Do you set the stage for the next meeting before you end the sales call? For sales processes with long sales cycles and multiple calls to close, do you have a mutually agreed upon action plan at the end of each sales call?
Plan For The Long Run
Selling expensive, complex products are a particular challenge. Great salespeople always sketch out the sales process from first contact to close. Who are the key players? What are their individual needs? How do they affect the buying decision? At each step along the way to close great salespeople set the stage for the next meeting.
Selling Is A Process
From building rapport, to identifying the problem, to determining the budget, to finding the decision maker, to closing the sale, great sales people follow the process. At each step along the way great salespeople ask questions. Each answer leads to more questions in long sales cycle selling. Then the salesperson moves on when questions are answered. If there is more information needed, the great salesperson sets the agenda for the next meeting and concludes with a mutually agreed on action plan.
An Example To Set The Stage For The Next Meeting
In this sales success story, I sold high quality metal fabrications to the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. I had occasion to work with a project manager looking to improve a tablet coating operation. His challenge was limited capacity of the tablet coaters caused by the long time to manually empty them at the end of each batch . By modifying the tablet coaters to automate the unloading process, he would increase production capacity and reduce manpower. We established this during the first sales call. At the end of that call, I offered to develop a price to modify the tablet coaters and asked him to determine the cost benefit of increasing capacity and reducing manpower. Having our assignments, we agreed to meet again.
At the next meeting using the cost savings and the price to do the modifications, we determined the pay back was about one year. As we ended this second meeting I set the stage for the next meeting with his boss. The mutually agreed upon agenda for that meeting would be the project manager summarizing the problem, my solution and the benefit to the company. I would be there for back up. Fortunately the boss said he would approve the project. So the boss asked the project manager to write up the requisition for approval. At the end of this successful meeting we agreed that the project manager would keep me informed as the requisition made its way through the corporate approval process. Should he meet with an objection, I offered to work with him to overcome it. By setting the stage for the next meeting all along the process I won the contract and the project manager won the admiration of his boss.
What You Can Do Right Now
Do you set the stage for the next meeting? Think back to the last several sales calls you made. How did you end the call? Did you schedule the next meeting? Were you referred to others who would have a say in the purchase? Did you have a mutually agreed upon action plan for the customer and yourself? To insure success always make a checklist of what you want to accomplish on the sales call. Then, at the end of the meeting make sure you met your goals and prepare the plan for the next meeting.
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford