The Importance of Pre-Call Planning

A recent Texas Agent article on “seeking first to understand” stressed the importance of listening during an opening appointment. This article extends that concept to pre-call planning even before the opening appointment is secured. Good pre-call planning enables you to learn about a prospective customer’s concerns, business agenda, business pressures, and key decision-makers which can be used in networking, drip marketing, cold-calling and to set the agenda for the opening appointment.

Useful Information to consider:
(Taken from the Pre-Call Planning Primer in IIAT’s Sales Management Toolkit)

  • Organizational overview including organizational mission, vision and values as well as number of employees, geographic scope, revenues
  • Names of key decision-makers or potential influencers inside and outside the company
  • Relationships of key decision-makers to other organizations, industries, community
  • News about recent product or operational developments, key hires, acquisitions
  • Information about subsidiaries, branches, and other business relationships
  • Prospect’s target client segments
  • Prospect’s competitive value proposition in promotional material
  • Prospect’s competition or competitors
  • Vendors serving prospect
  • Company’s position within the industry
  • Industry’s growth or decline in recent years
  • Industry’s operational, political, economic, or regulatory issues

Sources of information:

  • Company materials (i.e., website, brochures, annual reports, erc.)
  • Mutual centers of influence, vendors
  • Industry resources (i.e., trade group/association websites, publications, etc.)
  • Government resources – bls.gov, osha.gov, sba.gov, bea.gov, publicrecords.netronline.com
  • Free or inexpensive resources –  Google the company/key decision-makers, manta.com; hoovers.com
  • Telemarketing – use an external or internal telemarketer to gather information

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Time is running out to sign up for this summer’s Producer Development Program, sponsored by Texas Mutual.

Students get a solid foundation in commercial insurance and learn how to apply the knowledge in selling situations. The program includes five days of technical training in commercial lines, five days of sales and marketing training and two-and-a-half days dedicated to guidance on building a quality book with mandatory ethics training for all licensees. The first segment starts July 10. View the curriculum and register today.

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