First off, sales calls aren’t even SALES calls; they are “office-visits-where-I-complete-some-menial-task-that-makes-me-feel-like-I’m-doing-something-valuable-and-give-me-something-to-write-on-my-call-report” calls. Ask salespeople about their “sales calls” and you get answers like this:
- I dropped off our new brochure.
- I followed up on an order.
- I checked in to see if they had evaluated our proposal.
- I met the department manager and set up an appointment.
Seriously? These are sales calls? If I read these in a report, my blood pressure would double. If I asked a salesperson to outline their sales plan for the week and I got these answers, I would need oxygen.
Secondly, we should quit calling them sales calls anyway – even if they qualify as sales calls. Why? Because “sales calls” imply a whole lot of salesperson and very little customer. 85% talking, and very little listening. What we need to do is change the vernacular; real “sales calls” are not sales calls, they are “value creation calls.”
That’s right – “VALUE CREATION” calls.
You come into my office to sell me something, you’re a product pusher. You come into my office to create value for my organization, you become interesting. Assuming you can deliver that value, you become a trusted advisor. A resource. A partner.
And, by the way, value creation doesn’t have to be just about delivering your products and services. Every single call can be a value creation call. In Conceptual Selling, authors Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman made the case for preparing a “valid business reason” for every call. In other words, when you approach a client or potential client, you need to be prepared to offer something in the call that makes it worth the investment of time – regardless of your ultimate objective in the call.
- I offered a training program to improve safety in the shop (and I dropped off a brochure).
- I delivered some research data that will benefit their marketing department (and I followed up on an order).
- I introduced the buyer to someone I think can solve a problem for them (and I checked in to see if they had evaluated our proposal).
- (I met the department manager and set up an appointment), and I left a White Paper that addresses a problem they are experiencing.
Everybody talks about delivering value, but few salespeople think about it for every single sales call.
What I know, without question, is that business owners and executives have no time for salespeople. They do, however, have plenty of time to talk with someone who can create real value for their businesses.
Think about it for every single call you make.