Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Move the Peanut Forward: Next Steps

Sales is like navigating a busy city. There are green lights, yellow lights, stop signs, detours, big hills, pot holes and wide open stretches where you can pick up speed. I have had a picture circa 1950's in my office for years of California Street in San Francisco. It reminds me that some people are climbing the hill and that some people are coasting down. For what ever reason, it reminds me of the struggles and highs of sales.

In every Sales Cycle, the question is "What is the next step?". Every call or meeting should have that in mind. The question is how do you move the peanut forward?

The answer is in the questions you ask. I often laugh when people say that others would be good in sales because they like to talk a lot. Of course we all know that this is very untrue. The best sales people are the ones who listen but more importantly, who can ask questions without is sounding like an interrogation.

Think of your prospects like you were in their shoes. What do you want? To be educated? To look good in front of your boss? To make good decision? To surround yourself with people you trust and who like you? Do you like to be told things are have people ask you your opinion? Boil it down to basic human nature and then build your questions within a selling arena.

What have you done to educate your prospect today?

Have you helped them uncover business pains and explored ways to solve them?

What happens if they make this decision? What happens if they don't move forward?

Who does their decision impact and in what ways?

Are their any key power users that you could engage to test the service/product?

What are the top 3 things they like about their current service/product? What would they like to change?

Has budget been put aside for the product or service? Could that funding be taken away or reallocated?

If you offer a cost savings, how would those funds likely be redeployed?

By exploring these topics, you help the prospect articulate cause and effect. By understanding cause and effect, it opens the door to the next conversation and hopefully through to negotiation and a close.

Happy Selling!

Susan Corcoran

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