|How To Know The Difference?|
You’ve had a very positive conversation with your client and exchanged with him many different ideas. The client thanks you for all the information you’ve shared with him and recognizes the solution you offer is aligned with his company’s needs, continues to make some questions about what your pricing offer might be, asks you to prepare a formal proposal and even gets to the point of checking possible delivery dates and stuff like that.
Obviously with a big smile on your face, the feeling of having done a good job and very confident you’ll be able to sing a new project, you go back to your office.
Based upon your past experience, you’re confident you’ve received from the client green light to move forward with this project, sit down at your office to put together your proposal according to all the indications you’d reviewed with your client, and when you’re finished, you’ll then send it by email, fax or the most convenient method of your choice.
When you try to get in touch with the client again to check on his thoughts about your proposal and for a date when you could expect to be receiving a confirmation from his side, you just get the deepest silence ever. You try again, trying to get an answer, and yet nothing. Only silence.
Never assume anything and always look for a specific answer from your prospect.
What could have gone wrong when everything appeared to be perfectly aligned so you could get the business? Obviously you're perplexed, speechless and confused. What had just happened?
What happened at that meeting which apparently ended up so good? Why you didn’t see this one coming? Why is your client not returning your messages now?
Perhaps it’s simply a matter of bad manners, rudeness. Maybe your client is just too busy, went on vacation and forgot to let you in advance, perhaps she was abruptly fired, or didn’t received approval from her superiors and is too embarrassed to tell you because she knows she has made you waste your valuable time. Perhaps it’s none of these.
Never assume anything neither be satisfied with “what you think it must have been”
Assuming things is usually dangerous when it comes to sales. When you assume you’ve got the business and have it in your pocket, you get overconfident, let your guard down and tend to relax in the efforts you make to properly follow up with your customer.
First of all, you should always be sure (but not in an "I-assume" way but by asking your prospects the corresponding questions), you have:
- Covered all your customer needs and answered all its questions.
- Your customer understands the value proposition you’ve offered and the impact this solution will have for its business.
- Make sure the people you are talking with have the power to make a decision…
- Or you're completely clear about the process to be followed to get such approval.
If you are absolutely sure (again without taking anything for granted, but being really sure) you’ve covered all of the above, what has then happened?
Get your client to participate and engage in the sale process as well.
At the end of each sales meeting, be sure to make (regardless of how good the meeting you think came out), a summary of all the agreements that were made, asking if there are any additional questions that must be resolved.
If everything is good, then you all need to make some commitments: You need to clearly establish what you will do next (put together a formal proposal, for instance) and what is your prospect supposed to do as well (review your proposal and give you a response within a certain period of time, for instance).
Never end up a sales presentation with commitments only made on your side and none on your customer’s.
Both you and your client should equally engage in the sales process, with the understanding it’s beneficial for both parties involved. If commitments are only made on your side and your client is not engaged in the process, you’re then starting to take for granted things you probably shouldn’t.
If your client is not willing to make commitments with you and your business in regards to the next steps needed to be take after the meeting and scheduling a follow-up meeting, it’s a clear sign that your proposal didn’t click on your customer’s head and its business is not yours yet.
The best way to make sure you're on track 100% is to confirm your prospect is determined to moving forward with you, and this can only be accomplished by having your client also committed and engaged with the whole sales process and not leaving all the work only on your side.
If your proposal is really interesting and solves your prospect’s problem, what problem would it have to make commitments with you?
Photo Credit: Sepy / Dollar Photo Club
I recommend you to read on this blog the following posts:
How Not To Become A Prisoner Of Hope.
Why Keep Them Waiting Forever To Get Your Response?