If you're like many salespeople out there, you may have been guilty of winging it during a sales call. Maybe you just did it once, maybe you do it more often. You may even do it every time you make a sales call.
If that sounds like you, you're in trouble! You're going to miss things in your sales call. Taking the time to plan is the only way to insure you accomplish what you really want to accomplish. And planning consists primarily of pre-briefing and debriefing.
The first stage of planning for a sales call is pre-briefing. When you pre-brief, you need to really look at what you want to accomplish. Know what your expectations are for the call, and what your prospect's expectations are.
You'll need to be aware of some of the specific questions you need to ask. And if some of those questions are going to be difficult, make sure you'll have the guts to actually ask them.
After the call, you need to debrief. When debriefing, the biggest thing you want to do is learn a lesson. It doesn't matter if the call went great, you need to know why it went great. If it went poorly, you can't improve unless you know what when wrong.
It doesn't matter if you got a yes, a no, a referral, a clear next step, or some combination of those. Regardless, you should always look for a lesson.
It's okay to make a mistake, just don't make the same mistake twice!
Remember, winging it is not an acceptable sales strategy. If you go into something just hoping it works out, chances are good that it won't. But if you take the time to plan by pre-briefing and debriefing, your chances go way up.