There can often be some confusion with regards to what qualifies as an effective sales call.
They can be mistaken for promotional, marketing or service calls – which, when required, can be incredibly useful – but tend to have completely different objectives to genuine sales calls.
And yet I hear phrases like these, from Business to Business Sales Teams on a regular basis;
“I just call in to show my face.”
“I want them to get to know me before they get to know what I’m selling.”
“I don’t want to upset things by revealing I’m actually there to sell them something too soon in the call.”
“I’m investing promotional support early in the hope that one day they’ll become a customer.”
So let’s create a little clarity.
If you’re calling on a prospect or customer – face to face or on the telephone – your objectives will probably fall into one of 3 categories;
- Improvement or
In other words, you’re either trying to;
- Find out if you can become a supplier
- Develop an existing customer into something more or
- Put something right that’s recently gone wrong.
Here’s another quick way to work out whether what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, actually matches up with your business objectives.
If you’re making a genuine sales call – and it goes well, the customer will tell you;
“I need that” - or – “I want that” - or ask – “How soon can we get started?”
If you’re making a service or promotional call – and it goes well, the customer will give you a “Thank you” – and mean it.
And if you listen carefully, you’ll find that the word customers use with the most feeling during a pointless coffee call is; “Goodbye”.
So ask yourself – before you make your next customer call – Which one of following would you most like to achieve?
- An Order
- A Thank You or
- A Goodbye
If your wages are based on increasing or maintaining business then your employer is probably hoping for an order – but hey – if everything goes well and you’re brilliant at what you do – you will probably end up with all three.
On the other hand, if the main aim of your role is as an ambassador for the business – delivering some level of customer service, marketing or promotional support – then they’d probably be happy with a heartfelt thank you and a pleasant goodbye.
However, if the most positive description that you can give for the majority of your calls, is that people quite like your company and don’t mind you being there – then there’s a fair chance that sales meetings and appraisals probably aren’t your favourite times of the year.
Listen, if you haven’t given any of this much thought before – and I have to say, at the beginning of my career, I certainly hadn’t – then you probably need to take a step back and have a think about why someone pays you that much money to drive around and have coffee with strangers.
Every time you walk through the front door of a business you are either there;
- As a customer
- As a professional with an idea, product or service that can help or
- To just get in the way
Before you go in to see your next customer, work out which one of those you’d most like to be.
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