I watched a fascinating programme on the BBC recently. Essentially it asked what the Health Service could learn from other industries that would reduce the amount of mistakes caused purely by human error, particularly in stressful situations.
By comparing best practice from such sectors as diverse as The Fire Service, Aviation, to the pit teams of Formula One – the conclusion was:
Where a systemised approach was used and supported by the use of checklists, human error was reduced.
In one example, where a set of protocols for transferring a critically ill patient, post-operatively to the Intensive Care Unit was introduced, they reduced potentially fatal outcomes by 40% and all without any advancements in new drugs or technology!
We’ve all heard of the scouts motto – ‘Be prepared’, but how much thought do you put into systemically preparing for your sales meeting and customer calls? It’s not rocket science but so many sales meetings go ahead without it and are the poorer for it.
If you were to adopt a checklist approach to your pre-sales activity:
- How much could you improve your performance ?
- How much would that deliver in increased revenue across your team ?
- How much increased revenue would that deliver across your business?
So often, we take a hap hazard re-active approach to THE most important activity in our businesses.
Here are my suggestions for a pre-sales checklist which you are welcome to share.
Imagine if it was second nature for everyone in your team to follow it…just as you expect a pilot to run through their pre-flight checks.
Pre-Sales Appointment check list:
- Check client name, company details, contact number and email address. Calculate your journey time (then add 15mins). Someone once said to me ‘there is no such thing as being on-time, you are either early or late!’
- Check the client record in your CRM (Client database) to read the last sales history notes, what was discussed, what was the last email, proposal, report you sent them.
- What have they responded to? If you can track email opens or other responses to marketing, it will help you detect what they might have an interest in.
- Google their business and research the latest PR, blogs or articles relating to their business, and be armed with the latest industry, company, even individual client knowledge.
- Check their digital profiles on LinkedIn, twitter and Facebook if their business is active here. If they are commenting in social media or writing articles, actively seek out opportunities to ‘like’ or retweet where relevant. If there’s an opportunity to comment, do so intelligently and with no element of sales pitch. Engage with them in this arena as a peer not a sales person.
- Ensure you, your car, your bag, your shoes, your nails and everything about you is in tip top condition.
- Pack your fully charged laptop, IPad, your brochures or samples, your order forms (if you still use them – everything we do now is managed electronically) and your business cards.
- Ensure you have the resources to make your appointment in good time, be that petrol in the car or dosh on your Oyster card etc.
- Drink a big glass of water on your journey. It sharpens the mind and will prepare you for your client encounter.
- And finally, always carry mints. No one wants to do business with someone with dog breath!
And that’s just the pre-sales check list. If you were to carry this thought through to other areas of your business, your sales process, what else would benefit from a simple checklist approach?