The big debate of all time with sales people is whether to plan their calls – every call – with prospects and customers. Well, the answer is simple if your goal is to be a Professional Sales Person. You plan the call.
Most sale people prefer to Wing It, stating reasons such as being flexible, going with the flow of the call, being creative, using their knowledge to control the direction, blah, blah, blah and blah! Enough already. The truth is most sales people are lazy and lack the discipline shown by the real Professional Sales People. I know that feels like a strong statement to make – yet, my experience tells me it is true.
So what makes sales people fore go one of the top traits of Professional Sales People? Here are some of the real reasons…
- Don’t Know How – This is somewhat scary if you are a sales manager, yet, many sales people do not know how to plan a sales call. Usually there is a lack of recorded information from previous calls to use as a barometer of buyer attitudes. There are no statements in the previous call logs about the preferences of the prospect or customer to use as a guide. This can be overcome with training or coaching and lots of practice and execution – even roll playing!
- Feel It is Not Important – This is a personal agenda of sales person. They felt that planning does not work and therefore choose to wing-it. The ability of a sales manager to turn this attitude is only determined by the level of belief held by the sales person. When the belief is deep and entrenched, then changing the belief using traditional methods will fail. The only way to change these beliefs is two fold – 1. The sales person decides it is important on their own and makes the change. or 2. You use a unique system such as the one found in Winning Mindset for Sales that allows a sales person to change deep-seated beliefs holding back their performance.
- Not Important to the Sales Manager – Now this one upsets me. When a sales manager is unaware of the importance of call planning, then we have a management problem. In B2B sales, call planning is very important since every contact with a customer or prospect is a CALL. Some people refer to the call as a TOUCH to reduce the fear of cold calling – again an excuse. The key – if you want to join the ranks of Professional Sales People – is to plan every call or touch. When you plan, you are prepared for the discussion that will occur. You will come across as more self confident to the customer or prospect, which leads to more important disclosures and information.
- Laziness – Here you have your poor performers. These are the same people who are complaining about the economy, their customers, their pricing, their working conditions, their computer (if they use one!) or anything else they can assign blame to for their below standard work. This people need to be identified early by management and “retired” or “dehired” as there is no place on the sales team for people who are not committed to improving their skills and doing the little things necessary for big results.
- Style hinders planning – Unfortunately, this is a reality in the world of selling. There are a large percentage of sales people with natural behavioral styles hindering their ability to plan a sales call. This something that a sales manager should be aware of from reading the sales person’s behavioral based selling reports. This assessments show the natural strength and weaknesses each person possesses, then the sales manager can use different methods to show why call planning is important – and get the message across to each individual. There are a large percentage of sales people that do not like or prefer to deal with details and planning. Their natural style is to wing it and just go with the flow of the moment. While this can work with some buyers, most buyers want a different agenda – in fact, they really want an agenda. Thus, the importance of planning.
The above list are reasons I have found for a lack of call planning with sales people. The ones that have the tendency and skill of sales call planning, seem to be found in the ranks of Professional Sales People. They are better prepared, have thought about what questions to ask, have practiced their delivery of important information and have placed themselves in the buyers chair and asked the question – if I was the buyer, what would be important to me about…?
The prepared sales person is ready to control the flow of the customer interaction. The other type of sales person will wing it, make mistakes, over sell the product or service, lose credibility with the buyer, and waste the buyers time ( which is the worst thing to do in today’s time deficient world).
Become a member of the Professional Sales People group and win more sales.