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Creating a Common Goal for Every Call

By Pat Malone
August, 2017

The opening of a sales call sets the tone for how the rest of the conversation is going to proceed, and very often has a significant impact on the outcome. Knowing the most effective way to begin each call is critical to your success.

After the initial banter, when you are ready to get to the business of the call, there are three critical elements that must be present to create a common goal and set the stage for a productive call – your confidence, an invitation to neutral, and an acknowledgment of the customer as the decision-maker.

Confidence
Never discount the power of your own conviction. Your customers/followers are buying your confidence first and then buying your product, service or idea. So, you must really believe in what you are advocating. If you only think your idea is good, others will think it is good also, but they will not buy it. The adage “I can sell anything” may have been true at one time, but not today. Buyers have more information and are more sophisticated than ever before. They demand your confidence and more. When the conversation begins, your customer is thinking, “Why should I care?” or “what’s in it for me?” The sooner you answer those questions, the quicker the customer will focus on what you are saying. 

Here is a general example:
“I believe that (insert benefit to customer) by (insert product/service).”

Here is a specific example:
“I believe that you can double your current compliance rate by implementing the Premier Pet Care Plan.”

An invitation to neutral
We can dream about all our customers being ready to buy, but in today’s competitive environment, the best we can hope for is the opportunity to make the case that our product, service or idea is worthy of their consideration.

Here is a general example:
“Let me show you how (insert product or service) is designed to (restate benefit to customer).”

Here is a specific example:
“Let me show you the plan and how you can achieve those increases.”

An acknowledgment of the customer as the decision-maker
For many reps, this last element will involve the greatest struggle. Your current mindset is focused on getting to YES. I am now going to ask that you focus on getting a decision – a well-informed YES or NO.  If you focus on getting a YES, you have engaged in a “win-lose” game. Your customer wants to decide, so your mission should be to get a well-informed, committed decision. Then you both win regardless of the decision.

Here is a general example:
“Then you can determine if (insert your product/service) is right for your practice.”

Here is a specific example:
“Then you can determine if the Premier Pet Care Plan is right for your practice.”

Now, put it all together with this specific example:
“I believe that you can double your current compliance rate by implementing the Premier Pet Care Plan. Let me show you the plan and how you can achieve those increases. Then you can determine if the Premier Pet Care Plan is right for your practice.”

A few important notes:

  1. The examples all started with “I believe…” You don’t want to sound like a southern tent revival, so here are some ways to show confidence without using “I believe.” You could start with “I’m convinced…,” “I am sure…,” “I can…,” “This will…,” etc. Just remember, it’s your confidence that they buy first, so use strong words as opposed to weaker words like “might,” “maybe,” “should,” or “could.”
  1. Would you rather be sold something, or have someone help you decide whether to buy or pass? Most people tell me they generally experience buyer’s remorse when they feel they have been sold. If you want your hospitals to see you as a value-added resource, stop trying so hard to sell them and start helping them with their decisions. They are the decision maker and you are the decision getter.
  1. Many reps struggle with gatekeepers or decision-influencers within the practice, and consequently never get a decision. We have found the solution on radio station WSIC – also known as “Why Should I Care?” The reps that determine what the decision maker values – higher volume, higher margins, safety, efficacy, productivity, etc. – have no problem reaching the real decision makers. So instead of trying to sell gatekeepers or decision influencers, ask them what is important to the decision-maker and you will find the answer to WSIC.
  1. Your goal for every sales call should be to provide your customer with a benefit that is important to them, i.e. expand their revenue, control their costs, etc. Your strategy then becomes your product or services that will help them achieve that goal. Always begin your Common Goal statement with the goal, and then transition to your strategy. “I believe you can (GOAL) by using (STRATEGY)…”

You will improve your success rate by establishing a good, solid common goal for every sales call. Try it and then decide if it will help you satisfy your customers while reaching and exceeding your quota every year.


Patrick T. Malone is a Business Advisor and Leadership Mentor based in Blairsville, Ga. He is the co-author of the best-selling business book Cracking the Code to Leadership and may be reached at ptm4936@gmail.com, or 706-835-1308.

Topics: Sales

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