Don’t Tank Your Sales Call Before It Starts – Best Practices to Create Sales Call Objectives

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Sales call objectives come in all sizes and shapes and creeds. But are all objectives inherently good? Are you winning just because you have them? Not a chance.

If you’ve noticed that your sales calls haven’t yielded your desired results recently (or ever?), it might be because your objectives need to be more targeted. 

The purpose of sales call objectives is to set a foundation and create a roadmap to the promised land – ya know, a completed sales cycle. But to get there, your objectives should fulfil one or all of these goals: 

  • Persuade the prospect to take any action that moves them through the sales funnel.
  • Expand your understanding of what matters to them.
  • Find even more opportunities to sell your product with your prospect or someone they refer you to.

That means as you research your prospect, identify what you need to accomplish on the call to bring them to the next step. 

Best practices for setting results-based sales call objectives

Increase your chances of success by pinpointing which features of your product or service are the most valuable for your prospects. Keep these in mind as you create your objectives. 

(Thank me later when your sales rate skyrockets!)

1. Learn their needs

Your prospects may share some similarities, but don’t assume that you won’t have to scope out the unique challenges experienced by each one. Ignore that, and you’ll leave major opportunities on the table. After all, you know what happens when you ASSume… 

sales objective

One of your sales call objectives has to strive to lower your prospect’s initial skepticism so they can tell you about their goals and pain points. Without that intel, you can’t offer valuable insight into how the solutions of your offerings cater to their needs.

First, focus on building the relationship with your prospect, AKA one of the most important variables in your ability to close. 

Chief Marketing Officer of ringDNA William Tyree advised sales pros to lead with curiosity to build rapport: discuss mutual interests, ask about their family life, sports, career trajectory, or even local news. Plus, don’t forget to check out their social media to identify the content they find useful. 

On your next call, help your prospect open up by asking the following question that William recommends: “What part of your job is most frustrating?” 

2. Begin with the end in mind

“If this call is successful, what will the result look like?” That’s the question your sales call objectives should answer. 

Don’t just hop on a call with the intention of creating objectives as you go and seeing what happens. – How could you reach your sales goals with such an unclear roadmap? (You probably couldn’t.)

Since you’re not calling your prospect to simply catch up on football, plan before the call and begin with the end in mind: What do you want to accomplish on your sales call? Sales is a process, people, and you need to outline each step to move the selling forward. 

Try out these pre-call objective examples and see if they fit: sign up your prospect for a product trial, receive feedback on the solution you presented, land a meeting with more decision-makers, or schedule another appointment.

If you’re really prepared, you’ll also have a backup, or you’ll have identified minimum objectives to keep you on the path to success when a part of the process doesn’t go according to plan. 

If you can’t get a hold of your prospect, for instance, your minimum objective is to set a meeting with their trusted colleague, who can lend their ear about your offerings and put you on the map. 

3. Follow the SMART formula

Besides using the acronym as a guide to help you create efficient goals, top-tier sales reps also craft SMART sales call objectives to maximize their time with prospects

Here’s a breakdown of how the SMART approach can help you create objectives that get results: 

sales goals
  • Specific: Focus the call objectives you want to accomplish on something definite. (The more specific, the better!)
  • Measurable: Decide how you’ll determine if you accomplished the call objective. Without this element, you can’t reach your full selling potential. 
  • Action-oriented: Objectives should move your prospect through the buyer’s journey and develop your knowledge of their needs. 
  • Realistic: Your goals need to be achievable. If you’re aiming to sell on the first call, you might want to reconsider your objectives. 
  • Time-bound: What can you reasonably accomplish in the call window? Determine an objective to tackle within that time frame.

Remember: You can find opportunities in every sales call – but they won’t reveal themselves without the right objectives.

4. Be aware of the competition 

Your prospects play the field. They flirt with the competition and hunt for the best deal and value for their businesses. Hell, when you’re a customer, don’t you? 

Don’t hold it against them. Instead, identify sales call objectives that create opportunities for you to leverage your solutions against your competitor’s. This helps your prospects realize why you’re the best option. 

Because there’s a significant chance they compare multiple products or services, dare to put it all out on the table and ask these questions:

  • Learn about what works. “What has your experience been with [their current provider] and why did you seek it out?”
  • What hasn’t worked? “Why do you need another solution?” “Do you hope to replace [their current provider] or use it with another product/service?”
  • Inquire about their search. “Are you looking at any other products at the moment?” 
  • Find out where you stand. “What do you think about how we compare to other solutions you’re interested in?”

Imagine how powerful your sales process can be when you know exactly what your prospect is missing and how to provide it.

5. Analyze your performance 

Before you hop on another sales call, analyze your performance from the last one – how else do you think Kobe became Kobe? 

In an article for the Sales Readiness Group, Managing Director David Jacoby wrote, “Your first area of inquiry should focus on results: Did you achieve your sales call objective? If yes, how? If not, why not?”

Then, analyze your performance to learn what you did or didn’t do well. Use David’s checklist to go deep with your post-call analysis: 

Build relationships. Did you build trust with your prospect and other influencers?

Planning the call. Did you set objectives and learn enough about your prospect in the discovery phase?

Developing needs. How much time did you spend exploring the concerns of qualified buyers vs. unqualified? 

Solution presentation. Were you clear in your explanation of how your product serves their needs in ways competitors can’t?

Managing feedback. How often did you ask for feedback?

Gaining commitment. Did you ask for a commitment at the end of the call, and did you time it correctly?

When you take ownership of your performance, you can improve for the next prospect. It’s that simple. “Combining this post-call analysis with a clear call objective will help you take your selling skills to the next level,” writes David. (And we agree!)

Beware of these horrifying mistakes – don’t tank your objectives

Some mistakes are unavoidable. But others? They might be so unforgiving your prospects will have no choice but to seek your competitor instead. 

If that’s not the side of the sales process you want to be on, use this list of 10 blunders you can avoid with targeted sales call objectives:

🚫 Failure to explain the next step

🚫 Pitching to unqualified buyers 

🚫 Leading with little confidence and lots of hesitation

🚫 Making unrealistic promises (be sincere!)

🚫 Pitching before you build trust and a rapport 

🚫 Bombarding your potential buyer with too much information

🚫 Showboating about your product with no proof of why it works for the prospect

🚫 Poor pre-call planning ➜ no background knowledge you can use to connect 

🚫 Pitching an unclear and lengthy message 

🚫 Being too general and unspecific

Bonus mistake (and this is a huge one): Setting sales call objectives that aren’t client-focused. 


The key to continued prospecting success? Start selling like a marketer! The next step of your development starts with this webinar about tried-and-true marketing tactics that will land you one appointment after the other.

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