We live in an era when virtual selling has, in many industries, all but eclipsed face-to-face, in-person selling. Yet for some reason, salespeople often fail to prepare effectively for remote sales discussions. Below are some vitally important questions to ask yourself before you reach out to any suspect, prospect, or current customer – regardless of whether you’re connecting in person, voice-to-voice, or by some interactive communication platform.
Before You Connect with the Prospect for the First Time …
Ask yourself about ideal target accounts. What qualification or demographic information can you find before you call? Which industries do you want to prioritize? Is there a specific organization you want to make contact with?
Ask yourself about decision-makers and influencers. What is the typical job title of your ideal customer? What keywords would your ideal customer use to identify themselves on a LinkedIn profile? Who is typically involved in buying, using, or paying for your solution? Who influences those people? How can you make sure you get to the right people?
Ask yourself about information and opportunities. What are your ideal buyers saying on social media? What trigger events would cause you to want to call them? What else can you uncover about their personality, needs, or the competition they may be using?
Ask yourself: How will you make contact? If you are reaching out by phone: What will you say? What problems is this person likely to be experiencing? How will you point the conversation in that direction? What outcome/next step do you want to propose? If you are reaching out by some other medium: What referral sources can you leverage and reference? How concise can you make your message?
After You Set a Meeting …
Ask yourself about confirmation and follow-up. How can you be sure all parties will attend, on time, with the correct agenda? How can you recap and confirm the information exchanged and the next steps decided during the meeting? (Here’s a hint: think of your meeting invite as a chance to confirm the key points and agreements of your initial conversation.)
Ask yourself about next steps. What do you want to make happen as a result of this meeting? What is the ideal next step? How will you propose it? What is your backup next step? How will you propose it?
By focusing on questions like these, you can make pre-call planning a priority and secure a competitive advantage for yourself and your organization in the virtual sales landscape.