When reviewing opportunities in your pipeline are you finding the Prospects who were willing to take your call are now unavailable?
You’ve worked hard to navigate your way to them and sent them the info as agreed, the quote, the proposal. Now it’s gone a bit quiet.
It could be you need to focus on outcomes. Outcomes are the action attached to whatever you and your Prospect have been talking about. They are a two-way process. You do something for them and they should do something for you. Unfortunately without the reciprocation bit you have lost control of the process.
You sent a proposal within the deadline which was the outcome that you delivered as promised. But you didn’t agree an outcome from your Prospect. What it should look like is this:
You: “OK as promised I’ll send you the proposal by close of business on Thursday… When will you have a chance to review it?” (When the Prospect will review it is THEIR outcome, their action back to you as a consequence of your provision of the proposal.)
Here’s a quote example:
“OK I’ll prepare the quote as discussed, what exactly do you need to see on it?”
(The Prospect tells you the info they need and you are pleased that it’s easier than you thought.)
Now you need to receive an outcome/ action back from the Prospect, this is how you ask for it:
“Based on me providing you with that information contained in the quote. When will you be arranging the first order?”
This now tells you everything you need to know about how likely they are to go ahead. OR it will trigger an objection or give you some inside knowledge into the timescales involved in the project.
“Well the amounts we’ve discussed are within budget so I would expect we’ll place the first order by the end of the month…”
“Well I need to review a couple of other quotes too…” (You can probe accordingly to understand how favourably you stand in the process. And what you need to do to be preferred.)
“Well I’m going on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks…”
This last example tells you lots; are they likely to reach a decision before or while they are away? Maybe you are better off sending the quote/ proposal when they return. (Ask them when!)
Imagine all the unproductive follow up action you’d have taken with the last example if you hadn’t found that out!
By focussing on outcomes you will have a more informed understanding of the Prospect’s buying process and agenda. You’ll also be better able to identify those that are serious and those that are not, so you can manage their expectations and yours more effectively. Result: more realistic opportunities in your pipeline with tangible time frames!
Before every interaction pretend you are coaching yourself after the call and ask yourself the question: “what was the outcome there?” You’ll be far more likely to remember to attach it! Just like the most unproductive meetings are those that have no or fewer actions agreed it’s the same for sales interactions!
I hope you find this useful when managing your opportunities.