Sales and Sales Management Blog

October 3, 2008

After the Initial Meeting with Your Prospect: Where Do You Go From Here?

Filed under: sales,Sales Process,selling — Paul McCord @ 6:17 am
Tags: , ,

As Carle was walking back to her car after her first meeting with Ann, the COO for a small manufacturing company, she was worrying about her next call to Ann.  The meeting seemed to have gone well-Ann seemed to be genuinely interested, there seemed to be real potential for a sale, but she didn’t feel that there was a definite direction to go from here. What should be her next move?  When should she get back with Ann?  What was she going to say?  What could she do to move the sale along?  What sale exactly?

Carle’s dilemma is one faced by thousands of salespeople everyday.   They work hard to find and connect with a prospect, have a really good initial meeting-and then don’t know where to go from there.

If you find that you also have meetings that seem to go well but when you walk out you’re not sure how to proceed, there is a simple three prong solution that should be incorporated into every one of your sales calls:

1.  Qualify your prospect.  Carle thinks there’s a sale for her with Ann-but she really doesn’t know what it is.  She didn’t qualify her prospect.  She should have taken the time to dig to further to find out if Ann’s company is a true prospect.  Do they really have a need, issue, or want Carle can help resolve?  If so, what is it specifically?  If she can solve the issue in a manner that makes sense, does Ann’s company have the resources and desire to implement the solution?  What are the implications for the company if they don’t resolve the issue?

2.  Identify a specific next step.  Identify the next logical step in the process.  Is it constructing a proposal?  Gathering more information?  Giving a demonstration?  Inviting Ann for a plant tour?  Unless you identify what needs to be done next, you’ll walk out wondering where you go from here, and more importantly, wondering how you’ll reconnect with Ann.

3.  Gain agreement on implementing the next step.  Knowing the next step isn’t good enough-your prospect has to understand and agree to what is to happen next.  You should never walk out of a meeting without both you and your prospect in agreement about when you will contact her next and why.

Your initial meeting should naturally flow into the next step of the process. Neither you nor your prospect should ever walk out of a meeting wondering where things will go from there.  Each step of the process should lead to an agreed upon next step until the sale is finalized, you determine you cannot solve the prospect’s issues, or  the prospect determines your solution is not right for them.

If you’re not doing so already, make sure you qualify your prospect; identify a real need, problem or want you can address; and then have your prospect agree on a logical next step and you’ll never again have to walk out of a meeting wondering where to go next or how you’ll reconnect with your prospect.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hello Paul, very interesting Blog Post. I just completed a Blog Post “Spin Selling – How to make the Larger Sale” for a seminar Move Ahead 1 is producing on December 4, 2008. http://www.moveahead1.com/events/neilrackham1242008_details.aspx
    Your advise seemed right on target to some of the research I did on Spin Sellling. I would love to have you comment on my post and curious if you agree with Neil Rackham in reference to closing and approaching large and small sales differently.
    You can view my post at http://blog.business-bits.com/?p=15
    Great job on your blog, I enjoy reading it.

    Jim

    Comment by Jim Farrell — October 7, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Reply


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