3 questions to ask yourself before making that sales call

by Steli Efti

Most sales reps think deals are won or lost when you’ve got the prospect on the phone. They’re wrong. You win or lose the deal before you even pick up the phone and dial; it’s your state of mind that determines the outcome of the call more than anything else.

I have three questions that I ask myself before every crucial sales call: Why? What? How?

I’ve taught the same questions to many other sales reps, and you can literally hear the difference. Sales reps who haven’t answered these questions aimlessly float with the tide. Don’t be one of them; swim for a goal!

“The game looks like it takes place between the lines on the court, but really it takes place between your ears.”—Novak Djokovic

Here’s three questions to ask yourself that will set you up for success between your ears:

1. Why am I calling?

On the most superficial level, you can answer this question by saying "I’m calling because that number, that prospect is in my sales pipeline."

But why do you even go through your sales pipeline?

“Because I want to close that deal.”


“Because I want to accomplish my goal.”


“Because I want to be successful.”


“Because I want to accomplish my dreams.”


“Because I want to make my parents, my friends and myself proud.”

Keep asking why until you connect this sales call to whatever it is that drives you in life, to your higher purpose … you will feel very different about the next call than when it’s “just another sales call” or “just another commission”.

Everybody’s answers are different to these questions. What matters is that you know your answers, that you know your WHY. 

2. What do I want to accomplish?

Be specific and clear about what you want to accomplish. Don’t just say, “I want to close a deal.” That’s too generic.

What’s the deal you want to close? When do you want to close it? What’s the action you want them to take?

Create a scenario in your mind that you can clearly see, and then step into it, like a virtual reality game.

3. How am I going to accomplish this?

What’s your gameplan? How exactly do you want to get to the finish line? Here’s one example of how you might answer this question:

“I’m going to do this by getting them engaged and emotionally invested in the conversation. I’ll make them understand how our product can help them achieve the outcomes they want and the value this would create for themselves and their company. I’m going to elegantly manage all their objections and make this the begin of a long-lasting business relationship.”

Go into whatever level of specificity you think is adequate for yourself. If you’ve internalized all of these steps already, just mentioning the names is enough—if they’re not yet fully integrated into your muscle memory, then being more detailed about it can be helpful.

Sales success starts in your mind

You have to plant the seeds of success within yourself before you can reap its juicy fruits on the outside. Before you get on a sales call, mentally set yourself up for the outcome you want to achieve. Prime your mind to go in your desired direction, so you will go into the sales call with a higher level of clarity, energy and purpose.

Don’t take my word for it. Just try it for yourself. Before your next sales call, answer these questions to yourself. If it made no difference, I want you to send me an email, because I’ve never met anyone for whom this didn’t make a difference.

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