The Top 7 Pre-Call Sales Planning Meeting Questions

The Top 7 Pre-Call Sales Planning Meeting Questions
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Pre-Call Sales Planning Meeting Questions Matter

The varied amount and inconsistent quality of pre-call sales planning creates a wonderful opportunity for hungry sales teams to outperform their peers.  Why?  Because solution selling sales reps who prepare by knowing the answers to critical pre-call sales planning meeting questions are more likely to add value, handle sales objections, and secure the next steps required to move the sale forward.

Buyers Expect More from Sales People
According to Forester Research, executive level buyers report that less than 25% of salespeople meet their expectations, create value, or get agreement for a next step during their sales meetings.  Much of the poor track record comes down to a lack of sales preparation.  Sadly, executive buyers report that:

  • 78% of sales people did not have relevant client case studies to share
  • 77% did not fully understand their core issue
  • 70% of sales people were not adequately prepared to answer their questions

The Top 7 Pre-Call Sales Planning Meeting Questions
Assuming that you have a clear definition of your target clients and can express your unique value proposition, you must, at a minimum, know answers to the following seven pre-call sales planning questions before meeting with any potential client.  Most of this can be learned from minimal research and by networking both internally and externally.

  1. Their Business
    What is going on in their industry and their business?  This is a no-brainer.  You need to know your client.  The effort and time required to get the meeting with a target client is significant.

    If a sales professional does not properly prepare for a sales call, how can they (and their company) be trusted by the customer to invest what is required to deliver an effective, and often complex, solution.

  2. Their Network
    Who do we know in common?  Your chances of building trust quickly increase exponentially if you know someone that  your client trusts.  In fact, 76.2% of buyers prefer to work with vendors who have been recommended or referred by someone they know.
  3. Their Issues
    What issues are they most likely facing? What questions and concerns will they most likely want to discuss?  Take the time to research and organize your thinking around what matters most to your client.

    Most buyers, especially executive-level buyers will not tolerate irrelevant or “junior-level” questions. Make sure you prepare using recent and accurate information.

  4. Relevant Examples
    What are compelling examples where we have solved similar issues for similar clients?  The best sales reps can clearly articulate how their solution not only fits their customer’s needs, but also what makes it better, faster, or cheaper than other available alternatives.

    Your success stories should be clear, recent, interesting, and relevant to who you are speaking with.  In this area, it is important that you bring specificity to the call.

  5. Value-Add in Their Eyes
    What unique insights and value can we provide in areas that matter most to the client?  Similar to the above examples, top performing sales reps spend the time to prepare to add valuable insights on each and every call.
  6. Objective
    What is the buyer’s objective for the sales meeting? What is your objective?  This includes having an agreed upon agenda and ensuring that each person understands their role on the call — including the sales questions they will ask.

    Do not start a sales call or begin to prep for a sales call until you are clear about what you are trying to accomplish.

  7. Strategy
    What is your specific strategy for achieving your desired results and is your sales call strategy aligned with your overall sales strategy?  That means understanding  where the client is in the buying process and planning the call flow in a way that achieves your objectives.

Sales managers know these seven pre-call sales planning questions are the ticket to play the game.  You should not get on any client call unless you have clear answers to each question.

The Temptation to Avoid at All Costs — Winging It
We believe that less than 30% of sales people meet a buyer’s expectations on sales calls because they repeat the same mistake over and over again.  They wing it.  This forces them to focus on their company, their products, and their solutions instead of their customer and their customer’s customer.

The Bottom Line
Sales reps who prepare outperform those who wing it.  Pre-call sales planning allows you to anticipate, add value, demonstrate competency, gain credibility and show respect.  Unless you thoroughly prepare, you may never get the chance to move to the next stage in the sales cycle.

To take pre-call sales planning meeting questions to the next level, download The 30 Most Effective Sales Questions to Get Right

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