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Sales Prospecting Research

Guide to FSU databases of use for sales prospecting.

Sales Call Fundamentals

1. Preparation Prior to Sales Call

  • Research the account prior to the call?
  • Learn something about the person and their business before the meeting?
  • Send an outline of the agenda to the client before the meeting?
  • Have three value-added points prepared?

2. Greeting and Introduction

  • Find out about the prospect's personal interests, hobbies, family and so on?
  • Find out the names of contacts in the account and write them down?
  • Bridge to the business topic smoothly?
  • Listen more than I spoke? (Ideally, you should spend 80 percent of your time listening and only 20 percent talking.)
  • Ask the customer about their business goals?
  • Ask the customer what challenges the company is facing?

3. Qualifying

  • Find out who the decision-makers are by asking "Who else besides yourself might be involved in the decision-making process?"
  • Ask what process they normally go through when considering a new vendor?
  • Find out how and why they made the decision for their current product or service (assuming they are replacing a product or service)?
  • Find out what their time frame is?
  • Find out if funds have been allocated--and how much?
  • Find out their specific needs?
  • Ask if they could change something about their product or service, what would it be?

4. Surveying

  • Ask open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, why, how, how much, tell me about it, describe for me)?
  • Ask about the corporate structure?
  • Ask about the prospect's role at the company?
  • Ask what's important to them?
  • Ask what's interesting to them and then focus on that?
  • Ask what risks they perceive?
  • Ask how we can help solve their problems?
  • Ask what they think about our company?
  • Ask what they like and dislike about their current vendor?
  • Ask how industry trends are affecting them?
  • Ask "what if?" questions?
  • Ask what they would like to see from a vendor and salesperson in the area of support after the sale?
  • Ask what their short-term and long-term goals are?
  • Ask how I can become their most valued vendor?
  • Ask what is our next step?
  • Establish a specific follow-up schedule?
  • Parrot the prospect to encourage him to expand, elaborate and go into detail about each answer?

5. Handling Objections

  • Listen to the entire objection?
  • Pause for three seconds before responding?
  • Remain calm and not defensive?
  • Meet the objection with a question in order to find out more?
  • Restate the objection to make sure we agreed (communication)?
  • Answer the objection?
  • Complete the six-step process?
    1. Listen
    2. Define
    3. Rephrase
    4. Isolate
    5. Present solution
    6. Close (or next step)

6. Presentation

  • Prioritize the prospect's needs?
  • Talk about benefits to the customer?
  • Use layman's terms?
  • Link the benefit to the prospect's needs?
  • Verify each need before moving on?
  • Present myself, company and product in a positive light?
  • Re-establish rapport?
  • Ask if anything changed since our last meeting?
  • Pre-commit the prospect?
  • Give a general overview of the product or service?
  • Keep the presentation focused on the customer's needs?
  • Involve the customer in the presentation?
  • Summarize the prospect's needs and how our product or service meets those needs?

7. Closing

  • Get the customer to identify all possible problems that might be solved by my product or service?
  • Get the customer to identify the value of solving the identified problems?
  • Get agreement that the proposed solution provides the values identified?
  • Ask for the order ("Why don't we go ahead with this?")?

8. Customer Maintenance

  • Establish a schedule for follow-up calls and customer visits?
  • Ask for referrals ("Do you know three people who could benefit from my product and service like you did?")?
  • Ask what are three important things we can do as a vendor to keep our relationship strong?

Source: 8 Steps to a Successful Sales Call

Selling Power

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The Sales Institute

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Trip Wyckoff
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