“To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first. And, whatever you hit, call it the target.”
If only this would work for selling! What usually happens when you go to a sales call without doing much planning? Probably not much or at least not what you want to happen. You leave the sales call justifying it as, “I just wanted to get to know them more.” You’re just kidding yourself. What will help you sell is when you get to know more about your customer’s business. Before each sales call you need to set a maximum and minimum objective for the call. What do you want to have happen in the sales call to make it successful? What specifically will the customer say or do that will make the call a success? A maximum objective is to get a contract signed. A minimum objective is to get agreement to run a product test or get a referral. If you plan before the sales call, you’ll be able to determine after the sales call if your work did move the sales process forward. Set your targets before the sales call so you don’t have to kid yourself into thinking that what you did hit was the target.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is a sales strategist and founder of Best@Selling, a sales training and consulting company. She wrote Monday Morning Sales Tips and works with sales professionals who want to sell more and close more business.