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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Those Next Steps

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A sales deal is rarely closed in the first interaction with a prospect and if you have a product that does then count yourself lucky. For the rest of us, we have a series of different steps we need to take before we are able to finally close the deal.

Whether you need to schedule a discovery call,  demo, or find out what it will take to finalize the sale all depends on whether or not you ask. Remember that you are selling to your prospect and not the other way around. There are plenty of other companies that your prospect can go to and 9 times out of 10 they will be going with whoever makes it the easiest on them.

Stop the back and forth

It’s very easy as a sales rep to fall into a ping pong of phone calls and emails between you and your prospect. Just checking in has become commonplace but as a sales rep you should already know where you stand without having to send an email or phone call hoping that your prospect will initiate the next steps. You need to take the lead and make sure every interaction you have with your prospect accomplishes an objective. If you are lucky enough to get a prospect engaged on the phone set up your next step before losing them.

What are you afraid of?

Don’t let the fear of being rejected by your prospect control your sales process. The worst thing that could happen is that they can say no; which you should see as an opportunity. If a prospect is going to tell you that they do not want to continue the sales pitch, sending over “checking in” emails is not going to change their mind. Knowing this saves you time and prevents you from becoming SPAM. The opportunity in this situation is that it allows you to ask your prospect why they do not want to continue. This is an added benefit because (1) you get a straight answer instead of the run around allowing you a chance to overcome their objections and (2) allows for you to gather intelligence on your sales process and product.

How to ask

Asking for those next steps begins with the call itself. Before asking for anything make sure that you are giving your prospect a reason to say yes. Because each sales call is about the prospect, it is important to make sure you are addressing how your product can help them. Whether you are giving them stats on how you are helping companies similar to theirs or if you are able to summarize their pain points with proven solutions, always add value. Here are some ways to move the process along:

    √  “What are the next steps?”
    √  “Are you interested in ____? What does your calendar look like?”
    √  “What do you need from me to move forward?”
    √  If you have a product that offers a free trial, sample, pilot use one of these lower risk programs to get your prospect moving

However you go forward keep in mind that your objective on every interaction should be to move the deal forward. Shorten the time spent on each sale and keep deals from going stagnant.

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