Why your sales call can get off track, and how to get it on track from the start.
I don’t suppose you’ve ever been on a sales call where you hit it off with your prospect, and then spend 50-minutes of an hour sales call just creating rapport have you? It happens all the time, in all industries and businesses.
That would be almost like a pro football coach going into a game and telling the team to out and just play by feel. How effective do you think the football team would be without their playbook, and systems for offense and defense? Not very, I promise you.
Sometimes your prospect will take you off track and want to do small talk for most of the call. The problem is that they do the same thing with every salesperson, so you look and act the same as everyone else. It’s hard to differentiate yourself in your prospects eyes when you look, sound, and act like everyone else.
A process to get your sales call on track
After you spend the first 5-10 minutes of your sales call connecting with your prospect and building some business rapport, you will want to start setting the tone for your sales call. I refer to this setting of the tone on your sales call as “Getting on the Same Page.”
I’m going to touch on the three core elements of “Getting on the Same Page”, but I will focus on transitioning to the “meat” of your sales call.
3 Key Elements to Get on the Same Page:
- Lower the barriers to communication on your sales call.
- Define objectives for what each party wants to accomplish.
- Discuss the 2 possible end results.
The meat of this process will focus on defining objectives for this call. It should be you leading this call. What I mean by leading the call, is to help your prospect identify their real problems and goals, share their buying criteria, and keep the call on track. Your prospect wants to be led, so lead them.
Most salespeople let their prospect set the tone of the call and just wing it. Stop doing this immediately, it does not make sense.
Who is the expert?
Ask yourself this question, “Who is the expert on your product or service?” If you’re the expert, don’t you think it makes sense for the expert to be in charge? What if your prospect has never bought your product or service before? What if they have been buying your product or service all wrong? These are all strong reasons that you need to lead the sales call.
Would you go to a doctor’s appointment and be in charge of the appointment?
An example of defining objectives
So let me share how I define objectives and set the tone on my sales call. This is going to be a one-way conversation for the sake of keeping this article on track and to the point. In a real sales call I’m creating a dialogue with my prospect, not just telling them what to do?.yet. It’s also very helpful for you if you have a written copy or something they can look at when you have this conversation.
“Mr. prospect, typically when I meet with a business owner like yourself, they are asking me for help in three areas. Can I share those three areas to see if they’re relevant to our conversation today?
The first area is bringing in new business to the company. This means, AJ can you help us get in front of more of target audience, and do it more often. So we’ll discuses your marketing and prospecting systems.
The second area is typically closing sales faster. This means, AJ our current selling system is not producing as strong a closing percentage as we need to hit our sales goals. So you and I will discuss the steps you take a prospect through to help them become a paying client.
The third area is typically customer relationship management. This means, AJ we are not keeping our best clients as long as we would like to, and we are not capturing the bulk of their business either. So we’ll discuss exactly what your customer relationship management system looks like, and where it may be hindering your growth.
As you look and listen to the three areas I just covered, which, if any, is relevant to the conversation you and I are going to have today?”
So that’s how I lay out this part of “Getting on the Same Page” with my prospect on my sales call.
After I share this with my prospect and they confirm that all three areas are things they are struggling with, or at least want to improve. I then ask the question that will give me the direction for my sales call.
“If I could wave my magic wand and make everything work perfectly in your business, which area would you and I focus on first?”
The answer to this question gives me the information that is the most important to my prospect, and the area that is typically causing them the biggest headache. That’s it, that’s how you transition into the real meat of your sales call.
Get your prospect buy-in
The other part of defining objectives is one last simple question fro you to ask your prospect.
“Mr. Prospect, is there anything else we need to make sure we cover, to make this a productive use of your time today?”
When you combine these elements of defining objectives into your sales call, you will be able to keep your call on track more effectively.
Action steeps for you
Invest 15-minutes twice per week to identify how you would structure this portion of your sales call to keep it on track. This way you can help your prospect determine where and what is causing them the most headaches. It’s a great tool for both you and your prospect to give you structure on your sales call.