5 things you should do before every sales call

For today’s sales reps, the rules of old-school cold calling no longer exist.

To have a fighting chance at closing a new customer, you have to start every sales call armed with a plan of how you’re going to meet that specific buyer’s needs.

Here are five things you should do to prepare for a sales prospecting call that increase your chances of winning the deal.

1. Define Your Goals

Make your objectives clear. What do you want to accomplish before the call ends? What does your potential customer want to achieve during this call?

Write down specific, targeted questions that are relevant to your potential customer’s business, industry, pain points, needs, and buying behaviors. Be ready to listen and take notes so that you can react to what the potential buyer says. Limit your questions so that the meeting feels like a conversation, not an interview.

Before you pick up the phone, make sure each question you want to ask supports the goals that you defined for the call.

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2. Structure the Call

Creating an informal itinerary for the conversation will help you maintain control. First, practice how you’d start the meeting to point it in the right direction. Then, map out how to shift the conversation from topic to topic so that you reach all defined goals.

Plan out talking points that touch on concerns the potential buyer has already raised, as well as questions designed to reveal new pain points and opportunities so that you can collect all the information you need later in your sales process.

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3. Know Your Value

The truth is that your potential customer is extremely busy. They only have a small window of time to devote attention towards their buying decision. That means they want to feel like they spent their time wisely when they talk to you.

Do you know the value you can provide to this potential buyer? How can you inspire them to speed up their buying decision or move them to the next step in the sales process?

Provide information that answers their questions, speaks to their needs, or explains any concerns they may have. The call should end with your potential customer having actionable steps to carry out and feeling positive about the experience.

Related: These 5 habits make sales reps look desperate

4. Do Your Research

Basic information on your potential customer is essential, but it’s not always enough. Sometimes you need to do your homework in order to understand the big picture as well as the details about the specific challenges they face and how you can provide the solution.

Before every sales call, you should check out the company’s:

  • LinkedIn page as well as your potential customer’s professional profile
  • Twitter stream
  • Website, particularly the About Us and News sections
  • Their previous conversations with your company as recorded in your CRM

5. Visualize Success

Think of how athletes prepare for an Olympic race. They control their breathing, stretch and shake out their arms and legs. They visualize each step around the track, picturing how hard to swing their arms, how wide to make each step, and how much energy will be needed to push through the finish line.

This is how you should approach your sales calls. Like an athlete, a balance of adrenaline and oxygen is what you need to maintain performance and focus.

Imagine the call the way you want it to go. Play out the conversation in your mind with the confidence and helpfulness you want to convey. Anticipate questions that could throw the conversation off course and have a plan to get back on track.

Talk out loud before the call to make sure you don’t sound nervous, jittery, or tired. Rehearsing introductions or key talking points out loud also helps you build up confidence in your voice, in the call and in yourself.

Create a checklist in your CRM of everything you should do before every sales call. That way, you always start the conversation prepared, confident, and focused.

What do you do to prepare for a sales call? Share your secrets in the comments section below, or tweet them to us @nutshell!

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