1) How to convince Sales Professionals of the importance of preparation for each Sales Conversation had with a Lead, Prospect and/or Opportunity decision maker.
2) What is a checklist that will produce the needed preparation with the minimal amount of time and effort.
I can tell you what convinced me to prepare for sales calls.
When I was a young salesperson in my 20's I had had some success and was promoted to look after a senior account with a particularly tough buyer.
I went in on that first call to him brim full of confidence. He cut me to shreds. Constantly asking questions I could not answer properly. His last words to me as I left were, "next time you come back young fella, you better know your stuff"
And, by God I did.
Never again did I walk into any sales calls less than 100% prepared.
And may I add this got me into plenty of debates with sales managers and later with my CEO. Call preparation time did cut back on some selling time but no-one in my company had a better close ratio than I did.
Experience IS the best teacher. Is there any way you can organize for your reps to be grilled by a tough buyer, even if you have to set it up ? Maybe you could do it in some role playing but it would not be nearly as effective.
Baring that, a checklist is a good idea. Not knowing your business I can't really comment on the info you'd need to have before walking into a sales call. Maybe you could incorporate the checklist on a call report form to be filled in by the reps. That way when they hand in the call form their sales manager can see if they filled in the pre-call preparation.
Hope this helps, Greg
PS: Although I am from Australia I have spent a bit of time in Austin over the years. My company used to represent Texaco Chemicals (which became Huntsman Chemicals) and their R&D facility is in Austin. I spent many a night at the Embassy Suites. Swung the odd golf club in Austin too.
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