2 Clear Commits You Need Before Hanging Up
You’ve just hung up, the call went well, and the prospect is hot. What could possibly be wrong? You forgot to set up 2 crucial parts to keep the ball rolling. The momentum you’ve patiently built up is lost. And getting back to where you were is going to require much more effort than if you’d ended the call with 2 simple commits: an action item on your prospect’s part, and a date and time for your next meeting.
Why it’s important to strike while the iron is hot
To be successful, a sale needs to be kept alive. Whether it’s having a clear date for the next step or having a bit of homework for the prospect, these simple commits allow you to keep your customers engaged throughout the process. And eliminate customers that aren’t serious about buying right now.
Doing so at the end of the call allows you to prevent the prospect from settling into a passive state that will make them harder to sell to, while allowing you to pick up on prospects that may not be ready to buy just yet. Here’s how to get those commits from them before hanging up:
#1 Commit to an action item
First off, what is an action item? Simply put, an action item includes these 3 components: what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who needs to do it. The more precise you can be about each of these, the better:
What needs to be done
This could be something as simple as introducing you to the decision maker and as tedious as asking the prospect’s legal team to review the terms of service. It will vary depending on what your typical sales cycle looks like, and how far along the prospect is. Either way, your ask needs to be big enough that prospects that aren’t fully committed back out, and small enough that you can keep the ball rolling reasonably fast.
When it needs to be done
Setting a due date is vital to ensure that your ask doesn’t end up at the bottom of your prospects to-do list for weeks on end. It may coincide with your next meeting but it should ideally come sooner if the ask involves a different person or if it requires some amount of back and forth between you and the client.
Who needs to do it
Be specific. The task shouldn’t just land broadly on the prospect’s side, it needs to be attributed to a clear person involved in the buying process. It could be your champion, the decision-maker, or someone else entirely, but it should be made clear to that person that they are responsible for conducting the task before the due date. And they should commit to it explicitly.
#2 Set your next meeting
You’ve given your time to the prospect, and they should feel like they owe you one. You can cash in early on some of that goodwill by bringing up the question of the next step before the meeting is over. Ideally, you’d want to set a date and time, a list of participants, and an agenda for your next meeting right then and there.
The cherry on the cake: actually sending out the invitation. It could still change based on other participant’s availability, but the likelihood that the next meeting will actually take place just dramatically increased by making the date public and setting it in their calendars before hanging up.
#3 When to say no
Your prospect is interested in your product, but reluctant to commit to a next meeting or to a clear action item. Should you continue the process? The answer is probably no. As hard as it may be, the best thing for your sake might be to end the process. It’ll save you time, and allow you to focus on prospects that have shown higher intent.
Letting a prospect go is never easy, and doing it gracefully is even harder. Start by explaining that although it seems like your product could be a good fit for the prospect, the timing doesn’t seem right. Lastly, keep the door open by reminding them that you’re available to them should they want to pick up the conversation where you left off in the future.