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PICTURE THIS: You deliver a great sales pitch. Your prospect gives you strong buying signals. As the meeting ends, your prospect says that he is likely to move forward and will call in a couple days to finalize things. Swoosh! Nothing but net! You leave on top of the world — but then days pass without a call. A week later, you are calling your prospect and not getting a response. Weeks of phone tag and rescheduled meetings leave you feeling frustrated. If you’ve ever worked in sales, I’m sure you’ve felt this pain. What happened? You lost the sale by not controlling the next steps. Before you wrap up a meeting, make sure that you have a commitment on the next step in the process. For example, if you’re wrapping up a prospect meeting and the sale hasn’t closed, ask your prospect to pull out his calendar to schedule your next meeting date, then agree upon what you will accomplish in that meeting. If your prospect doesn’t have his calendar, offer to walk with him back to his office to grab it, or stop by his assistant’s desk to book it. At a very minimum, agree on when to call the next day to set the appointment. If you leave with only a vague agreement to meet again, you haven’t moved forward. The second part of this essential sales skill is keeping the ball in your court. The less time there is between your prospect’s post-pitch enthusiasm and making the buying decision, the more likely you are to close. For example, let’s say you are selling accounting services; you just pitched the CFO only to learn that the CEO is the real decision-maker, so the impressed CFO wraps up by saying he’ll discuss it with the CEO and get back with you. What just happened? You lost control. The ball is not in your court. The last thing you want is someone else making your pitch for you, since that person can’t deliver it as strongly or overcome objections like you can. Instead, stay in the driver’s seat. Once the CFO agreed that he was interested in moving forward, you should offer to set up a meeting with him and the CEO to deliver your pitch. You might say, “Since we both have our calendars handy, why don’t we call the CEO’s assistant to set up that meeting? I’m free the 18th or 20th. Which day works best for you?” This assumptive closing technique takes the focus off the big question, which is, “Can we call your CEO?” Instead, the focus turns toward asking, “Which day works for you?” Remember, you’re a seller — not a beggar. Don’t beg for that next meeting or rely on others to land the meeting for you. Instead, keep control of the ball so you can advance more quickly down the court.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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