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Peak Performance Management, Inc. | Pittsburgh, PA

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Planning. Seems easier to say than to do. As sales people, we talk about planning, but few of us plan well. We just go into sales calls wishing for the best. That’s called winging it. The big no-no.

In the words of Kelli Jae Bell, author of Armchair Detective, “That's like leaping off a precipice and trying to knit yourself a parachute on the way down/”

Worse yet, many of us plan in our minds, but don’t prep a written pre-call plan. Why’s that so bad? Simply because stuff in our minds can get mushy, shift around, and elude precise definition.

A written pre-call plan makes your plan more concrete. Writing your plan down makes it more tangible. You involve our sense of touch as you write it down or word process it, and you use your sight as you read what you write. If you can, read your plan aloud to yourself. That will involve your sense of sound. The more senses you involve, the better it is.

Something else to think about: How long should you spend doing your pre-call planning? The Sandler rule of thumb is 50 percent of the time you’ll spend on the call. If your sales call will last an hour, then spend a half hour on your pre-call plan. If your sales call will last 1.5 hours, then take three quarters of an hour to plan.

In any event, remember: A pre-call plan is a plan only if it’s written down. Without the writing, your pre-call planning is simply a wish, no more.

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