3 Sales Fundamentals to Prepare for and Open a Sales Call

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

Preparing for and opening a sales call effectively helps build a productive and successful discovery and qualification.


Have you ever been halfway through your scheduled sales call and the prospect says, “ I am sorry but a client modified my schedule earlier today, 

We will have to continue another time.”?



Have you ever started into your sales presentation only to find out the prospect really had a different concern or issue?


Based on the reaction and responses from our clients when we address this topic, it seems as though many people overlook the skill of preparing for and opening a sales call.  Let’s build a process to prepare for or prevent the issues above and others like them, okay?

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail!”

Benjamin Franklin

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a sales call:

Preparing for the Sales Call

Understand Your Prospect 

Prior to the sales call, salespeople should research the prospect or company they are contacting. This includes understanding the prospect's industry, pain points, goals, and any recent news or developments that might be relevant. Understand their needs and challenges.

Establish Clear Objectives

Salespeople should have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve during the call. 

  • Is it a discovery call to uncover needs, a qualification call to determine if the prospect is a good fit, or something else? 

Clearly define what you want to achieve during the sales call, whether it's closing a deal, gathering information, or scheduling a follow-up meeting.

Best Action Commitment

Determine the ideal outcome you hope to achieve during the call, such as getting a commitment from the prospect.

Minimum Acceptable Action

Identify the minimum acceptable outcome that would make the call worthwhile, even if you can't achieve your best action commitment.

Defining those two objectives helps you know if your call was a success when it is done.



Prepare Questioning Strategy

Develop a list of strategic questions to ask during the call in these areas

  • Current Situation questions
    • Where are they today?
  • Desired State/Vision of the Future questions
    • Where do they want to go?
  • Problems/Obstacles questions
    • What is keeping them from getting there?
  • Motivator questions
    • Why do they want to get there?
  • Resource questions
    • How would they get there?

Know What Part of Your Solution to Present 

  • Tailor your presentation to address the specific issues and needs, as needed at this stage of the buying process.

Build and Establish Rapport

Establishing rapport is essential in building a positive relationship with the prospect. Encourage your salespeople to be friendly, empathetic, and genuinely interested in the prospect's needs and challenges. Active listening is a key component of this.

Showing genuine curiosity and interest in your prospect not only demonstrates respect but also helps in building rapport. People are more likely to buy from someone they feel a connection with.

Personality Type

Be prepared to adapt your communication style to match the prospect's personality type. Check out these links to learn more about DISC or BANK-based personality assessments.

3 Elements of Communication 

Be mindful of verbal, tonal, and non-verbal communication cues to ensure effective communication during the call.

Communication Types 

Understand whether the prospect is primarily a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic communicator and adjust your communication style accordingly.


  • Train your sales team to actively listen to the prospect's responses. This means not just hearing what the prospect says but truly understanding it. This will enable your team to provide more relevant solutions.
  • Active listening helps salespeople build rapport and trust with their customers. When customers feel heard and understood, they are more likely to develop a positive perception of the salesperson and the company they represent.
  • Pay close attention to the prospect's responses. Avoid interrupting and focus on understanding their perspective.
  • Talking too much without listening can lead to assumptions about the customer's needs and preferences, which can be inaccurate. Active listening helps salespeople avoid making premature judgments and ensures that their approach is customer-focused.

Use a conversational tone

Make the conversation feel natural rather than a scripted interrogation. Engage in a genuine dialogue.


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to open a sales call:

Opening the Sales Call

Break Preoccupation 

Start by addressing any concerns or preoccupations the prospect might have. This shows empathy and helps clear the way for productive discussion. Be aware that you do not know what was going with the prospect prior to the sales meeting.  How can you help them be fully present in your sales meeting?


Thank the prospect for their time and confirm the agreed-upon duration of the meeting. Make sure both parties are aligned on the time commitment. If they need to leave early, you want to know that at the beginning of the meeting so you can adjust, right?

Build Credibility

Highlight your expertise, experience, and the value your solution can provide to build trust with the prospect.

Confirm the Issue

Confirm that you understand the prospect's main challenges or pain points correctly. Restate these to ensure clarity.

Get Their Perspective

Encourage the prospect to share their perspective on their current situation, where they want to go, the obstacles they face in getting there and why they want to get there.

After gathering initial insights, smoothly transition to the main agenda of the call, which may include discussing specific issues or solutions.  


Here is a sample opening:

Sample Opening

Thank you for taking time to meet today. When we talked, I believe we agreed to meet for 60 minutes, correct? (Pause)

Is 60 minutes still good? (Pause) 

I don’t expect to go over 60 minutes, but I am curious. If we are into some meaty discussion at that point, is that a hard stop? (Pause)

What would you like to get accomplished in the next 60 minutes? (Pause) 

(In follow-up meetings, also ask) What’s changed since last time? (Pause)

I’m prepared to discuss the __________________ issue(s) you mentioned, but before we do that, can we take a few minutes and have you tell me more about -  Where you are today? Where do you want to go? What problems do you see in getting there ? And this may seem a little crazy: why do you and your company want to get there? So we address what is most important to you. Fair?

So, with respect to ____________ where are things today?

Remember that every sales call should be a two-way conversation, with a focus on the prospect's needs and how your solution can address them. By thoroughly preparing and effectively opening the sales call, you set the stage for a productive and engaging discussion.


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September 22nd, 2023|Categories: | |

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