7 Reasons Planning is Critical for Sales Success

When you get right down to it, there are two strategic types of benefits to planning — tactical and contemplative.

Tactical

Planning is beneficial from a tactical perspective because it results in the actual words you will say, questions you will ask, and areas you will address.  Knowing these in advance will greatly improve your confidence and your effectiveness.  It will also produce an agenda which will give both you and your prospect a clear awareness of where you are during the course of your meeting and the sequence you will follow.

Contemplative

Planning is beneficial from a contemplative perspective because it forces us to slow down and think in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise.  It allows us to contemplate what we don’t know and reminds us to consider important dynamics that could be overlooked.

As sales professionals we tend to be action-oriented.  We favor jumping right in to make something happen.  For many, planning is unfamiliar or even uncomfortable territory.  One of the marks of a true professional is working smart in addition to working hard.

In this post and the next we will make planning quick and efficient for you by distilling all we have discussed into a set of easy-to-follow steps.  First, let’s review a little.  There are seven primary reasons to plan for every sales encounter.

The 7 Primary Reasons to Plan Every Sales Encounter

  1. You will be far more effective – We learned earlier in the book that sales planning is strongly correlated with success.  Neil Rackham declared that their research findings at Huthwaite indicated that “Good selling depends on good planning more than any other single factor.”
  2. It increases the probability you will achieve your intended outcome – The old expression “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is still true today.  Knowing in advance what you want to achieve significantly increases your odds of achieving it.
  3. It will help you plan and remember the questions you want to ask – Strong value-adding questions are hard to create on the fly. Planning in advance will allow you to craft excellent questions and remind you to ask them in the heat of the moment.
  4. It creates a checklist of steps for you to follow – Planning gives you a roadmap to gaining the contacts, information, and commitments you need for a successful outcome.
  5. It gives you time to prepare your Unexpected Value – Considering what unexpected value is best for your prospective client during your upcoming encounter depends on where your prospect is in their buying cycle.  Planning ahead gives you the time to maximize your value.
  6. It increases the probability you will achieve your prospect’s intended outcome – You only succeed when your prospect or client succeeds.  Consistently planning ahead ensures they will achieve what they expect—from this meeting as well as the entire sale.
  7. It differentiates you from the competition – Few salespeople give much thought to planning their sales encounters in terms of the value their prospect will receive, so planning a cohesive and valuable meeting alone will differentiate you from your competition.

In previous posts we:

  • Got our mindset right
  • Defined our sales objective
  • Defined our call objective
  • Reviewed our value proposition
  • Brainstormed our possible advances, and
  • Created ways to provide unexpected value

Once you have done all these things, planning your sales encounter is very straightforward.  In our next post I will give you some forms you can use to help with this process but the truth is, planning doesn’t require any special tools beyond a simple piece of paper and a pen.

Closing Tip:  Productivity and success don’t happen by accident.  You and your meetings will be more productive when you plan.

Until next time!

James

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