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Before You Make That Sales Call…Rehearse!

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Recently, I was speaking with a salesperson who was embarrassed to say she was going to practice for a call to a dream client. She was relieved when I told her I write and rehearse all of my important calls to ensure I achieve the outcome I need.

Thoughtful people rehearse for important conversations. It’s far more effective than winging it. If you need to have an important conversation, deciding on your desired outcome, preparing the points you want to make and choosing the right words in advance can make a huge difference.

What is your desired outcome? Your choice of questions, statements and words are all going to depend on the outcome you desire to achieve from the conversation. Start with determining the outcome so you can make good choices about the content.

Do you want your client to give you an opportunity? What will they require from you to obtain that outcome? Do you want a dream client contact to give you access to other stakeholders within his or her organization? What do you need to say to get him or her to say yes and let you pass?

What points do I need to make? Write your desired outcome on a piece of paper. Now brainstorm the key points you will need to make to achieve that outcome. You will need to make statements and ask questions to achieve your objective. What are those statements and questions?

Write down the statements you need to make. It’s important that you start with a strong opening statement that describes what you hope to get from the conversation. Next, make a list of bullet points you will hit during your conversation.

Rehearse the conversation in your head. Being prepared for a conversation makes you look and sound confident. If you have command of the material, a prepared agenda, the right set of questions and thoughtful points to make, you are better prepared to achieve your outcome. By rehearsing your plan in your head, you will be much more confident when you have your big conversation.

Rehearse out loud and feel it. Rehearsing by actually saying the words out loud improves your confidence even more. If the conversation is really important, then speak the words out loud to a thoughtful person who can give you feedback. Saying the words out loud gives you the opportunity to feel what it’s like to say them. You get a feel for the way the conversation might go, and the questions that might naturally flow from a certain statement made in a certain way.

Choose your words carefully. The words and phrases you use matter. Perhaps you need to tell your client something like “We have discovered the problem and determined that it’s really your fault, not ours.” Those might not be the most diplomatic words you could use. By saying them out loud to yourself, you hear how they sound and may decide to say something else instead, for example, “We discovered the source of the problem. It looks like we might need to give some of your people a little additional training.” Same sentiment, completely different tone.

Prepare for your biggest, most important conversations by rehearsing them to achieve the outcomes you desire.

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Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, so go


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