6 Essential Rules for Initial Sales Calls

In Bradford Buzz by Bradford

Does your job description include “salesperson-in-chief”?  If so, you’ll want to keep these basic rules in mind – no matter what you are offering.  Keep these 6 simple things in mind to make those first sales meetings a success.

  1. Research

Anything you can do to learn about the person or people that you are meeting, the company, their products, their competition, and their customers can make a huge difference. It will help you understand how your product can tie into their overall goals: You can ask better questions, show the prospect you care enough to do the research, and gain the upfront confidence you get from doing your homework.

  1. Confidence

Speaking of confidence: This is one of the most important elements of a successful meeting. People can and will read your expressions, body language and your voice inflection. They can determine if the words coming out of your mouth match your belief.

  1. Time

A simple question here is all you need. “I know we set aside 30 minutes for today’s meeting,” you should say. “I just want to make sure that still works for you?”

Common courtesy goes a long way: The last thing you want is someone looking at their watch because of a deadline that came up at the last minute.  Knowing the customer’s time frame also helps you manage the flow of the meeting.

  1. Connections

Breaking the ice the right way can set the tone for the rest of your meeting. If you found in your research that the person you’re meeting was featured in a recent article or has a hobby or interest that you can relate to, ask them about it. Or just look around for information that could start a conversation–think about family pictures, sports memorabilia, awards.

  1. Goals

Once you get started, you need to explain why you are there and what you want to accomplish. Some people call this an “initial benefit statement” or “general benefit statement.” It goes something like this:

Thanks again for sharing your time with us. XYZ company has been helping companies [mention briefly what your company does and the benefits your customers receive]. Our goal today is to learn more about your overall needs, goals, and challenges and see if there is an opportunity for us to benefit by working together. We did our homework on your company but would like to hear more about [their business, their environment, etc.].

  1. Questions & Answers

A sales rep can never listen himself out of a sale. And no customer has ever said that they do not like a rep because they listen too much.

Your first meeting has a greater chance of success if you have listened at least two-thirds of the time. You can still get the information you’re looking for by directing questions carefully. But having the prospect expand and elaborate on his answers gives you a deeper understanding of his situation.

The most important key is the FOLLOW UP

Be sure to follow up with your customer. It’s that follow-through that can make all the difference. That’s how a customer can really see your service in action.


Modified from http://www.inc.com/barry-farber/initial-sales-calls-10-rules.html