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Planning the Sales Call

Planning the Sales Call

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Planning the Sales Call

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  1. Planning the Sales Call CHAPTER 8 • Why should salespeople plan their sales calls? • What precall information is needed about the individual prospect and the prospect’s organization? • How can this information be obtained? • What is involved in setting call objectives? • Should more than one objective be set for each call? • How can appointments be made effectively and efficiently? Some questions answered in this chapter are: 8-2 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  2. “I finally accepted that a good plan doesn’t stay constant but instead is constantly changing to reflect current conditions.” ~Rachel Fisher 8-3 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  3. Why Plan the Sales Call? • The buyer’s time is valuable • The seller’s time is valuable • Planning must fit into the salesperson’s goal for the account • Some accounts have greater strategic importance and require more planning 8-4 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  4. Obtaining Precall Information • The more information the salesperson has about the prospect, the higher the probability of meeting the prospect’s needs and developing a long-term relationship. • There are costs involved in collecting information. • Can reduce embarrassing situations. • Don’t assume that your knowledge of the account is automatically up-to-date. • Information gathering is not usually quick and easy. 8-5 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  5. A Flow Diagram of the Planning Process 8-6 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  6. The Prospect/Customer as an Individual • Personal • Name (including pronunciation) • Family status • Education • Aspirations • Interests and disinterests • Social style • Attitudes • Toward salespeople • Toward your company • Toward your product 8-7 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  7. The Prospect/Customer as an Individual (continued) • Relationships • Formal reporting relationships • Important reference groups and group norms • Bonds that the prospect has already formed with other salespeople • Evaluation of product/services • Product attributes that are important • Product evaluation process 8-8 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  8. The Prospect’s/Customer’s Organization • Demographics • Type of organization • Size, number of locations • Products and services offered • Financial position and its future • Overall culture of the organization • Prospect’s customers • Types • Benefits they seek from the prospect’s products and services • Prospect’s competitors • Who they are • How they differ in their business approaches • Prospect’s strategic position in the industry 8-9 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  9. The Prospect’s/Customer’s Organization (continued) • Historical buying patterns • Amount purchased in the product category • Sole supplier or multiple suppliers – why? • Reason for buying from present suppliers • Level of satisfaction with suppliers • Reasons for any current dissatisfaction with suppliers or products • Current buying situation • Type of buying process • Strengths and weaknesses of potential competitors 8-10 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  10. The Prospect’s/Customer’s Organization (continued) • People involved in the purchase decision • How they fit into the formal and informal organizational structure • Their roles in this decision • Who is most influential • Any influential adversaries • Current problems the organization faces • Stage in the buying cycle • Policies and procedures • About salespeople • About sales visits • About purchasing and contracts 8-11 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  11. Sources of Information • Resources within your company • Sales portals • Selling center • The Internet • Prospect company’s own Web page • Personalized Web pages • Hoovers, JustSell.com, etc. • Secretaries and receptionists • Noncompeting salespeople 8-12 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  12. Sources of Information (continued) • Traditional secondary sources • The prospect • Other sources • Trade show • Lists and directories • Center of influence • Outside consultant • U.S. government’s export portal • U.S. Commercial Service market research library 8-13 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  13. Setting Call Objectives • Review what has been learned from precall information gathering • Understand what relationship the firm wished to have with the prospect • Call objectives should be developed while taking into account: • The firm’s goals • The sales team’s goals • The salesperson’s goals • If you don’t know where you’re going, you may wind up somewhere else 8-14 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  14. Criteria for Effective Objectives • All objectives should be: • Specific • Realistic • Measurable • Set objectives that require a buyer’s response • SMART • Specific • Measurable • Achievable • Realistic • Time-based 8-15 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  15. Setting More than One Call Objective Minimum call objective The minimum a salesperson hopes to achieve. Primary call objective The actual goal the salesperson hopes to achieve. Optimistic call objective The most optimistic outcome the salesperson thinks could occur. Secondary call objectives Remaining objectives after the primary objective. 8-16 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  16. Setting Objectives for Several Calls • Keep good records • Make necessary adjustments in long-term call objectives • Prepare for the next sales call • A good primary objective for a first session is to have another chance to visit • Consider whom to call on in upcoming meetings 8-17 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  17. Buyers are Setting Goals Also • Based on perceptions of how the salesperson’s product or service can add value • What buyers look for to increase value: • On-time delivery • To-spec quality of products • Competitive pricing • Proper packaging/paperwork • Technical support service • Quality of sales calls • Level of technological innovation • Good emergency response 8-18 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  18. Making an Appointment • The right person • Focus of receptivity • Focus of dissatisfaction • Focus of power • The right time • The right place 8-19 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  19. Making an Appointment (continued) • Cultivating relationships with subordinates • Work “through the screen” • Go “over the screen” • Go “under the screen” • Bypass the screen 8-20 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  20. Telephoning for Appointments • Most often used to make the initial appointment • The goal is to make the appointment, not sell the product or service • Salespeople need to anticipate objections and decide exactly how to respond 8-21 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  21. Additional Planning • Plan how to make a good impression • Plan how to further uncover the customer’s needs and strengthen the presentation • Plan to answer anticipated questions and concerns • Practice • Seeding 8-22 McGraw-Hill/Irwin

  22. Summary • Planning of sales calls is critical. • Salespeople need to gather as much information about the prospect as possible before the first call. • A call objective should be: • Specific • Realistic • Measurable • Salespeople should make appointments before calling on customers. • A number of methods can be used to make appointments. 8-23 McGraw-Hill/Irwin