If you’d like to improve the quality and effectiveness of your sales calls and presentations, you might consider taking a strategic approach to planning.
Lots of people say they realize the benefit of planning, but struggle to find the time to do so. However, those who diligently create written plans in advance consistently tell us their sales calls and presentations are noticeably better. In response, and more importantly, we suggest their customers and prospects have noticed this difference too! We also suggest that they save time in the long run.
Consider, the habit of written pre-planning promotes productivity for all parties; in just a few minutes you can identify multiple objectives, desired outcomes and more… and wind-up doing more in less time. By accomplishing this, you are, in fact, improving your personal productivity as well as the productivity of your customers and prospects.
You are most likely outdoing most of your competitors as well.
One simple and quick-to-implement method (5 minutes or so is typical) of pre-planning is what we have named the “Four O” approach because it’s based on addressing four major components of selling, each of which beginning with the letter “O”:
- Objectives – if all goes well, what would you like to accomplish? If you stop and think about this, it’s easy to come up with six or more objectives for each sales call or presentation. These might include things like improving your relationship, assessing the evaluation process, identifying buyer priorities, uncovering the competitive landscape, presenting a strong value proposition, trial closing, and scheduling a proactive next step.
- Outcomes – what are the observable actions to which you’d like your customer or prospect to commit? Sure, we’d like to get a commitment for an order every time but this is not reasonable. Instead, you might think about the overall process and schedule the “smaller” next steps that will,, hopefully, lead to a completed sale. These steps will vary depending upon the business you are in. Common choices include a discovery meeting, solution demonstration, technical concept review, or a field test.
- Operational Plan – what key points will you make? What key questions will you ask? What materials might you present? How much time will you spend talking versus listening?
- Outstanding Benefits – why should they listen to you? How will they benefit by accepting your proposal? WIIFT: (What’s In It For Them)?
If this simple approach resonates, you can download a free”4 ‘O’ Planning Worksheet” here.