to think about the sales call on the way over in the car, on your way up in the elevator, or right before you pick up the phone. After all, you’ve done this dozens, maybe hundreds of times successfully without planning.
Planning can increase your close ration significantly. It also prevents wasted time with unqualified prospects. Planning can lead to more and larger deals.
So, what can you do before your next sales call?
Make a plan.
Prepare – A day or two before the call, schedule time on your calendar to do the preparation. If there are others from your team who will be on the call with you, you may need to prepare further in advance so you have a chance to share the plan with them the day before the call. This gives them a chance to ask questions, understand their role on the sales call and it allows you to make any needed changes to the plan.
Build the plan – A good plan includes research and understanding of current situation and position. It allows you to state your objective for the call but more importantly think about what the prospects objective is. What do they want out of the time they spend with you and your team? It clearly defines how you will start the call to get everyone on the same page. It outlines the questions you will ask and the information you will provide based on the answers, which means you will have to be ready with lots of information so you can use only what is appropriate. You will also need to think about what objections might come up at this point in the sales cycle and be prepared to handle these. Write out solutions for the most common objections that come up at each point in the sales process and have those ready. Think about the commitment you want to get at the end of the meeting. What would be an appropriate commitment to keep the sale moving forward? Be ready to ask what the next steps are and ask for dates. Remembering to get that information before you leave keeps you from having to chase the prospect. It also gives you important information for the recap email you will send when you get back to your office.
Have a great sales call – you will go into your sales call relaxed and confident. You prospect will see that you are prepared and feel valued. You will conduct the sales call with ease and handle any objections seamlessly. You will increase your level of success.
Maybe you don’t need to do extensive planning for every sales call but why not increase your chances of success by taking just 5 or 10 minutes to think through the call and put yourself in a positive mindset. For those larger deals or the ones where your teammates will be on the call with you, take the time to make a complete plan. If your teammates are involved, share the call plan with them. Increase your chances for success by doing this simple thing.
Alice’s advice is SPOT ON! Not just for sales pros, business owners, investment seekers, interviewers . . . anyone who wants to show up with their best self, present awesome solutions, compel and convert needs to STOP Winging IT! It’s like walking out the door without your pants – you’re unprepared, exposed and it’s potentially embarrassing.
Stop this #SalesFail and prepare, plan and practice before you risk something really important!
Thanks this week for the insights of Alice Heiman, one of the awesome Woman Sales Pros. Alice specializes in sales strategies for innovative, owner operated businesses that want exponential growth. As a sales and sales management trainer and coach, Alice shows her clients the path to growing their business.
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!