Partners in Performance Blog

Sales Call To Action Mistake #4: Not Preparing


Your preparation for a sales meeting will be more effective when you start by asking yourself, “What is my desired outcome?” That leads to, “What do I want the client to do as a result of my presentation?”

An even better question to address in your preparation is, “What do I want the client to do as a result of my presentation that would move the action the furthest and the fastest?”  These questions will ensure you are well-prepared for your Sales Call to Action.

If you aren’t clear on what you want, how can you expect your client to be so clear they are compelled to take the next steps?

The need for preparation and outcome clarity is obvious, right? But common sense is not the same as common practice. Do you think sales people don’t know that their job is to ask for action at the end of their meetings? Of course they do.  But proper planning for delivering that call to action is often sorely lacking. In my sales coaching work I observe a lot of ad hoc, last minute and scary planning habits.

Here are four tips for planning a call to action that gets strategic results:

1.      Start with the end in mind

This principle is one of the 7 Habits cited by the late management guru Steven Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” When planning your sales meetings, it is smart to clarify the desired outcome first. This will shape your approach including how you will open, what questions you will ask, and how you will close with a strong Call to Action.

2.      Plan the delivery of your Call to Action

What words will work best? How will you deliver the words so that you are clear and confident? There is a big difference between knowing what Call to Action you want to ask for and how you will ask it. There is nothing worse than stumbling over your words and coming across unsure of yourself because you aren’t prepared. So many times I know in my head what I want to say but when I say it out loud it doesn’t always come out right. Be prepared to deliver your words with clarity and confidence by not only planning what you say but also by rehearsing how you will say it.

3.      Have a contingency Call to Action

What if your client doesn’t agree to the ideal Call to Action you ask for? Smart sales people have a contingency Call to Action – the next best step that still moves the action forward in a concrete and timely way. Plan for this. Be ready. In so doing, you will be confident and compelling. Those sales professionals who prepare the most have the least problems.

4.      Use a planning tool to prepare for meetings

Your success in achieving your desired outcomes is based not only on how well you close, but on everything you do in the meeting leading up to the close. Planning is critical for every step in the sales meeting including:

  • How you open and set the stage for the meeting
  • How you conduct your discovery questions
  • How you position yourself, your business and your solutions
  • Your closing strategy

When you prepare well for meetings from beginning to end with a step-by-step sales process, the close is a natural conclusion to your meeting.

How self aware are you about your sales abilities? Self-awareness is the first step in preparing to take your game to the next level.

Here’s something you can do to improve your level of self-awareness: Take our sales and presentation skills quiz and get valuable insights about best practices and your own approach to sales BEFORE your next meeting or presentation.

Click here to take the free quiz. Then pass it on to your friends and colleagues to compare notes.


This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on August 9, 2012 in Closing Skills, Sales Skills. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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