You made the original prospecting call, you got the appointment (F2F, telephone, online), and you delivered your pitch or product demo. Now what?
This is a critical stage in the sales process and it is vital that you know exactly what is going to happen next.
Unfortunately, many sales people do not get a firm commitment from their prospect with respect to the next steps. They hear, “Let me think about it” or “Let me run this past my boss” or “I’ll get back to you in a couple of days” and they think they are moving the sales process forward.
However, these brush-off statements indicate that the prospect has little or no intention of moving forward.
At this stage of the game, it is important to ask tough questions. Questions that make your prospect think about the decision making process. Questions that your competition is not asking. Questions that help you clearly understand what is needed to keep the ball rolling.
Here are a few questions to ask at this stage of the sales process.
- How do decisions of this nature typically get made?
- Who else needs to get involved? Or Who else do you normally consult with?
- How do we get everyone moving together on this initiative?
- Whose budget does this affect? When is your budgeting cycle?
- What are you currently doing?
- How did that program get implemented?
- Where do we go from here? Or What are the next steps?
A word of caution with this last question.
If your prospect says something like, “I need to check with…” work at getting a commitment to have a conversation with that other person. Otherwise, you run the risk of the sales process grinding to a halt and ending up with “no sale”.
Don’t end that conversation without knowing exactly what is going to happen next and what action you AND your prospect are required to take. Clear objectives with deadlines can make a world of difference.