Last week, I conducted my first sales call. It was more or less an impromptu call, and in my excitement, I neglected to do any pre-call research. Cringe, tell me about it. As soon as the call began, my client recognized that my knowledge of his business was insufficient, and counted out working with me altogether. Who can blame him? If I had been prepared with a relevant pitch and information about his company and how I could help him specifically to succeed, the call may have gone differently. Unfortunately, I missed my first opportunity, and was hung-up on in the process.
In the first tennis match I ever played, I lost 6-0, 6-0 in about 15 minutes. I walked off the court to my mother, waiting to comfort me. But, I didn’t need consolation; instead, I told her, “Next time, I’m going to beat that girl.” We may have laughed it off, but the next time I stepped foot on the court across from that opponent, there wasn’t a chance I was losing. And just for the record, I didn’t.
I’m beginning to realize just how intricate sales calls can be. In my previous blog, I went through what I’ve observed as the most effective way to direct a discovery call. After reading Trish Bertuzzi’s The Sales Development Playbook, I’d like to take on a different perspective: that of the client. She writes, “The next time you receive a cold call, ask the rep on the other end of the phone, what do you know about me and my company? If the response doesn’t impress you, hang up” (158).
The preparation for a discovery call is just as important, if not more, than proper execution of the sale. Not only does pre-call planning increase the likelihood of conversion, but it can also form the client’s perspective of your willingness to help them succeed. Why would you want to do business with someone who didn’t bother to take the time of day to do some quick research about your company and product? You deserve to exclusively have business relationships with people who care as much about helping you as you do about helping yourself. If a sales rep’s investment seems anything but genuine across the line, hang up.
Failure in sales is inevitable. Focusing on my inner drive, learning from my mistakes, and maintaining my competitive spirit will all be crucial to my success. Never again will I be caught off-guard about something within my control on a call; the embarrassment the first time was more than enough. I’m going to let that mistake get to me just enough to fuel the fire. Understanding the importance of pre-call preparation early on in my career is something I’m proud of, even if I had to fail first. Going forward, I’m moving on up, and the sky’s the limit.