5 Guaranteed Ways to Secure Next Steps in Sales

Asking for the sale is a basic part of selling. It’s also the hardest part of selling for most new entrepreneurs and sales people. They attend a networking event, shake a lot of hands, exchange business cards but never walk away with an actionable item for themselves or their prospect to execute on.

Last week I was consulting one of my newest clients and he mentioned that he met a prospect for coffee and they had a great meeting. He told me they discussed several ways that he could help their company and improve their business. He smiled and said, “we both left that meeting feeling pretty good!”

So then I asked, “What’s next?”

He replied, “I’m not sure, that’s what I wanted to ask you.”

We began to talk about what should have happened at that meeting. I told him that he should never leave a meeting without asking for the sale. When I say asking for the sale, I’m not talking about asking for money. Although it could be that. I’m talking about selling the prospect on what you want them to do next and the asking them for it. Maybe you need to sell them on meeting with you again or introducing you to the CEO who’s actually the decision maker. Whatever you need them to do you have to ask them to do it!

Here are 5 guaranteed ways to securing “next steps” in sales:

1.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

You should always know what part of the sales process you’re in and what the next phase will be. Before you start an interaction with a prospect identify what the next steps should be and make it your goal to not leave until you’ve asked for those steps.

2.) BE PROACTIVE

Your prospect won’t close themselves, you have to do it! Instead of waiting until they mention the next steps or waiting until they are about to walk away to ask. Ask as soon as you get the opportunity. The popular phrase “Always be closing” comes to mind. DO IT!

3.) GET A DATE, TIME AND LOCATION

Listen, agreeing to “catch up soon” or “get coffee” is not a meeting! The amount of sales people and entrepreneurs I hear hanging on to a promise to “catch up” or “get coffee” is laughable. That’s not an appointment! When you are securing an appointment you need to get the date, the time and the location of your appointment!

4.) SEND A CALENDAR INVITE

I often joke with people and say “if it’s not on my calendar it doesn’t exist”. Although your prospects might not say that it’s true for them as well. The bottom line is that people are busy, expecting them to add YOUR meeting to their calendar is ridiculous!

5.) MAKE IT MEMORABLE

It’s likely that your prospects are being pitched and asked for things often. What makes you any different? You have to find a way to stand out and be memorable. Make your prospect want to see you again. You can do this by finding ways to add immediate value. Maybe you give your prospect a quick tip on how to overcome a problem he’s having. Or, maybe you offer to introduce her to someone who can help an issue she’s having. Or maybe you find out their favorite sports team and you send them a note in the mail with free tickets. Whatever you have to do to stand out and be memorable, do it!