close [X]
February 06, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli | Views: 1604

Making Pre-Call Plans

Even professional athletes practice before the big game

Making Pre-Call Plans

Imagine the Philadelphia Eagles spent the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl resting, recuperating, cleaning equipment, sending a few emails and doing TV interviews!

After winning the conference championship game in January, Doug Pederson got the team together and said, “Hey guys, it’s been a long season and you are all experienced players. Many of you played in youth leagues, high school, college and finally, many years in the NFL. So, for the next two weeks, just relax and enjoy yourselves! We’ll go out in the Super Bowl and just wing it.”

          Do you think this happened or ever will happen? Of course not. This is the big event. No matter how long the players have been playing or practicing — no matter how experienced the players are, you practice for the game.

          That is what I want you to think about when making your sales calls. Sure, you know how to sell. Sure, you know the customer and the products you plan to present. Sure, you can “get by” without doing a pre-call plan. However, your customer and your company want you to do it anyway. Why?

Why your customer wants you to pre-call plan. Because you will:

  • Be more focused (waste less of their time).
  • Ask better questions (finding more ways to help them).
  • Have a purpose for the sales call (reduce the social visit selling).

Why your company wants you to pre-call plan. Because you will:

  • Be more focused (waste less of your time and sell more).
  • Be more effective at uncovering other areas to help the customer (sell more).

Why YOU want you to pre-call plan. Because you will:

  • Be more focused (waste less of your time and sell more).
  • Keep yourself from slipping into the social rut. This gets worse the longer you are in sales and the longer you work with a customer.

Best Practices

  1. Use a Checklist!

Pick any one of the many that are out there, but have an actual form or checklist. You can email me at and I will send you one that I use. A checklist makes sure you are covering all the bases before driving onto the farm or walking into the agribusiness. Quick note: assembling administrative documents is not pre-call planning. While it might be necessary, that’s more of an administrative task than an actual pre-call plan.  

  1. Schedule it!

Often, while coaching sales people and discussing their pre-call planning process, they tell me how busy they are and they simply didn’t have time to do it. Through dialogue, we always arrive back at the same conclusion. It wasn’t because they didn’t have the time. It was because they didn’t take the time. Everyone has the same amount of time (24 hours/day) and we all fill it with what is important to us. When you tell me, you didn’t have time to pre-call plan, you are really saying, “I didn’t think it was important enough to actually do it”. If so, refer back to the reasons you, your customer and your company want you to pre-call plan.

If we truly dig into the reasons we don’t do pre-call planning, we would find a combination of laziness, over confidence and “Not wanting to be Salesy”. Pre-call planning or bringing an agenda to a sales meeting might seem like you are turning your call into a cold or strictly business-like meeting. Fear not! You can still spend some time on the social visit. However, a pre-call plan will make sure you don’t spend the whole time socializing and not selling.

More Articles