In sales, a lot of deals are won (or lost) in the pre-call plan. If the sales training programs and sales coaching initiatives your company relies upon do not include extremely good advice about planning, you are wasting your money.

My own sales training courses are based on the Action Selling system, which consists of nine “acts.” For many reasons, I could say that Act 1 of Action Selling is the most important. Webster defines a plan as a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to achieve something. That’s exactly what happens in Act 1. You paint a picture of what will happen during the sales call. You set a Commitment Objective, develop your questions, anticipate the needs you expect to uncover, and determine what company and product solutions you’ll recommend in response to those needs. Finally, you have a vision of the question you’ll ask to gain commitment.

Those are among the key sales skills you learn and master in sales training programs based on Action Selling. When you plan sales calls with a team of people using the sales skills from Act 1, everybody gets on the same page. Without Act 1, a sales call with teammates can be like herding cats. Selling errors will happen and deals will get lost.

I love it when a plan comes together.

If you’re a golfer, you’ve probably heard one of your buddies say: “I love it when a plan comes together.” That person just hit a shot that he or she visualized prior to making a swing. If you’ve experienced this yourself, you know how great that feels. In selling, your sales-call plan is equally important, and the feeling of a successful plan coming together is even more fulfilling.

That’s exactly why Act 1 of Action Selling exists. Your Commitment Objective represents the agreement you want from the customer to take the next step in your sales cycle: set a meeting, schedule a demonstration, meet with other decision-makers, book a proposal meeting, or decide to buy your solution.

Your Act 1 plan begins and ends with Commitment Objective. The rest of your plan fills in the space between setting your Commitment Objective and asking your Commitment Question. If you learn to do that in a sales training course, and refine your skills with great sales coaching, you’ll gain a big leg up on your competition.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling.  He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations.  Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).