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How to Conduct a Sales Call

John is an actor, writer, and entrepreneur interested in the search for truth and meaning in the world.


Sales and Marketing

Everyone of us are sales people at some point. Sales is a process that starts at birth and concludes at our death. Sales skills determine the very quality of our existence and destiny. Moreover, sales skills in a business environment are paramount to an organization’s success or failure. For example, which organization gets a lucrative multi-year contract or obtains the instruments of production at below market value is largely determined by their sales staff's ability to deliver a favorable outcome. Therefore, it is imperative that sales professionals understand the ramifications of their actions in the context of seeking to influence another party.

This article will provides you with a thorough understanding of the steps to effective selling. Each step of the process, from start to finish, is covered in the below checklist. Upon the completion of reviewing the below checklist, you will be able to conduct a successful sales call and have an action plan for improving your skills. The new skills you gain can be immediately applied to business situations where formal and informal sales and marketing of all dimensions take place.

Format for a Sales Call

Step 1: Establish an agenda based on the objective of the sales call

a. Assemble team comprised of specialists: sales, contracts, and technical staff.

b. Research the prospect’s organization and needs.

c. Educate prospect about your company’s capabilities and previous successes.

d. Seek to create a win-win business relationship.

e. Anticipate prospect’s questions.

f. Make sure that key decision-makers attend the meeting.

Step 2: Establish your company’s credibility

a. Give a 5 to 10 minute presentation on your company’s credentials featuring the newly designed marketing brochure.

b. Build trust in your company’s competence and reliability by exhibiting confidence, enthusiasm, and knowledge of your company’s abilities.

c. Focus on key factors such as business longevity of 20 years, growth curve, financial strength, competitive pricing, locality to client, overall best value source selection, experience of staff, impeccable references, commitment to subject matter, and understanding of requirements.

d. Cite honors and awards received from clients.

e. Communicate your company’s ability to fulfill subcontracting plan requirements.

f. Discuss your company’s skills at marketing contractual vehicles and building long-term client relationships.

Step 3: Investigate the needs of the prospective client.

a. Devote the majority of the meeting to investigating the prospect’s needs.

b. Be prepared for multiple meetings depending on the complexity of the situation.

c. Use active listening, by probing with open-ended questions, taking notes to help ensure you capture important details, and confirming understanding with closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

d. Read between the lines to discover prospect’s budget concerns, objectives, values, procurement strategies, and unrecognized needs.

Step 4: Summarize what you have learned about the prospect

a. Ensure that you have a clear understanding by summarizing your interpretation of the prospect’s needs.

b. Convey an understanding of the big picture and critical success factors involved in addressing the needs.

c. Reinforce our ability to fulfill the prospect’s needs.

Step 5: Agree on the next steps

a. Get an agreement on what will happen next.

b. Agree on at least one concrete action so that you have continuing contact.

c. Get prospect to commit to next logical step, i.e., follow up discussions, proposal submission, or negotiations.

Step 6: Follow-up

a. Send a letter thanking the prospect for the meeting, stating what you learned from them, and identifying what are the next steps in the process. The letter is intended to keep the channels of communication open and your company in the forefront of the prospect’s consciousness.

b. Make sure this prospect is added to the corporate contact database so they may be notified of any new corporate developments or targeted for future sales opportunities.

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