Before You Make the Call

The best B2B salespeople know that it takes more than establishing a good client rapport to attract and retain business. They put in the necessary time and research to determine how to construct their approach, and maintain harmonious relationships with existing customers.

The New Conceptual Selling by Stephen E. Heiman, Diane Sanchez and Tad Tuleja provides a wealth of useful information, encompassing all aspects of the selling process, some of which we share in this post. Prior to picking up the phone to solicit new prospects, reps must ask themselves the following four questions:

Why am I here? This question seems obvious, but, when left unanswered, leaves the salesperson without a definitive strategy. When it comes to building and sustaining a business relationship, a rep’s first priority is to define and identify a single sales objective. Once this step is complete, the caller can test the objective to make sure its clarity, specificity, definability and timeline are all realistic from your prospective client’s viewpoint.

What do I want the customer to do? In an ideal world, all sales calls culminate in a signed contract. To take the call in that direction, savvy salespeople will end the call with a commitment of action from the customer. Figure out in advance what your minimal acceptable action is, and stick to it. Realism is the basis of obtaining a solid commitment. Being met with resistance at this stage is normal, so be prepared to ask your prospect questions if this occurs. If you sense things are going nowhere, despite your best efforts, walk away, but only as a last resort.

Why should the customer see me? Give your potential customer a valid reason to commit to an appointment with you. Its purpose is two-fold: 1) It gives the buyer the information he/she needs to understand who you are, and why you want to establish a common foundation. 2) It provides would-be customers with advanced time to prepare for your meeting. Customers have to understand ahead of time how you view the transaction and be in agreement with your perception. What’s the reward for all this effort? You get payback in the form of long-term differentiation, lingering in the customer’s memory.

Do I have credibility? Quite simply, you have to convince potential customers that you can be trusted and are a subject-matter expert. This is done through establishing your personal credibility. There are many ways to do this, such as exhibiting your industry experience and knowledge, concisely presenting your solutions, highlighting past successes when appropriate, and the manner in which you come across. The best way to get credibility is to earn it. Nothing speaks louder than a reference or recommendation which comes from someone with whom your potential customer is familiar.

Once on the phone, you will know things are going well when your customer shares pain points, gives you his/her undivided attention and asks questions which zero in on your solution. By always being genuine, asking targeted questions and practicing effective listening, you are paving the road to success. Make sure to confirm your upcoming appointment toward the end of the call. This way, staying in touch with the customer’s changing priorities and needs is automatic.

At Auqeo!, our sales representatives employ this methodology every day. It’s but one of the ways in which we set ourselves apart. Find out more about our organization at www.auqeo.net.

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