At the conclusion of your first meeting (online or in-person) with a prospect, do you schedule a follow-up interaction… or do you wait and do it later? In my experience, it’s best to schedule the next session right then. Why? The fact that they set up the time to speak with you in the first place demonstrates that they clearly have an interest in your product or service and a desire to improve their situation with your help. If you wait, you give your prospect time to second-guess the urgency of your offering, you risk playing phone tag, and you may wind up losing the sale. Of course, if the first discussion resulted in a resounding “No,” you’re probably better off cutting your losses and focusing on a fresh prospect.
In the book “The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople,” Stephan Schiffman lists some common excuses salespeople make for not scheduling a follow-up meeting in person:
- “I can’t ask for the appointment; I don’t know when I’ll be back in the area.”
- “I can’t ask for the appointment; I don’t know how long it will take me to write the proposal.”
- “I can’t ask for the appointment; I don’t have a quote ready for the prospect yet.”
- “I can’t ask for the appointment; he may not want to give it to me.”
If you find yourself making any of these excuses, realize that doing so is costing you sales. Get yourself into the habit of scheduling your follow-up online or in-person meeting at your first interaction.