Sometimes you can just have a “let’s see where this goes” talk with a prospect. But pre-call planning will increase the odds of success.

Make sure you can answer these four questions before you call.

1. What is the prospect’s current situation? The best outcomes flow from upfront homework. Prospects quickly tire of questions whose answers they expect you to know. Instead, use the call to confirm knowledge you’ve acquired.

2. What is the overall objective? Is this a get-acquainted meeting or are you reviewing results of a previous project? Are you looking to be introduced to another division? Without a clear understanding of what you want out of the call, you might as well not make it.

3. What are my strengths? When you know what’s working in your favor, it can give you a lot of leverage in your effort to help the prospect or customer become more successful.

4. Where am I vulnerable? Perhaps you have less experience, or the competition is an incumbent supplier. Perhaps you are at the high end on price. Preparing in advance helps you anticipate pointed questions about any weaknesses, and respond convincingly.

Source: Mike Schultz & John Doerr. To learn more visit

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