I sometimes wonder how this could still be going on in today’s day and age.  We are now living in a digital world.   Everyone says it makes it harder for sales teams because the buyer is now more informed! I say that this is BS.  Although they are more informed, at the same time, it helps us as sellers! As the CEO of Visualize, often I’m also the DM (decision maker in our company’s purchasing) and, at times, I handle the sales calls. Who calls today and says…

“What do you do?”  Crash and burn!

If you can believe it! That was actually the opening question from a sales representative to me when they got me on the phone. What does my company do?? Hell, one simple search on the web or website or LinkedIn and it’s pretty obvious.  Even worse, given what we do, how do I respond to that question when asked?

What I wanted to say was, “I teach people how to never ask a question like the one you just asked because there is only one thing I want to do right now, which is hang up the phone.”  So, after I banged the receiver in the cradle a few dozen times (okay in my mind, not literally) I answered his question with a question.  (LOVE doing that BTW)  I said, “Well, given that your boss is a good friend of mine, and he recommended we talk about your company, what do you think I do and why might your boss think we could leverage your solution?  Long pause… (as he searched the internet I’m sure) he said “Well, I am assuming you could use our technology in the work you do with your clients.”  Soft answer… again, still trying to find his footing, while he searched a bit more I’m sure….  I will spare you the rest of the dialog and my coaching.

Here is a short analogy – in flying (aviation), commercial and private pilots have pre-flight checklists. You may have seen them walking around the plane, it’s one part of their pre-flight procedure, their checklist, that they must to perform in order to avoid a major catastrophe. Likewise, it’s important that before you make a sales call – no matter how long you’ve been flying/selling – you must also conduct your own pre-flight checklist. This will ensure you cover your bases so you don’t “crash and burn” like this guy did.

Here is the short version 1, 2, 3:

  1. Web search
  2. LinkedIn search
  3. Company search

This should allow you to clear the first hurdle.  And don’t forget your value impact story we call a Credibility Intro.

So, what is your pre-flight checklist on a referral call from your boss to a friend?  I’m sure that this seller has added a few more items to his list.  If he hasn’t, he shouldn’t be flying, as he is just going to crash and burn.  I would love to hear some of your best practices – post ‘em here.

Best selling success to you!

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Scott Anschuetz
As Founder and CEO of Visualize, Scott spearheads the company’s overall strategic direction, planning and execution. Scott has over 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, building profitable companies.
Scott Anschuetz

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