customer needs

How to Prepare for Your Next Sales Call

Businessman analyze customers needs.

There are some salespeople who think their selling starts when they arrive at their prospect’s or customer’s office—these people aren’t very good salespeople. To be successful at selling requires preparation which will increase your odds of making the sale. Here’s how to prepare for your next sales call.

Who am I meeting with and selling to?

You will need to tailor your sales method depending on the type of person you are selling to. If you’re selling to a quite, thoughtful prospect, your sales strategy should be different than if you’re selling to a gregarious, fast-moving prospect. Just imagine selling to Mister Rogers versus James Corden. I hope you can see that each of them would respond better to different types of people. So now how do you know what to do?

You’ll probably speak with your prospect when you set up your first appointment. Listen to your prospect’s voice and evaluate it before the sales call. A fast-talking prospect is typically one who is more of a risk-taker and wants to move quickly through the meeting. Your slower-talking prospects need more assurance to buy because buying is risky and they tend to be more risk averse. Someone who speaks in a monotone voice tends to buy based on facts and data; a person with more tonality in their voice tends to buy based on opinions.

Your job is to prepare and be ready to have both facts and opinions to support your sales claims. That’s why testimonial letters are so powerful—anything in writing is considered a fact. When someone puts something in writing it becomes an opinion.

Why should they buy?

Consider any problems your prospect might have that you could solve with the product or service you sell. Prospects will buy when they have a problem that needs solving, but they will only buy from you if you can offer a solution to their problem. Try to figure out before your meeting any issues or problems that they may have. The problem, need, or want should be significant enough, or else your prospect might consider doing nothing about it—and that means no sale for you.

Be sure to question your prospect when you uncover a problem, need, or want. You will want to know how important and timely the problem is. A good question to ask would be “How important is this issue for you to act on it now?” You have sales goals to make this year, and you won’t make a sale if the problem isn’t addressed this year.

RELATED: How Your Small Business Can Benefit From ‘Keep it Simple’ Selling

How do I guide my prospect to understand why he should buy?

You should plan your questioning strategy based on the problems you expect to uncover. Opening your meeting with a question—stay away from yes-or-no questions—that will get your prospect talking about his business. You will learn a lot about your prospect’s business once he starts talking, and you will hear areas that can lead to more questions. Ask about obstacles in those areas. Also, ask your prospect about the problems you thought of before the meeting.

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