5 Tips For ‘The Next Step’ In The Sales Process

Have you ever tried to drive anywhere long distance without a map or GPS?

Probably.

Have you ever tried to do it blindfolded?

I would hope not.

Having a sales process eliminates this feeling in business and it’s proven that those who adopt a defined sales process are more effective than those that don’t.

However, having a defined sales process isn’t the end of it. (I wish it was!) There is still work to do and that comes in the form of being able to confirm the next steps you and/or the prospect will take on the path towards a final decision.

That path. Those steps. They can vary immensely depending on the nature of your work and the prospect. There is no unified solution, sorry.

What is generic is the way that you can confirm the next step(s) and how you go about ensuring they happen.

Before I go on I want to be honest with you. It is likely that you will have opportunities that stall. That just seemingly leave you scratching your head about what is happening, why it is happening and what could be done to re-ignite the process.

Just so you know, the number 1 reason for opportunities to stall is because of a change in circumstances. This is for either the person or the company they represent.

I once worked for a company that prospected Hi-Tech companies that services Communication Service Providers or large Enterprises.   There were many great things about working in this vertical but the biggest challenge was the dynamics of the industry. If, just for one year, companies would have stopped buying other companies things would have been even better than they were.

The point being, I remember on more than one occasion being several steps along the sales process, feeling extremely positive about a positive result for all and then, without any warning, all communications would stop. Always, several months later (after scratching my head repeatedly) I would learn that there was a change in circumstance. Someone would leave their role, someone would be hired, the company would have been bought etc. etc.

Do you think they were at liberty to tell me what was going on? More than often, no.

So, don’t get downhearted when opportunities do stall.

Do, take pleasure from knowing that if you have a sales process and apply the tips below, you will have done everything you can to maximize your results from all the other ‘normal’ opportunities.

Here are some tips for what the next step could be: (remember, sales is about guiding the prospect through the process)

  1. Send value – share something you created (video, podcast, report etc.) or is relevant to what you do. You will build credibility and trust as well as being able to confirm the next step of; ‘learning their thoughts’. This will illustrate to you the possible interest they will have in what you do. 
  2. Have a meeting – No matter where you are in the sales process if you have more unanswered questions about the likelihood of them buying AND their decision making process, have a meeting. Get on the same page.
  3. Talk with colleagues – It is foolish to think that there are not other people involved in discussions (even if you are selling to consumers). Agree that the next step will be either you or they will speak with someone else involved.
  4. Send questions – Again, you’ll have questions that you need answering to move things along. Agreeing to send questions can help keep the sales process interactive for the prospect(s).
  5. Request sign-up – If you have several options available to them send an email with links to appropriate pages of information, one for each option. If you can track the link and/or have a contact form they are illustrating what they want the next step to be.

Of course, these are coupled with the next steps that are standard to your sales process. These could include, for example, sending a proposal, proposal review, sending paperwork etc.

Remember, you can own the sales process and be in control. That is what will help to keep your prospect engaged. At the end of the day, they are being prospected by a number of people at once, so make sure you can keep front of mind and be a little different.

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Comments?

Tell us, what are some of the objections you mostly hear? How do you think these tips will help you?

 

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