Great salespeople have a vision of their future. Call it a dream if you want. And they know how to make dreams come true. It’s not enough to dream. You must plan to realize your dreams. Muhammad Ali one of the greatest boxers of all time and a pretty good philosopher too put it this way: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
The Best Salespeople Plan
What Muhammad Ali meant is you must plan and do all the preparatory work before the first contact with a prospect to be successful. Preparing is the key to winning. Great salespeople plan the month, the week, the day and each sales call. In each salesperson’s sales funnel there are prospects at various stages of the buying process. Near the top are those who have just begun thinking about a purchase and at the bottom are the few who are now ready to buy. Great salespeople plan to be successful all along the sales funnel.
How Do Salespeople Plan To Be Successful?
Set time aside each week for planning. First review what happened the previous week. Then look at your sales funnel to see which customers need the most attention in the coming week. If you have a large geographic area for a sales territory, then divide it into several compact areas. To be successful great salespeople divide time among their best customers according to the business model. Begin setting or confirming previously set meeting times. Then build a weekly schedule. Muhammad Ali might have said that all the planning becomes moot with the first punch. So great salespeople know how to be resilient when the plan doesn’t work out.
Plan Each Selling Opportunity
Once you have a confirmed sales meeting, then prepare for the meeting. What is your goal to be successful by meeting? Of course the answer depends on where you are in the sales process for the prospect. If early in the selling cycle the sales call goal might be to build rapport and learn more about upcoming needs. Perhaps it is the first meeting with the decision maker and the goal is to find out how decisions are made. Don’t forget to review and confirm the discussions you have had with others on the buying team. Whatever the goal is write it down.
Next make a sales call plan which will lead to achieving the goal. Note what you need to bring to the meeting. Arrange for technical or management support to join you if necessary. List what you know about the customer’s need so far and what other information you might need. Role play the meeting in your mind or aloud as you drive. Be as prepared as you can be. But remember only in the movies do characters follow the script.
Some Selling Processes Are Short
If your business model is a one-call-close, be prepared to quickly qualify the buyer and move on if they are not ready to buy. Know the questions to ask and how to build value before discussing price. Make sure all parties needed to make the buying decision are present. And most importantly get a commitment when you ask for the order the only two acceptable answers are “yes” and “no”. “I want to think it over” is the worst answer you can hear. From your experience great salesperson be prepared to be successful.
What You Can Do Right Now To Be Successful
- know what you want to accomplish
- prepare for the pleasant surprises which come from good planning
- work your well-planned day