There are several things a salesperson should do before making an actual face-to-face presentation. Obviously, an appointment must be made with the prospect. Also, the salesperson must be qualified to make the sales call, meaning that they must have acquired the necessary product knowledge, are properly prepared to answer all industry-related questions, and possess a basic understanding of the customer’s needs. Effective time management is essential to achieve the maximum number of sales presentations each day.
Poor appointment setting habits can ruin a productive sales week. Appointment scheduling and general office work should not be performed during prime selling time. Broken appointments, however, create an opportunity to set appointments for the following week.
When setting appointments, always consider the characteristics of your territory to ensure you are able to make the most sales presentations possible in a day. Too much windshield time kills your earning potential. Remember, your goal should always be more sales presentations and less wasted time and energy.
Before you pick up the telephone, you should have in your possession the following information: the decision maker’s name, title (purchasing manager, traffic manager, material control manager, warehouse supervisor, etc), address, phone number, and information on how you obtained the lead. A qualified prospect is anybody who ships or receives freight or makes those decisions for other locations. If you received this lead from a referral, be sure to have your source’s name ready to cite to the prospect.
Never call a prospect without knowing his or her name in advance. You can call a day or two in advance to ask the main receptionist the name of the purchasing VP or whomever you’d like to connect with, and then call back later to the specific individual. You can also search the internet for the needed information.
Your only objective for a cold call is to schedule an appointment. Never attempt to sell at this stage, instead aim to set up a time for the prospect to hear your presentation. Sound important and confident, but not pushy. Be persistent, but polite, and always be well-prepared with answers to the most common questions about why they should meet with you.
Much of this part of the process is about how you see and carry yourself. The decisions your prospects make on who they will trust to ship the products they manufacture is one of the most important decisions they make. Be persistent. Make sure they get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that only you can sell them.