Thanks to Wayne Mulling of the Sunshine Pages for showing me this article which describes the 14 basic preparation things that sales people should do before making a sales call.
This was an article that actually ran in 2010, and it starts with a revealing study from IDC which found that only one out of six sales professionals were “extremely prepared” for an initial meeting with a customer. 57% were either not or only somewhat prepared. Seriously? In this day and age, in this economy, you are often only going to get one shot at talking with a busy small/midsized business owner. Most SMB’s will know right away that you are “winging it”.
The crazy part is that there really is no excuse for not being prepared. This industry has more supportive data than most other media, and even if you are not familiar with a particular line of business, there is always the Kuk, Baldwin & Associates heading analysis sheets, or even a quick Google to provide you with some much needed background.
Let me pick a couple of the points discussed in the 14 tips article for some additional commentary:
3. Prepare to fight the status quo: What’s one of the first comments most SMB’s currently advertising with you will say – “just leave it like it is”… Yet, has their business changed within the last year? It most likely has, so that program from last year probably isn’t the best indicator of where their business stands, and is headed. Probe deeper.
4. Research the company: Dah. While this truly is Sales 101 stuff, given the statistics from the research at the beginning of this post on preparedness, I am still surprised at the number of reps who don’t do this. And what is the one of the most common complaints from SMBs – “the rep didn’t know anything about my business”. If you fall into that camp, how are you ever expecting this owner to accept the recommendation you are making??
6. Anticipate objectives and questions: You already know what the top three objections will be. Do you have an answer for them? Why not? Don’t try to wing it further. Go in prepared. Think about the most likely questions and objections you are likely to hear and prepare your responses.
10. Prepare case studies and testimonials: I know your company has these. Do you have them ready to show to the customer? If your company is being a little stingy on new sales aids, create your own. It’s worth it for you.
11. Bring your ROI information: The main point here is why is this business going to spend several thousand dollars with you, with your company? What’s in it for them? Show them the value they can expect, and why?
13. What do they see when they look for you? This may sound a bit old fashion, but when you arrive at their door, what is the way you are dressed, your materials, your energy level, and your smile (or lack there of) saying about you?
Would love to hear more on what else do you recommend? What is a waste of time? How much prep do you do or recommend? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org