Despite Tiger’s fall from grace, he is still my poster child for ‘Follow Through’, something every sales person should embrace and practice. Lt’s be clear, am talking follow through, not follow up, (maybe some other week). What I am talking about is follow through to questions.
Some sales people prepare their questions in advance, some based on a process, some based experience, or doing their research. But few prepare follow up questions, and without those, you could end up being mislead or overlooking opportunities.
Let’s face it, just because someone gave you an appointment, at the start of that first meeting you are a stranger, you ask similar questions most of the sales people, chances are the prospect, underwhelmed by having to relive the experience once again, gives canned or knee jerk responses. This is where your Follow Through questions come in. They will help you get past the superficial nature of this ritual, they allow you to drill down, and get the conversation to a meaningful level, and get the prospect thinking. In the process you also clearly telegraph that you’ve come to play and have game.
Another reason you want to Follow Through on questions is to bring focus and quantify situations. How many time have you watched a sales person ask a question, one they are hoping to here an answer, and the prospect gives it to them, “sure we always do that.” What does “always” mean, what does “never” mean, what does “that too high” mean? Well different things to different people, so you need to Follow Through to make sense of it and know where you are, and help the prospect understand where he is. Ask them straight out “how do you arrive at that?”; “where do you want it to be?” these two Follow Throughs will force the prospect to real think through his answer. Is it really never, or I just had a bad time with it this morning, by quantifying it you can create one benchmark or baseline. Asking where they ideally like things to be, allows you to establish another benchmark, i.e. their goal. Most importantly you have now established a gap between where they are, be that profit, sales, volume, downtime, etc., and where they want or need to be. Working that gap, and the related costs or revenues, are your opportunity to drive the sales.
A little prep time and the patience to Follow Through will make you richer faster and with less bruises, that those who stay on the surface.
It works, but only if you do it!
What’s in Your Pipeline?