Sales Process – Call Planning

Steps in Sales/selling process

1. Prospecting

2. Call planning

3. The visit – preliminaries

4. Presentation

5. Trial close

6. Listening to the objections

7. Objection handling

8. Trial close

9. Close

10. Follow-up and service

Step 2. Sales Call planning

Except in retail counter sales, and selling situations similar to this wherein the customer himself walks up to the salesman, salesman has to meet the prospect and interact with him to offer his product as a solution to the prospect’s need and want. Getting an opportunity to meet the prospect is the first step in this process. Cold calling can be tried, but for many items, the prospect may not be able to spare time at the instant the salesman barges in. the practice of making an appointment before calling on a prospect can save the salesperson hours in time wasted in traveling and waiting to see a person who is absent or busy.

Appointment making is often associated with a serious professional image, and it is treated as a gesture of respect toward a prospect. If the prospect gives an appointment, he will spare more time to interact with the salesperson and listen to his point of view, his presentation. A list of appointments aids a salesperson in allocating his day’s selling time. Appointments can be arranged by postcards & letters, telephone, emails, or during cold calls.

For making an appointment over telephone, it is advisable to plan and write down what is to be said. This will help in presenting the message concisely. The sales person has to identify himself clearly, state the purpose of the call and present interesting information about his product and seek the interview. The interview seeking sentence is preferably put forward as a question giving a choice of time to the prospect. Can I come today or is it more convenient to you tomorrow? Could it be in the morning or you prefer evening?

Appointments are easy to come by if your old satisfied customers talk to the prospect on behalf of you and arrange the interview.

A salesman has to believe in himself. You have a good offer for the prospect and he will benefit by accepting your offer. Confidence can be developed by knowing your products better and customer needs better. When you are seeking appointment, you have to be internally confident.

Successful salespeople make friends with people around the prospect. Car sales people speak to drivers as equals. The security persons of a building need to kept in good humor. They can make entry into the building easy and can even give some information on leads.

A salesperson need not waste time in endless waiting. Once an acceptable amount of waiting time has passed, he can inform that he has another appointment to make and can fix another time for the appointment.

The actually sales call needs to be planned. By planning the sales call the sales person becomes confident. As a part of the planning, an attempt is made to understand the need of the prospect. The prospect appreciates a salesman who shows an understanding of his need. A salesperson’s ability to be fluent in his interaction creates a professional image. This professional image increases sales.

The sales call plan has four components.

1. The call objective

2. The customer profile

3. The customer benefit plan

4. Presentation that takes into consideration the call objective, customer profile and the benefit plan.

The presentation that is planned must capture and maintain the prospect’s attention. It has to lead to prospect’s showing interest. It then has to increase his desire to own the product. Then only the action to buy will be undertaken by the prospect.

The salesperson has to ensure that the presentation/interaction that he has planned has statements, exhibits, and actions that result in attention, interest, desire and action on the part of the prospect. _____________________________


Originally posted on Knol sales-process-call-planning#
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