John Wooden often said, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” This vital concept applies to your sales process and how you plan for your next sales call. The key lies in outlining a set of robust sales call objectives. Forming goals for your next meeting with the prospect will allow you to guide the potential customer toward a well-informed decision.
So, what makes a good sales call objective? Below we highlight the five most important things to remember. If you apply these principles, you will increase your closing rate and exceed your sales targets.
Understand the Customer’s Needs
The most important person on the call is the customer. Learning about their goals and aspirations should be the number one priority for the call. Understanding your prospect’s needs is a key toward earning their trust and positioning your product or service in a valuable way.
Your multiple prospects may have differing needs. You cannot make the mistake of assuming that your potential customers share the same goals. Searching for unique pain points is a critical best practice that will help you increase your closing rate. If you ignore this vital step, you will leave a lot of revenue on the table.
Without learning about your customer’s needs, it is impossible to deliver worthy insight about your product or service. It starts with fostering a relationship with the potential customer. Your prospect will need to buy your personality before they ever buy your product or service. Taking meaningful time to investigate their needs will enable you to grow your relationship.
After you build your initial rapport, there are many questions you can ask to get the ball rolling. Here are some helpful suggestions for inquiring about the customer’s valuable needs and learn more information about their situation:
- What are some factors that impact your business?
- What are some of your motivations to begin the buying process?
- What are your goals for your company this year? What about personal goals for your role?
- How did the company do last year? How are things progressing this year?
- What is your goal with this product or service?
Investigating the customer’s needs is a critical step in the sales process. The quality of your questions says a lot about you as a salesperson. Your questions will also show how much you care about the prospect. So, what makes a good question? Here are some criteria to run through as you evaluate your methods of understanding the customer’s needs:
- Is the question concise, clear, and direct?
- Does the question force the prospect to evaluate new concepts or information?
- Does the question make the person think deeply before they provide an answer?
- Does the question make you seem more knowledgeable than your competition?
- Does the question generate a unique response from the customer?
- Does the question influence the prospect to evaluate a past experience?
Cater Your Sales Call Toward an Ideal Result
Dr. Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People makes it a point to “begin with the end in mind.” This concept is vital in influencing others, making it a meaningful best practice for setting sales call objectives. Your sales call goal should be able to address the question: “if this sales call ends up being successful, what will the result be?”
A ship or a plane never departs without a destination, and neither should your sales call. You cannot jump on the call with the idea that you will form objectives as it progresses. You will only hit your sales quotas if you have a comprehensive roadmap of your success, as well as your prospect’s success.
Before you pick up the phone and dial, you should have a concise statement on what you want to accomplish on the call. The sales game is a detailed process, which is why you need to build out each step to guide the prospect toward a decision.
When you form your sales objectives with an end in mind, it will help facilitate the overall sales process. This objective is especially effective with an indecisive buyer. Getting the prospect to talk about their ideal result will make selling your product or service so much easier.
Are you looking for an actionable pre-call strategy or objective? Here are some examples of goals you can lay out for yourself:
- Product trial – signing up the potential customer for a product trial will help them see visual proof of what your solution can do for them.
- Receive feedback – understanding your prospect’s perception of your product or service will allow you to gauge where you are in the sales process. It will also help you discover unmet needs and pivot your approach.
- Earn another meeting with decision-makers – if the person you are meeting with is not the only decision-maker, this objective is critical to help move closer to the end of the sales process.
- Schedule a follow-up appointment – if both you and the prospect need to do additional homework, setting another meeting could be an excellent sales call objective.
In the end, setting an end goal with your sales call objective will give you something to work toward. It will motivate you to perform better on the call. Try out one of these objectives and see how it increases your closing rate.
Make the Sales Call Objective “SMART”
The SMART acronym is a reliable tool for forming goals for anything. It is also useful when setting sales call objectives. As you outline your ideal outcome for the call, try and focus on how you can make your goals specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound.
