by: Bill Ringle
Have you ever had the experience of meeting with a prospect, thought things were going to lead to a project, then suddenly, the prospect won’t return your phone calls or e-mail? Ouch! Well let me tell you, it’s happened to us all at one point or another.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to make sure at an initial meeting to really reduce the chances of that happening; now, it hardly ever happens at all.
Let me give you three really effective things to do to minimize the chances of that happening in your business.
First of all, make sure you’re meeting with the right person. The right person, as I teach business owners at the Rainmaker Academy at myBusinessGym.com, is defined as the person who can say yes to a project and/or sign a check to begin work. For shorthand, we call that person the economic buyer. If you’re pursing someone for business who is not authorized to say yes or sign a check, you’re in the wrong place. It’s like shopping for a pair of shoes in the toy department – recognize where you are and move to where you really need to be.
Second, be sure to learn what the buyer wants to change in his/her organization. I’ve shadowed top business owners on sales calls and seen just about every mistake imaginable. To save you some time, here’s the biggest clue that let you know that you’re not going to find out what the prospect wants and will pay for: you are talking too much and listening too little! Maybe you’ve got to learn how to have a sales conversation with a coach or trainer because it’s not something that will evolve out of repeating the same bad habits.
Third, be sure to set and confirm expectations about the next steps before you leave the meeting. This is often a matter of summoning the courage to say something like, “You’ll have the proposal on your desk by Thursday and I’d like to touch base Friday for a 15 minute conversation to answer any questions you may have and discuss which option makes the most sense from your perspective. Let’s set up a mutually convenient time now, OK?” When I share this technique with clients, some will say, “Oh, my gosh, I could never say that.” And I reply, “Successful business owners say things like this to prospects all the time, and you will too if you want to keep more projects moving and reduce the number of times you get the run around.”
Good luck and good selling.
About the Author:
Entrepreneurs can find more resources to build their business at: www.mybusinessgym.com
Bill Ringle works with business leaders from high tech and professional service entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region and shares the strategies and tools for accelerating growth through my Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.