Why is sales planning gaining popularity?
The idea of success sounds vague when no planning or goals are involved. Success in itself isn’t an overnight result. It takes a solid goal and how you gauge the best way to reach there.
The same goes for sales calls.
Anything or everything you do should propel desirable results. The numerous calls you make daily aren’t for the heck of it. It must be backed to generate business.
Sales calls aren’t a joke!
You can’t pick any random pitch without preparation simply because it won’t serve anybody. Push yourself for the result you want!
What is the first impression you create over the call? Don’t forget that your first meetings lead to a second meeting. The level of input you share should be impactful enough for the follow-up call.
“What you do upstream impacts your deal’s trajectory more than what you do late in the game. You need to get it right early.”- Sales Hacker
This impact depends on how effectively you plan and prepare your calling. Planning and preparation should go hand-in-hand to scale the sales calls just as you want.
Every inch of your pre-call sales planning ensures you don’t miss the dot, maintain the flow in your conversation without missing out, keep the prospects hooked, and seal the deal like a pro!
In this post, we’ll look into:
- The need for sales call planning
- The seven steps of the sales process
Need for sales call planning
Sales planning helps you set an agenda for the call so you don’t get distracted and keep the conversation meaningful and moving.
It outlines the value you can add for the prospects and maximize the deals with the initial call.
Listed below are the reasons why you should consider pre-sales call planning seriously.
- You can scan the motive of the prospects. Based on this recognition, you can tweak your pitch.
- Recognize the commonalities between you as a sales professional and the prospects and set a healthy customer relationship.
- Planning helps chalk out customers' needs, demands, and expectations. You can see where they are coming from and create action-oriented goals through planning.
- Planning allows you to stick to your sales process, boost the efficiency of the sales operation, and generate opportunities.
- Planning can help you measure your call success and grade your professionalism using key performance indicators.
According to Neil Rackham's SPIN Selling book, measure call success in the following way:
The value of every call you make is essential in business. Lack of preparedness can change the course of communication. You might miss out on details and express what you're not intended to say. When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
You can make the most out of a sales call, which is only possible when you do the proper groundwork.
Before you make the sales calls, set your priorities right. Prepare to stay focused and avoid going out of the way and confusing the clients.
The better you prepare, the more likely you are to get a second call. Planning not only amplifies your success rate but also keeps you streamlined.
7 Steps Of The Sales Process
There are multiple processes involved in the sales process, the prime being the sales call, which is the heart of the sales process. The way you perform can make or break a deal.
The seven tried and tested steps comprise the sales process:
Prospecting is the first step in the sales process, involving mapping out the prospects or potential customers. You can meet their needs when you track prospects' preferences and what they feel about your product/service.
You may have to research your competitors, pricing, and specialties and create something that fits their pocket and stands out in the market. Nothing can stop you from sealing a deal when you're thorough with the USP of your product and service.
Every company has its way of prospecting the sales process, using social media channels, marketing strategies, callings, referrals, and participating in trade events.
2. Initial Calling and qualification
This refers to the cold call, where the sales rep contacts individuals regarding the products or services for the first time. By the end of the call, you get the vibe of whether the prospect is interested or not.
Initial contact is the first step to lead generation. You can use email, phone calls, or social media to conduct a survey and collect details. This interaction process aims to collect information about prospects and see if they match your product/service.
Using the qualifying questions based on B.A.N.T, you can assess the budget, authority, need, and timeline, and you can decide whether you can qualify the prospect to the next stage.
3. Assessing the needs
At this stage, you prepare questions for the prospects to see how well they remember you while pursuing them for the ongoing conversation.
Asking detailed questions can help you dive deeper and tap into the sweet spot of the prospects.
Some examples of questions you can use in this process -
- What does the present situation look like to you?
- What significant difference do you find between the two products?
- Are you dealing with any business issues to which we can help you find the right solution?
4. Pitch or Sales message
Pitching and presenting the sales message is when you share the value of your offered solution, product, or service based on your prospect's need.
Your assessment of needs plays a crucial role in this process. How you assess it makes your research more robust and more convincing to prospective clients or customers.
To be clear and concise about what you write or speak, you need to gather every inch of information needed to make a successful sales pitch. Instead of being generic, get specific to the needs of the people.
5. Handling sales rebuttal
When you're done with your part, it’s always best to leave it to the prospects to decide. Getting pushy with your conversation can annoy them and lead them to hang the call. Give them space to breathe and process the information.
The answer still lies in your prospect. Don't give up when you're faced with objections or rejection. Many leave the conversation there instead of trying once more. You can be equipped to handle the rebuttal and respond strategically.
You might find yourself in a difficult position to deal with objections on sales calls. At that moment, you might feel dejected.
Be calm! Just know that every sales rejection is an opportunity to learn and grow.
You can turn your denial into redirection with the right mindset and planning.
Every process in life has a beginning and end. The same goes for the sales cycle. The potential clients either purchase or create sales closure in the closing phase.
The success of this stage is solely dependent on the previous step of the sales cycle. You might fight tooth and nail to get the contacts; the prospects decide to make a purchase or stop the sales process.
Closing may seem daunting because you might win or lose the client. For this reason, you need significant legwork that saves your day.
Suppose you feel that the customer is ready to commit. You can test for agreement by three different closing questions:
- The trial close: Example: “Where do we go next from here?”
- The alternative choice close: Example: “Would you prefer a 30-day billing cycle to take a call?”
- The sharp-angle close: Example: You let the customer ask the question.
Mistakes to avoid while closing:
- Avoid talking too much or interrupting the customer's thought process, and let them have a second thought. Create breathing room to let them commit and get clarified.
- Once you get a clear sign of agreement, review the customers' expressed needs and your actions to build confidence.
Your job as a sales rep doesn't end with just a call. The relationship you make goes beyond the trade cycle. Keep following up with your customers and clients to understand their dynamic needs.
The relationship you build with prospects creates a sense of security, increases brand value, and helps future businesses.
A goal without planning is just a dream. Work towards your sales dream by mapping out a strategy and sales plan that aligns with your purpose.
Do you want to know ten tried and tested pre-call sales planning techniques that convert every call into a next step?
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