Planning a Sales Call--More Than a Panic Attack in the Elevator

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We’ve probably all been there at one time or another even if we don’t want to admit it.  We’re in the elevator on the way to a meeting with a prospect, and we’re planning for the ‘sales call’ as the floors tick by.  It’s kind of crazy really when you think about how much money we invest in marketing, which is all about getting opportunities to be in front of a prospect.  Yet when we finally get that audience, we’re often not adequately prepared to fully leverage that time.

The antidote to this is the concept of the checklist.  If you have a background in aviation, you may be familiar with the concept of a checklist.  A checklist is a type of informational aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task.

The sales application would entail creating a checklist of those elements that you’ve identified as being critical to a successful first meeting with a prospect.  That checklist might include; 1) what you need to take to the meeting, 2) questions you need to ask the prospect, and 3) objectives for the meeting.

Although not every meeting with a new prospect is identical, a person will be more confident during the meeting if he goes in feeling prepared and confident.  Creating a checklist with your sales team is a good way to document one important element of your ‘sales best practices’.