The Perfect Sales Call
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Is it possible that the perfect sales call exists? Actually, it does exist. What makes it seem elusive is how you define the perfect sales call is most likely different than how your prospective customers define it.

For you, perfection is probably a closed deal at a sales call’s conclusion. But from a buyer’s perspective, a successful sales call doesn’t always end with a sale.

So, let’s take a look at the “perfect” sales call from a buyer’s point of view.

The opening

There will be plenty of time to talk about your company, your products, and your points of competitive differentiation. Now is not that time.

Now is the time to set the stage in a way that positions your product or service as the best choice for your buyer to harness an opportunity or overcome a challenge, but without directly referencing the product or service.

Also resist implying that the buyer has a problem that you’re there to solve; doing so risks putting him on the defensive.

Instead, talk about a market change or trend so compelling that it will shake your buyer out of clinging to the status quo and ready him to take action—a change that your product or service addresses.

If, for example, your company sells a SaaS application that presents customer ratings and reviews on retailers’ websites, set the tone with a discussion of how much more likely customers are to make purchases when reviews are plentiful and easy to find.

Share data from relevant research studies. Make the case that retailers with reviews win and those without lose, and that the gap will only widen over time.

Do not mention your product or service unless the buyer asks. Be patient.

The core

The bulk of the sales call should be you listening to the buyer. How does he see the market change or trend you presented?

Ask about the related opportunities he’d like to take advantage of to determine whether he agrees that there’s a reason to take action.

Uncover any potential obstacles to a purchase; for instance, if he needs to get approval from a boss before buying.

After you’ve spent time listening to truly understand your buyer’s concerns and goals, you can present your product’s features as solutions.

If, for example, you’re selling the reviews app cited above and your customer is worried about losing customers to an upstart competitor, you could discuss how adding your reviews tool would help not only retain current customers, but also better convert new ones.

Focus on creating links between your product and what’s most important to the buyer, not on reciting a scripted list of features and benefits.

Provide examples of clients you’ve helped that harnessed a similar opportunity or overcame a similar challenge.

Show that you listened by framing the discussion based on how the buyer responded to the questions you asked, as well as on what you know about the company from your pre-call research.

Concentrating on what’s important to your buyers shows that you’re not just interested in their wallet; but, instead, that you’re actually interested in helping them succeed.

The conclusion

Determine, based on the discussion, what to close with. Is it to ask for the sale, schedule a demo, or arrange a follow-up meeting with colleagues? Yes, you want to close a sale, but you also want the buyer to be pleased with the outcome of the sales call—and to feel good about what’s next.

Ultimately, the perfect sales call is one that’s perfect to the individual buyer. The perfect sales call moves you toward to your goal (closing a sale) because you’re respecting your buyer’s comfort level, needs, purchase process, and goals; the buyer feels in control, educated, respected, and listened to.

The closer you can get to providing what a buyer would define as the “perfect” sales call, the more likely that the sales call will be perfect to you, as well.

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