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Could your pre-call checklist be more thorough?

The Great Pyramid of Giza built in 2584 BC; the beautiful Sistine Chapel constructed in 1473, and our own White House, whose cornerstone was laid in 1792, would have undoubtedly never stood against time, without a building plan.  Greatness requires a plan, but how many sales people shortcut the planning stage in their day?

Exactly what is a plan?
It is the map you follow; a task management tool that allows you to efficiently navigate the road you travel toward your goal.  It helps you budget your time, monitor your progress, side-step bad habits, and recognize a crisis before it happens.  It aids in decision making, and it ultimately enables you to build a competitive edge.

Why wouldn’t every sales call be preceded by planning, when we know planning works?
It is fact that most calls don’t end in a conversation – and that alone would tend to make it feel like the planning is a waste of time, especially when the steps in the planning process are both tedious and time consuming.  Sometimes it just feels easier to wing it and jump into the fray.  Someone who has been working in sales a longtime may step over some of the planning, feeling assured that their gut instinct and experience, will fill in the blanks.  Someone new to the game may not always see the reasoning for some of the steps in the planning process.  There are times that the pressure to make the number of goal driven calls in a day makes if feel like there isn’t enough time for thorough planning.  There are a multitude of reasons for short-cutting the planning, but still, the value of the planning is undeniable.

check list

What is the cause of insufficient planning?
It lies in the fact that the process is time consuming and complex – because each target is unique, and the information you need is scattered across countless web pages.  The note gathering lacks efficiency, and gaining a solid view of the whole picture is very difficult.

What would be on the wish list that would take the sting out of pre-call planning?
Ideal would mean having all of your information at your finger tips, all on one page.  It would mean that right from the beginning, when an account was first created in your data bank, every piece of information associated with it would be automatically sent to one place, where you could view it collectively.  In that single location you not only would have your research visible, but call prompts that were tailored for success – and a complete history of all your hard work displayed.  There would be an active timeline that you could hover over with a mouse to gleam the details, allowing you to see at a glance see where you’ve been, as well as where you need to go.

If you had the information and capabilities of a checklist at your fingertips – all on one computer screen, would your job be easier?  Could you make more calls, in less time?  Would you be better prepared for your calls?  Would automatically documenting your calling history help?  Can you imagine your rate of success going up?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!