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Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade, and Sell in any Situation by John E. Doerr, Mike Schultz

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Chapter 17

Planning Each Rainmaking Conversation

Eighty percent of success is showing up.

—Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s advice is pretty sound for salespeople as well, assuming you show up prepared.

We acknowledge that sometimes you do just have to show up (or—hallelujah—a prospect calls you out of the blue) and you haven’t done any preparation for the sales call. It’s reasonable to suggest that on occasion sales calls are appropriately deemed exploratory discussions—the kind of discussions in which we just talk and see where it goes.

Take this approach in every business development situation, however, and you’ll lose a big share of sales that you should have won. Whether you have a $2,000 or a $2 million price point to increase your odds of winning new clients, you still need to do the same basic planning and know the same essential information before your sales calls.

Here are six sales call planning questions you can answer for yourself before every sales call will help prepare you for success.

Planning Question 1: What Is the Prospect’s Current Situation?

Ask this question to give yourself the lay of the land. Often your goals for the customer, the value you can offer, and your action planning for the rest of the sales call come out of your detailed knowledge of the prospect’s situation.

If you find that you don’t yet know enough about the situation, ask yourself what research you can do before meeting. Your goals are to be able to move quickly through tactical situational discovery ...

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