How did your last contact with a big prospect end? If you didn’t get a commitment from them to talk again, at a specific time, you may have a problem. Your sales process may stall out. Anthony Iannarino says too many sales reps believe elapsed time is the cause of failed deals. Elapsed time is a symptom. In truth, the problem is your lack of action. Here’s what you need to do to keep the deal alive.
Sales is not a one-way process. As you’re talking to prospects, listen for the sound of their commitment. Maybe your prospect is in the market to purchase an expensive piece of home exercise equipment. After you’ve made your pitch, the prospect might say they need to check with their spouse before they decide what to do. This is a clue that the prospect might not be the sole decision-maker.
Don’t let them end the current call with you on that note. Take control and suggest the next step to your prospect. Explain that you’d like a chance to review the benefits of the equipment you’re offering to your prospect and their spouse. And then offer a specific date and time. When you have that level of commitment from them, the deal is more likely to stay on track.
Deals can also stall out if your prospect operates on a nonlinear basis. During your training, you may have learned to lead every prospect through the sales funnel in a step by step process. Not every prospect will fit neatly into that pattern.
When you encounter an outlier, you’ll need to adjust your process to stay on track. Iannarino cautions that you need more from your prospect. For example, “You may need to obtain the commitment to provide you with the data you need to assess your client’s current state.” In our exercise equipment example, your client may need to measure the space in their house to be sure the rowing machine or treadmill will fit. Offer them helpful tips about how to measure the space and to think creatively about where to place the equipment. And, tell them when you plan to call to follow up.
The bottom line is that deals stall when sales professionals lose control of the schedule with a prospect. Remind yourself to end every call by securing a commitment and specific time to continue the process with your prospect. And keep up the pressure until you make the sale.