Let’s say you have a lifelong ambition of becoming an Olympic athlete (it’s never too late!)
You wouldn’t just wake up one day and expect to be entered in the next Olympics representing your country.
By the time she won her first world title in 2009, she had been training for 12 years.
Although, you may not have any desire to become an Olympic athlete the same sentiment about preparation applies to almost anything in life, including selling
But luckily you don’t need to spend years building up to repeatable successful sales calls.
Instead, you can use a tried and tested sales technique called Pre-Call planning.
In our training, we often say if this is the only sales technique you take forward, you will achieve better sales outcomes and results.
What results can you expect with pre-call planning?
I’m going to be honest, it’s not going to win you an Olympic gold but you can get the next best thing, at least for your business.
Predicting what the customer might ask
WOPPA should be your go-to Pre-Call Planning tool!
Having a pre-call plan such as WOPPA sets out your objectives and desired outcomes clear in your mind before the call.
This will help you anticipate potential questions that may re-direct the conversation or bring it to a close quickly.
The best way to be able to solve a customer’s pain points is to prepare the answer to potential questions they may have around them.
e.g. how can your product help me compared with product X from supplier X?
Have a good think about your product or service and really understand why it stands out from your competitors, what makes it unique and why your potential customers should give it a go.
There’s nothing worse than calling up a customer and them asking you a question and you saying “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you” after all it was you who made the call to them.
Guiding the call
Setting clear objectives and outcomes by doing pre-call planning before you pick up the phone will help you to steer the direction of the call once you start speaking to the other person.
If you know you are in the early stages and you would like to secure another chat with that person, the call should be aligned with that.
Not too long, not too short but enough time for you to listen and answer questions regarding their pain points whilst setting up a time to chat again.
However, if you are further along and you would like to secure a meeting with them you can hone in on a particular pain point.
e.g. mobile pet grooming services might focus on the customer’s lack of time to bring their pet to the salon and use this to show how they are able to work around the customer’s available times.
Guiding the call with this focus will make you more effective and efficient.
You’ll also create a perception in your customer’s eyes that you are professional, prepared and knowledgeable.
Well, perception is reality after all!
Read more about how to be a Leading Voice and create the right perception 👉🏼 I’m an accountant, not a marketeer…
Adding value to the call
How many times have you picked up the phone to a sales call, shown interest and started to ask questions but become switched off quickly?
How many of those times were because they weren’t able to provide information about their product to answer your questions?
A good salesperson will be able to guide the call through good questioning.
Ask questions to understand what they expect, and why have they struggled to resolve their current issues.
Focusing on the customer’s pain points in detail will help you understand clearly whether you will be able to solve them and more importantly, meet their expectations.
The latter is a cause of many sales falling through.
By being focused and knowledgeable you will increase the customer’s perception of you.
Remember all your questions and answers
Writing your questions down, practicing your response, coming up with potential objections will help you prepare for the unexpected.
“Prepare for the unknown, unexpected and inconceivable . . . after 50 years of flying I’m still learning every time I fly.”Gene Cernan
Your preparation for the call will help you gain confidence in almost any scenario.
You’ll be able to ask the questions because they will be written down in front of you.
You’ll be able to get some solid outcomes whether that is arranging for another call, a meeting or an agreed sales order.
Don’t treat your questions as a script and make sure you’ve prepared enough to be able to jump around.
Even though you’ve got a structure and an outcome you still have to be ready for the call the go in several unexpected directions.
Having a pre-call plan will allow you to quickly bring it back on track and heading towards your end goal.