Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada
Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary
Pre-call planned it. Just as pre-call planning is a critical tool for your salespeople, pre-call planning your performance evaluations supports you in staying focused on the evaluation instead of getting caught up in your salesperson’s emotions or excuses.
Before your next performance evaluation, like the day before not 5 minutes before, pre-call plan your meeting with your salesperson using this four-part structure.
1. Outcome – the outcome of your performance evaluation is the “will do / by when / what happens if you don’t” that you want your salesperson to create with you in your performance evaluation. For example, “Hamish commits to making 10 calls per day into two new geographies for the next two weeks (total of 100 calls). If he isn’t successful he will have one week to make up the missing calls. If he doesn’t make up the calls by the end of the third week he will receive a verbal warning.” You can’t tell your salesperson this outcome because you’ll create conflict instead of conversation, but by having a clear mountaintop in mind before you start you can guide your salesperson to that mountaintop with…
2. Questions you will ask – the one who asks questions is in control. Preparing your questions in advance frees up mental space to listen and respond to your salesperson’s statements and excuses instead of burning mental calories thinking up questions in the moment. When you look unsure in a performance evaluation you lose credibility. Prepping your questions before your meeting helps you maintain your credibility.
3. Excuses or justifications you expect to hear (and how you’ll respond) – “the economy sucks,” “I’ve been dealing with client issues,” or some version of “if only…” are used in an attempt to put the pressure back on you. By writing down what you expect your salesperson to say and how you’ll respond allows you to keep focus on your salesperson’s performance instead of chasing the “excuse squirrels” thrown in your path.
4. Your purpose, agenda, time and outcomes for your meeting – Sandler clients know this as the “Up Front Contract” step in Sandler’s system. Purpose = “why we’re here,” which you and your salesperson should know because this performance evaluation was set up at your last coaching session. Agenda = the points you want to cover in the meeting, specifically reviewing real data on your salesperson’s performance. Time = how much time you’ve set aside for your meeting. Set aside more than you believe you’ll need. It’s okay to end your meetings early, but it’s disrespectful to run meetings long unless both you and your salesperson agree to extend your meeting. Outcomes = not what you wrote for step 1 because that’s “telling” not “leading” and because you’ll share your Up-Front Contract with your salesperson at the beginning of your meeting and get their buy-in before proceeding so you have mutual agreement instead of dictating. Your outcomes in this case might sound like, “at the end we’ll have clear next steps on how to get your performance back on track and another meeting in the calendar to review.”
Performance evaluations are fraught with emotion on your side and your salesperson’s side. Pre-call planning your performance evaluations supports you in steering through those emotions and ending with a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Until next time… go lead.
Revised & Updated Cold Call Bootcamp
An interactive sales workshop designed to produce results, learn effective cold calling techniques, and overcome call reluctance.
Friday October 27, 2017 from 11:30AM-2:30PM
Most sales people hate making cold calls for one of two reasons: They don’t have a system, or the system they have doesn’t work. If this sounds like you or your team, this boot camp may be for you.
- Anxious about making Cold Calls?
- Tired of not getting past the Gate Keeper?
- Sick of hearing “Email me some info”?
- Struggling to hit your numbers?
- Frustrated because you don’t have enough appointments in your calendar?
- Irritated because you keep getting stuck in voice mail?
You’ll leave with the tools to…
- Make a no-pressure prospecting call
- Ensure you maintain control during the call
- Develop a customized approach, geared to your business
- Know when and how to leave voice mails
- Understand how to eliminate stalls and objections