By Dan Caramanico
Have you ever over-prepared for a sales call? When you do you tend to over-think everything. You go into the call worrying about what you will say. You worry about what the prospects will say and how you will react. You start to choreograph the call by thinking “I’ll say this then he’ll say that. Then I will come back with …”. The problem is that you do your part but the prospect does not have a script. So, pretty soon you are “off script” and you are lost. Your plan for the call goes awry and you end up not making the impression you were hoping for.
This is a terrible mindset to take with you on a sales call. You are internally focused and not focused enough on what the prospect is saying. You will miss the cues the prospect gives you and you will fail to get to the prospect’s compelling reason to buy. So, the solution is to relax on the call and have a conversation with the prospect about what issues and problems they have which you can address. Don’t worry about anything else. Let me address a couple of the things salespeople tend to obsess about on sales calls that prevent them from relaxing.
SALES TECHNIQUES – I teach them but they are overrated by most salespeople. The fact is you should not worry or even think about techniques on the call. If you have internalized the technique it will be there when you need it without you having to consciously think about it. If you don’t have it internalized yet, concentrating on it will not make it be there when you need it and you will most likely miss other important stuff while you are concentrating on looking for a place to use the technique.
PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE – Salespeople who worry about this are definitely focused on the wrong part of the problem. If you are worried about how much you know, then chances are you are looking for a place to tell the prospect what you know to either impress them or to convince them you have the best product or service. That is not why you are there, at least not on the first call. You are there to determine whether they have a problem that you can fix, and whether they have enough of a compelling reason to address the problem at this time and enough money to hire you to address it. You do not need a lot of product knowledge to do that. Anyone with at least a few weeks on the job should know what problems they are looking for. If they have a big enough problem with enough motivation and money to move forward, then you can bring an expert back to explain how you can do all of that. So, there is no need to worry about product knowledge.
The moral of this story is RELAX! Worrying and obsessing on sales calls is counterproductive. Simplify your life. Learn what problem you are looking for. Then go have conversations with some nice people who may have those problems. This approach will be much more fun, and, as a bonus, your sales will increase dramatically.
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Dan Caramanico is a salesforce development expert and he is the author of Attributes of The Optimal Salesperson® One of Selling power’s top ten books for 2010 and Optimal Selling, Sales Conversations of the Optimal Salesperson.