What Do Want Your Customer to Do? – How to plan the advances for your next sales call

We have been covering the six elements of sales encounter planning.  Regardless of the methodology or tools you use to plan each sales encounter, you should cover these six elements:

  1. Research
  2. Value Proposition
  3. Questions
  4. Advances
  5. Unexpected Value
  6. Agenda

In our last post we covered planning the Questions you will ask, and this week we cover planning your Advances.

Advances

Your planned advances answer, “What do I want my prospect to do as a result of this meeting?” It is the action(s) you want them to take.  An Ideal Advance is the highest level of commitment you can reasonably expect them to make as a result of this encounter. Advances should be specific and measurable, center on the action the prospect will take, move the sale forward, and be reasonable from their perspective. You should plan an ideal advance as well as several alternate advances in the event that your ideal proves unrealistic.

Consider first, your Ideal Advance:

  1. What is my primary call objective?
  2. Is my primary call objective specific and measurable? Does it center on the action the client will take, move the sale forward and is it reasonable from the buyer’s perspective?
  3. What is The Perfect Close phrase I will use to obtain this advance?  (that is, how will you ask for it?)

Consider the alternate/additional advances you will use if you are unable to achieve your Ideal Advance, or if the meeting is going extremely well:

  1. What are my secondary/backup objectives for this meeting?
  2. What alternate or additional advances could I request as a result of this meeting?
  3. What is The Perfect Close phrase I will use for each of these? (that is, how will you ask for it?)

Consider the minimum advance you are willing to settle for:

  1. What is the smallest advance I am willing to accept and still continue investing time in this opportunity?
  2. What is The Perfect Close phrase I will use to obtain this advance?  (that is, how will you ask for it?)

This is, literally, the most important part of your meeting.  This is where you advance the sale.  Planning ahead of time will make you far more effective at advancing the sale.  Do not try to figure out your advances on-the-fly.  That’s winging it and professionals do not wing it.

Your prospects expect you to help them make the positive changes that will bring about their desired results.  You do that by helping them take steps towards it.  And that’s what your advances are – steps toward their desired results.  Make no mistake, the moment you suggest these advances you more than just a salesperson – you are a coach and facilitator.  You are a leader and trusted adviser – helping them achieve their goals.  It’s an important responsibility.  Embrace it and do a good job by planning your Advances ahead of time.

Closing Tip:  Plan your Advances ahead of time.  It makes you more effective and serves your client better.

Until next time!

James

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