Like, ever. Sales call planning should have no end. The minute a sales professional lets down their guard and stops preparing for sales calls is the minute they underestimate and undervalue their customer. And as we all know, a customer taken for granted will not be a customer for long.
Like most relationships, sales relationships start with the utmost preparation – careful research into what the customer wants, likes and needs; with corresponding, tailored solutions to address those wants, likes and needs.
But, then what?
We tend to get complacent with our newly landed customer and stop trying so hard to impress them. We get lazy with our touch points and stop investing the time and effort required to maintain a healthy relationship. In short, we hit a sales relationship rut.
Here are four ways to get back on track and show your customers how much you care. It starts – and ends – with basic sales call planning and preparation.
1. Set SAM Objectives
Who or what is SAM, you ask? SAM is a Specific Appropriate Measurable objective – the kind you should set before each and every sales call.
- Specific – establish the exact objective(s) you hope to accomplish during the call
- Appropriate – determine whether the objective is in line with where you are in the selling process
- Measurable – determine whether the accomplished objective can be tangibly measured
2. Gather Info & Gain Insight
Once you’ve established your desired objectives for the call, it’s time to gather the information needed to support your ideas and recommendations.
Take a look at your customer’s company website. Maybe read a few blog entries or check on their latest product release. Find, gather, and then divulge tidbits to let them know you are vested in their company and you support their interests.
And if you always deal with the same individual, when is the last time you glanced at their LinkedIn page? Maybe you’re from the same area or you have kids the same age. Arm yourself not only with their updated information, but be ready with your own personal and professional insight to support your claims and continue to establish rapport.
3. Mentally Prepare for Objections
No matter how well you get along with your customer or how well-developed you perceive your relationship to be…you still need to be prepared for them to reject your ideas. In fact, if there is a certain comfort level, they may be more apt to pose an initial objection.
Be prepared. Meet the test head on with researched and validated talking points. Take their objection as an opportunity to demonstrate what you know, showcasing the fact that you’ve taken the time to prepare yourself for the call. Trust us, your customers will know the difference between a willy-nilly suggestion and a valid, well-thought-out recommendation.
4. Post-call Self Questionnaire
Once the call is done, there are still a few things you should do to get the most bang for your buck and for your customer’s. Take a couple of minutes and jot down answers to the following while it’s fresh in your mind:
- Did I reach my objectives?
- What went well, and where were there challenges?
- What was the key information obtained?
- What are the next steps? Define action items moving forward.
If you get in the habit of implementing these practices before each of your sales calls, you should find that a little effort tends to go a long way. Sound like any other relationships you know?