Your sales call objective should be precise and definite. Without a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you could appear unorganized and unprepared in the eyes of your prospect. The more specific you make your goals, the better off your results will be. Envision all the necessary components in your sales call objective. A few examples of specific goals include:
- Gain a meeting with the Vice President of the company
- End the call with a commitment from the prospect to try out your best product or service
- Gain approval from the prospect for an order of your product
- Convince the customer that your product or service is worth paying for at a given price
Next, your sales call objective should be measurable. When you quantify your goals or accomplishments, it gives you something worthy to shoot for. It also allows you to track progress, forecast your sales for the quarter, or give meaningful updates to upper management at your company. Here are a few examples of measurable objectives that you can build into your next sales call:
- Gain a commitment from the prospect to order 500 units of product
- Win the business of a significant account and negotiate a $100,000 contract
- Earn a meeting with the President of the company within 4 weeks
The ultimate goal of selling is to serve as a coach for your prospect throughout the sales process. Your goals should be action-oriented, meaning that they guide the prospect toward a buying decision. If you do not have any objectives that accomplish this, you will lose out on sales to your competitors who do set action-oriented sales call goals. Below are several examples of action-oriented objectives:
- Set another meeting with more decision-makers to review a product demonstration
- Have the prospect provide you an invoice or quote of what they are currently paying for their product or service
- Set another meeting to review contract terms
- Set another meeting to take your prospect on a tour of your facility
Your sales call objectives should also be realistic. If your goal is to win the business on the first meeting, it might be time to reconsider. The sales call objective should be an accurate projection of how your past calls have occurred. You want to remain consistent, but you should also strive for continuous improvement. Build in more sales call objectives that push you to be better, such as these below:
- Get the prospect to say “yes” at least ten times on the call
- Let the prospect do most of the speaking on the call
- Earn a meeting with all the people who have a hand in the decision-making process
- Work on building better rapport with the prospect
Lastly, your goals should have a set deadline attached to them. If you do not establish an end date for your goal, it may never get done. It will make you more proactive in accomplishing the small tasks along the way. You can also set multiple time-bound goals to help guide you throughout the selling process. A few time-bound goal sales call objectives to include:
- Gain a meeting with the manager by the end of the month
- Sign a contract with the company by the end of the week
- Get the prospect to agree to a product demonstration within the next 48 hours
Be Knowledgeable About Your Competition
Selling is a competitive industry, which is why you should be a student of your competition. What are your competitors doing that you are not? Are there actions you can take in the selling process to separate yourself from the competition? You can elevate yourself above the competition through meaningful questions, but you can also get a step ahead with your sales call objectives.
Your sales call objectives should put you in a position to make your product or service unique. It should develop opportunities to elevate you above the competition. It starts by understanding what your product or service offers that your competitors do not. Once you know the differentiable factors, you can then build them into your sales presentation or call.
Here are several sales call objectives you can use to leverage your solutions against your competitors:
- Find out from the prospect what has currently worked with the current solution
- Find out from the prospect what has NOT worked with the current solution
- Budget time into the meeting to show a comparison chart of your competitors versus your product
- Find out about what other solutions, products, and companies your prospect is currently researching
- Find out where your product or solution ranks against other competitors
All these questions will give you more insight into how you can position your product or service better in the prospect’s eyes. Competitors are a significant obstacle between you and future sales success. When you are an expert on how you stack up to the competition, what can stop you?
Evaluate Your Performance
Continuous improvement is vital in the sales world. As you approach your next sales call, your objectives should build on what you learned on the last one. Think about what you did well during the previous sales presentation, and then set a goal to duplicate it for the next one.
Learning from your mistakes is also critical in setting a meaningful sales call objective. Identify the areas you need to improve upon and build that into your goals for the next meeting. As you outline these critical components, try your best to write it all down to keep it organized. Here are some areas you can build our sales call objectives around:
- Building relationships – did you gain rapport with the customer throughout the call?
- Pre-call planning – did you do your homework to learn about the prospect, their company, and what they stand for?
- Creating a need – did you ask the necessary questions to investigate the customer’s needs and learn about what their goals are?
- Presenting the solution – did you do an excellent job communicating your product or solution’s value proposition?
- Feedback – did you properly ask for feedback from the prospect or other stakeholders on the call?
- Commitment – did you go the extra mile in guiding the prospect toward committing to another meeting, product demonstration, or further step in the process?
You can achieve all your sales goals with a solid plan. Your responsibility is to execute and win over the customer, but you cannot do that without a robust set of sales call objectives. As you implement the actions discussed, the most important thing to remember is to provide as much value as possible upfront. Surpass your sales targets today by building in these sales call objective behaviors:
- Know your customer’s needs
- Begin with a final result in mind
- Make your sales objectives “SMART”
- Know your competition, inside and out
- Seek feedback and evaluate your performance