Chapter 12Preparing for and Holding Your First Sales Call

When you're planning your first sales call, you'll need to become less reliant on technology and trust more in yourself, your ability to sell, and your passion. This is when it helps to have experience.

For companies with large-sized deals, the first call you make is usually your discovery call. Companies with smaller-sized deals can get right into the details.

For example, if you're selling learning and development courseware to an executive at General Electric, and it's going to cost the company $500,000, you're probably looking at a long sales cycle with many decision makers. In this case, your first call should be about finding out a few key things. Ask questions, listen, take notes, diagnose, and then come back to prescribe.

The following are some questions to keep in mind:

  • Are you in touch with the right people or key decision makers? If not, how will you get through to them?
  • Do they have a budget?
  • How many people will use your product?
  • What are they currently using, how was it purchased, and how long have they had it?
  • What are the problems with the current software or process?
  • What is the purchasing process like? Is there a request for proposal (RFP)?
  • How long do these types of decisions usually take?
  • How many people are involved in the decision-making process, and who needs to sign off on the purchase?
  • What are their problems, and how do they think you can help them? The problems may not be what you assume, and ...

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