Pre-call planning not going as planned

Landon Ellis
Landon Ellis Member [Custom Team] Posts: 10

Effective pre-call planning is crucial in sales, but what happens when the plan doesn't go as designed? What are the correct steps to take when you find yourself deviating from your initial pre-call plan? Share your experiences and strategies for adapting to unexpected situations in sales calls.


  • John Kaplan
    John Kaplan Member [Pro], Member [Plus] Posts: 20


    One thing that can help us in Pre-Call Planning is to prepare The 3 P's for every call (Purpose, Process, Payoff). Purpose = What is the purpose of your call? It is human nature for the buyer to ask themselves, "Why is this person calling me?". The purpose statement is a great opportunity to make your contact warmer. For example, you could be calling at the suggestion/request of someone they know or work with. You could be calling because you read a recent article that is relevant to them etc. Process = What do you want from them? Are you going to ask them some questions?; How much time do you need? Some think of this as an agenda. Payoff = What is in it for the buyer? This is an opportunity to share some relevant Proof Points.

    The 3 P's is a great way to prepare. The flow sounds something like this: The purpose of my call/contact is…..; What I would like to do with you is….The benefit to you is…. This satisfies basic human needs that most of us have when we are contacted by someone we do not know ⇒ "Why are you calling me?"; "What do you want from me/what are you proposing to do with me?" and "What's in it for me?".

    When executing Sales Calls, there is an old saying that states, "Wherever you are there you go". What this means to me is that I need to always have a little framework in my mind to help me and the buyer stay focused and productive. I like to breakdown Discovery into 3 buckets = Business Impact; Decision Criteria and Measurements for Success. In other words, I am asking discover questions to help me uncover and connect to business pain. I am asking discovery questions to understand and influence decision criteria with my differentiation and I am asking discovery questions to understand how the customer will measure success and ensure that this is favorable for us. Once I understand this, I can pivot to talk about How we do that (the decision criteria); How we do it differently or better than everybody else (our differentiation for the decision criteria) and Where we have done it before (our proof points which should include measurable success).

    So when we feel like we are deviating in some way on a call, we refocus on the Discovery Buckets (Business Impact; Decision Criteria, Metrics)

  • Rachel Clapp Miller
    Rachel Clapp Miller Member [Pro], Administrator, Moderator, Super User group (not at launch) Posts: 52

    Love this question Landon, John gives some good tips here. Follow the customer where you want to go and then use the buckets to help ground you at the end. I think it's also good to prepare for what you want to happen after the meeting - what's the next step you're driving to - then determine in the conversation if that still makes sense. If not, why? And, that "why" will probably give you the needed action item.