Our previous post referenced a well-known quote in which Arthur “Red” Motley defined the selling process in fifteen words: “Know your customer, know your product, call a lot of people, ask all to buy.”
That post focused on the quote’s opening three words, “know your customer.” Today’s focus is on the ending… “Ask all to buy.”
Clearly this part of the definition is all about closing the sale; but there is more to it than just asking for the order. If we consider the various steps in today’s consultative selling models and extended business development processes, the “close” might be better described as a “call to action.”
Further, if one is to maximize effectiveness, then every prospecting call, selling appointment or business development interaction should include a call to action.
Since many of these conversations with customers and prospects are not “transactional” — i.e., they do not involve the execution of an order — the “call to action” frequently does not take the form of asking for an order but rather asking for a next step; some type of action step that keeps the overall process moving forward.
These next steps might include a follow-up meeting, an exchange of additional information, a time to present a proposal, a subsequent appointment or conference call involving higher-level managers, or a follow-up telephone call. Of course there will hopefully be instances when the next step will involve the completion of an order but, as a general rule, we typically suggest a next step based on the relative success of the interaction; in other words, we ask for whatever it is we believe we have earned the right to request during the sales call.
Fore-armed for Success!
To enhance the quality and execution of sales or business development calls, it’s best to anticipate the possible calls-to-action or next steps that we might request during upcoming calls, as pre-call planning is a best practice shared by the most successful sales professionals!
In addition, the ideal call to action will include a commitment of some kind or an agreement-to-act made by the buyer. For example, there is a big difference between ending a sales call by saying, “I will call you next Tuesday” versus “Can we schedule a follow-up cal for next Tuesday at 2 o’clock?” If the buyer agrees and schedules the follow-up call, then he or she has agreed to take action.
Read the full article… for a few guidelines you might consider when crafting your list of possible outcomes and when proposing them to your customers and prospects…
And also for a “top 10” list of the most common things a buyer is likely to think if we FAIL to ask for a next step or commitment! (HINT – none of them are good…)