You try tirelessly to get a sales call. The sales call is your best chance to shine and make a deal happen. You know how important the sales call is—so you really don’t want to mess it up. Whether you’ve had the meeting set up for weeks or days, or the client just called for an impromptu meeting right now, the last thing you want is to be unprepared.
It doesn’t matter how busy you are or how short notice it is, you need these five must haves before you go into any sales call. Failing to acquire any one of these things can drastically reduce your chances of making a good impression and closing the sale.
The first thing you must have when walking into a sales call is a goal. Why are you even there? Are you trying to sell something right on the spot? Is it just a “let’s see how it goes” meeting? Are you trying to gather up some additional information so you can effectively close a sale in the future? Or are you just trying to build a relationship with a new client? Knowing why you’re actually going to the sales call will inevitably set the tone for the whole meeting—all of your conversations will be based on this goal.
2. Company Research
Many mediocre sales reps believe that they can go into a sales call and wing it without having done their company research first. However, this just isn’t going to fly. Your client will be downright insulted if you don’t know the first thing about him, his company, or his needs. Plus, you’ll be spending most of the sales call trying to gather the most basic information about the company and wasting valuable time that could be used on selling instead.
Before you meet with anyone, you need to get online and research what the company does, what kind of buying power the person you’re meeting with has, and what kind of needs he has. Only then can you start to come up with solutions.
You’re passionate about the products or services that you sell. That’s admirable. However, clients don’t want to hear about all the awesome benefits your offerings have. Frankly, they just don’t care. Like everyone else, they’re selfish. They want you to focus on them and their needs. So instead of listing off product features, go into a meeting with solutions. In the research phase, you identified the client’s needs and problems, so now you need to come up with solutions. You need to convince the buyer that your product or service can solve his problem.
4. Qualifying Questions
Getting a sales call is a great start to a business relationship. However, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get the sale. To make sure you’re not wasting your time going after a lead that isn’t going to buy, you need to have some qualifying questions ready to ask during the meeting. If you haven’t been able to figure it out during your research phase, ask who the decision makers are, what their typical process is with vendors, what their timeline is, and what their budget is. The answers will give you insight into which stage of the buying cycle they are in, so you can decide how much effort to put in now and in the future.
5. Next Action
Chances are you’re not closing a deal during one sales call. In order to move the buyer to the next stage, you need to come up with and implement a next action. Don’t put it on the client to follow up—this is up to you. At the end of the meeting, make plans for a demo or a sample to be shipped, or solidify a date for the next meeting or phone call to discuss the offer further.