How Much Can You Accomplish on a Single Sales Call?
Not long ago I had the pleasure of doing a ride-along where I accompanied a new rep on his meetings for the day. As a manager and coach ride-alongs can be one of the most productive uses of your time because they tell you so much about what is actually happening in the field.
My rep briefed me on the account and we chatted a bit in the parking lot before going in. One of the questions I asked was, “What do you hope to accomplish as a result of this meeting?” Without missing a beat and with the exuberance only a new rep can muster he responded with, “To close the sale.”
This happened to be the first meeting in a very complex sale. There would likely be 6-10 more sales encounters before we could even consider giving them a contract to sign. And yet my reps goal for this meeting was “to close the sale”.
A Common Mistake
This is a common mistake that salespeople make when approaching each meeting. They confuse the Sales Objective with the Call Objective.
Sales objectives and call objectives have very specific criteria and knowing their criteria will make your sales encounters much more successful. For clarity let us define here both sales objectives and call objectives.
Sales Objective – the revenue (or outcome) you anticipate generating by closing this particular opportunity with this particular client.
Call Objective – an advance or commitment that is the desired outcome of this particular sales encounter with this particular person or group.
The contrast here is that the Sales Objective is your ultimate goal of closing this specific opportunity while Call Objectives are our goals for achieving an advance on each particular sales call or encounter. These are separate things.
The clearer these two are for us the more rapidly we will reach our desired outcome. It was not realistic for my rep to expect that we would close the opportunity on this particular sales call. What he should have done (and what we did) is set an ideal outcome for this particular meeting along with a couple of alternative outcomes just in case our ideal outcome turned out to not be realistic.
What was the outcome of our meeting? We achieved our ideal outcome as well as one of our alternative outcomes. These proved to be the first two advances in a series of nine advances that ultimately led to my rep winning the deal.
There are some specific criteria for setting Sales Objective and Call Objectives that we will discuss in a future post. For now here is the takeaway:
Closing Tip: Set a realistic Call Objective and a couple of alternative Call Objectives for each sales encounter.
Until next time…