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Call Plans = Recipe for #InsideSales #Success

I don’t cook.
That doesn’t mean I am unable, to quote my Mom “if you can read and do math – you can cook.”
Instead, what it means is I can’t stand in front of the open refrigerator, look at what is there, and *poof* like magic, create something for dinner.
I need a recipe to read – use as a shopping list and get everything – time to follow the instructions (oh, for cooking I double the “prep time” because, well if you don’t know what you’re doing… everything takes longer).

Call Planning is like a recipe for your calls.

1.  Ingredients

Are the specifics you’ll be putting into the call; your opening statement – questions to ask – customer stories to use as an illustration.

In sales that means actually writing it all out for yourself (dried thyme and fresh thyme aren’t the same… fresh vs. frozen vegetables as well).

  • What specifically you will say in your opening statement to capture their attention.
  • Phrasing questions to ensure they’ll get you information and get the prospect/customer talking.
  • Making the customer story engaging not boring.

Always remember a good ingredients list has the measurements as well. You don’t want to swap 1 teaspoon of customer stories for ½ cup of questions to ask!

Plus make sure that you taste ingredients that look similar (like salt and sugar, you don’t want to mix those up). In call planning; a situation question shouldn’t be mistaken for a business implication question.

2.  Instructions

The parts of the call are your instructions, both the broad outline to make the process flow AND the very specific instructions (when the recipe I was reading said “cut the aromatics and beef” that was NOT enough – for one thing I had no idea onion & garlic were the aromatics… let alone how fine to cut things).

PLUS: my suggestion is to write notes to yourself, like the ones your grandmother had in her cookbooks as she found better ways or learned what didn’t work in a particular recipe.

NEVER forget to plan the ending – season, garnish, and serve!

  • Final questions to ask
  • Know the commitment / next step that makes sense
  • Make sure you gain agreement to that next step

3.  Tips

Think of the best practices for inside sales success being the tips that come along with a recipe (like searing/browning the beef before putting it in the crockpot).

Preparing for potential objections would fall under tips.

Make sure you write all the sales tips you want to make sure to remember down!

Creating a recipe is never “winging it”

Here is the crazy thing. When salespeople tell me they “just wing it” about call planning there are TWO camps.

1st – someone without mastery who truly is pinning their sales call success on HOPE.

2nd – someone who has made so many calls of the same type, they’ve memorized the ingredients and instructions on how to make the BEST sales calls.  They have tips they use every single day.
They are the chefs of the inside sales world. The people who actually CAN stand in front of their refrigerator and *poof* make dinner.

You will EASILY identify the inside sales chefs, they can;

  1. Ingredients – explain IN DETAIL what question strings they’ll be using – substituting in what the prospect/customer says to customize the questions (no potatoes, well I’ll be using parsnips that we have in the refrigerator).
  2. Instructions – tell you the flow of their sales call without having to read them. Knowing because of practice, what order things happen in.
  3. Tips – share the best practices they know work. Where to put a close-ended question for commitment and the importance of following up with an open-ended one, etc.

Even chefs will use a recipe the first few times they make a new dish. Make sure not to confuse mastery with the lack of preparation.

Along with the fact that for a really important event – chefs will read over a recipe to make sure they’ve not forgotten something important (especially the scribbled tips from their grandmother).

Now I need to go find that beef stew recipe I’m going to use to make dinner.


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