You’re about to walk out of your home, apartment or hotel room and get on the road. But your departure is abrupt: you’re not completely sure what you packed, whether some of your most vital items – passport, phone, the right shoes – are in hand. Grabbing armfuls of stuff as you leave, you’re left hoping that you’ve got everything you need, only to realize hours later what was left behind.
In sales we live out this scenario all the time. It happens in the closing moments of an important customer meeting or sales call. With time running out and the customer’s next meeting about to start, we start grabbing armfuls of stuff – but leaving behind what matters most: What’s the customer’s decision-making process? Who else will have to approve the program? What’s the path to success? How will it be funded? And what are the real odds of this deal happening?*
What we do take away is a disturbing question: What just happened?
Too many of us plan meticulously for much of the meeting, but fail to do any planning for how it will end. Too much time is spent early on exposition and data, and too little is left for the disciplined closing process that could actually lead to a sale. Another mad, disorganized packing job ensues. And the probability and next actions we post in our CRM are little more than educated guesses. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Make a List: Plan in advance for what you need to pack (* see above) before your meeting ends. Be even more disciplined about this list than you are about your own talking points.
Leave the Time. Save time early in the meeting so you can devote – wait for it – 25 percent of your meeting time to the closing process. There’s a lot to be done and it takes time. But it’s the only part of your sales call that actually advances the business.
Anticipate. The issues, delays, obfuscation and objections customers toss at us are not surprising. So why, then, are we so often surprised? A few minutes in advance of the call focused on What are they likely to say? allows you to…
Plan the Clarifying Questions. Have a small handful of simple but thoughtful questions ready to go… questions that will clarify and qualify the situation. Then listen closely to the answers. And don’t forget that sometimes all you need to say is Tell me more about that….
We’re exactly as good as what we anticipate and prepare for. No better, no worse. Planning for a well-paced, disciplined closing process means never again having to ask What just happened?
“What Just Happened?” is just one of 15 remote, interactive, two-hour “Scenario” workshops that we’ve developed for you and your sales team. Reach back for more information and we’ll be happy to recommend the right Scenarios for your organization.