A lot of deals are won (or lost) in the pre-call plan. 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.

When you plan sales calls with a team of people using Act 1 of Action Selling, 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. This month’s client success story is a real-life example of doing that perfectly.

Learn how true professionals plan sales calls. Check out my book Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You Are One).

Action Selling in Action

You’ve got your audience with decision-makers on a megadeal. You know that they are also seeing three of your competitors–two of which are also trained in Action Selling. How do you win? The simple answer is that you out-plan them. Prepare your team better than the competition.

For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call this client Bob. He’s the director of global business development for his company. A key call on a major prospective customer was scheduled, with a million-dollar opportunity at stake. Bob’s team had just been trained on Action Selling, so he contacted his Action Selling account rep to assist in the pre-call planning with his team.

That was a savvy move on Bob’s part. His team realized that one of the competitors had a capability that their own company lacked; in fact, the prospective customer had mentioned this in a previous sales call. They agreed that if they ignored the problem, they were doomed.

So Bob’s team developed certain questions that they would ask in an attempt to neutralize the competitor’s advantage. On the sales call, the plan came together. When they finished their presentation, the customer’s comment was: “You were the best prepared of any company we looked at.”

In Action Selling terminology, they won the battle of the “Salesperson” decision. The rest is history–a huge deal at higher prices than the competition.

For more information about how to make sales training pay mega dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Plan better sales calls and win competitive deals. Read my book Selling Your Price: How to Escape the Race to the Bargain Basement.


Duane Sparks - Your Secret Sauce Starts With Planning

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).