One idea that can help new and veteran sellers alike is the idea to always set a next action:
- when leaving a voice mail message
- when sending an email message
- when talking directly to a prospect
- when talking to a strategic referral partner
- when talking to a vendor
- when planning your work day / week / month
Think of it like a Domino effect - which is when something you do causes a series of events to happen one after another. When it comes to business conversations how you set things up will help you move forward and close business in the future.
Real Life Example:
I received a call when I was at a conference last week. The professional was in a panic. She has a huge sales opportunity with someone who asked her for a contract - not a proposal. This is someone she spent two detailed conversations with and presented information back so that they could do business. He is not talking to anyone else. But the prospective client did not call back when he SAID he would - has that ever happened to you?
My advice to her was to reach out to her prospective client and let him know that she's planning the next eight weeks (easy to discuss with summer in our midst) - and from a planning perspective she is looking to get input from him about their pending project. It is a non-confrontational way to get the buyer to talk and interact and let you know if he has concerns or has been busy or just forgot.
Her big mistake is that she DID NOT SET A NEXT ACTION. Here's how it would go -
Prospect says, "This looks great. I'll give you a call by Wednesday. "
YOU SAY, "Great, and if for any reason I don't hear back from you or we don't connect, I'll call you on Thursday - does that work for you? "
By adding in this ONE statement, you now have permission to call back. You won't need to wonder, "should I call today, tomorrow, or next week?"
Both parties know what to expect. This is what professionals in business do. Regardless of who is working to sell what, you must communicate with business professionals in a manner that you keep the conversation moving forward.
Sales is about give and take. It is not pushy, but rather a scenario where both parties support each other and if they do that, the chances are that it will be a good relationship. So if I agree to wait to hear from you by a certain time, it's OK for me to ask you what to do if I don't hear from you. We set a next action.
By setting next actions in your sales career, you will see how helpful it is for all of your relationships - in and outside of the sales position.
Read these for more help on this subject:
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the "Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.