The Four Things You Should Be Doing Before Every Initial Sales Call

You’ve waded through endless contacts to identify your best prospects, put in your time with the much dreaded cold-calling and against the odds have time on the calendar to speak with “Mr. Perfect Prospect” next Tuesday.  Now what?

Initial Sales Call -- Four Things to Do;    The Four Things You Should Be Doing Before Every Initial Sales Call
Initial Sales Call — Four Things to Do

The first conversation with a new prospect can be rough.  Much of the ability to drive revenue, depends on your ability to lead a great first call. In our 24 years of observing thousands and thousands of first sales calls with the best salespeople and teams across every B2B industry imaginable, we have identified the indicators of conversion success that happen in that initial call.

Here are the four simple actions that will help you turn conversations into relationships and convert prospects to buying customers.

Pre-Call Prep

  • Research prospect company
    • Website, LinkedIn, Google Search, Recent Press releases/financial reports
  • Research prospect contact
    • LinkedIn and other social media, Google Search, any history of contact with your prospect and people you know that they know
  • Arrive to every call 5 minutes early and re-review your rep-call research

Intro/High Level Overview (3-5 minutes)

  • Make your full introduction
  • Tell the Prospect your story and your company’s story and history
  • End the introduction with an open-ended question

Conversation and exploratory questions (15-20 minutes)

  • What follows should be free-flowing conversation, think conversational, not presentational, usually Q&A format
  • Talk about people you know that they know
  • Your questions should always be open ended, trying to get the Prospect to share as much information as possible
  • Try to determine the Prospect’s most pressing need, and timeline for solving, listen for the opportunity – hear it!
  • Get the prospect to ask questions, too
  • Build a relationship with prospect, don’t sell in the initial discovery call
  • When the Prospect has finished a thought, you can and should respond if appropriate: What do you mean by that?  Why would you say that?  Can you please explain that in a different way?

Close with a follow up Meeting (3-5 minutes)

  • If you believe there is an opportunity, however small, the correct action is to IMMEDIATELY set a next step with the Prospect, during this call
  • Coordinate a follow-up call for later the same week/ the following week, or coordinate an in-person for two-three weeks out
  • Get the invite out ASAP

In 2020 prospecting remains one of the most crucial part of the sales cycle, but according to recent studies more than 42% of sales teams cite this as the most difficult part of the sales process. While prospecting for new business has always been a difficult undertaking for sales teams, it has become an ever greater challenge in the past several years as it’s become increasingly difficult to cut through the unrelenting noise to be heard, make it through barriers put in place to keep sales people at bay and make a connection. OnTarget has over 24 years in providing Tactical Research, Prospecting and Lead Generation services that truly result in revenue growth, for some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world.

If you would like to learn more about what we are doing for current clients as well as how we can help fully optimize your sales efforts in this rapidly changing landscape for 2020 please reach out to Dannah Mayo, Director, Center of Excellence, at Phone (972) 400-6750; or email

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