How many meetings with customers have you left where there was no agreement on the next call or meeting date? How often after meetings are you saying “I wish I had asked for (A DESIRED NEXT STEP)?” I know I have done this my share of times. How to ensure it becomes part of your approach and contributes to your success…
First…be sure to understand your customer
Take time to understand the steps, key contacts and decision criteria for your customer’s evaluation and/or decision process. This provides CRITICAL insight into how you can stay engaged in their process vs. “getting the Heisman”…so you have a “next step”.
Look at how are you defining “next step”
We are naturally focused on closing deals. You likely have discovered that closing a deal is not always realistic as the next step. So, some key questions:
- When in the customer’s process could you reconnect with them and provide some help?
- How can you help your customer prepare for internal meetings?
Let’s say you have defined one of the following as next steps by your customer…sample questions to ask to get commitment to a next step.
PLAN to ask for commitment to a next step
This is obvious, however, I can tell you from experience if I do not walk into a meeting with a couple ideas for potential next steps, my chances go down fast. Here is the key…write the ideas down and be sure you can see these notes at all times during the meeting. If others from your company are participating, be sure they are aware of your ideas before the meeting.
Stay focused, be patient
Sometimes the road to getting a customer to move ahead with your solution does not go the way you want it to. Redefining (maybe multiple times) next steps is often required. Patience and planning will carry you a long way toward your goal!
Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!
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