Setting Expectations to Accelerate Sales
Is your sales team spinning its wheels in an ineffective flurry of empty activity trying to follow up with prospects? If so, take a closer look to see how your team is setting expectations and confirming commitments with those prospects.
In many cases, poorly set expectations and lack of confirmed commitments are two of the primary culprits. One common example is when next steps are left vague or open ended such as when a sales person says, “I’ll follow up with you some time next week.” Because of the vague nature of the time element associated with this next step and the lack of a commitment on the part of the prospect, the sales person invariably burns valuable time making multiple unsuccessful follow up call attempts trying to move the opportunity forward.
When is the best time for sales people to set expectations with prospects? Since it is the sales person’s responsibility to lead their prospect through the sales process, expectations should be set at every stage of the sales cycle.
Setting expectations is valuable to both the prospect and the sales person. For the prospect, it helps them to understand what to expect next and encourages them to be prepared for and committed to it. For the sales person, it serves as validation of the prospect’s interest and intent that translates to a faster and more effective sales cycle with reduced frustration and wasted time.
Here are just three examples where expectation setting can be effectively used:
1) Setting The Stage For A Call Or Meeting
Setting the stage for a call or meeting, is critical to ensuring that the sales person’s expectations are correctly aligned with the expectations of their prospect. As the sales person sets up a follow up meeting and then later as they kick off that meeting, it is important to agree on the agenda for the meeting and the expected ‘take-aways” for both parties.
2) Proposal Follow Up
When a commitment for a proposal is made, it should always be linked with commitment by the prospect for a follow up date and time to review the proposed solution to:
– Validate that the proposed solution addresses the prospects challenge and is in line with the prospects expectations (test close)
– Uncover and address any objections
– Determine next steps
3) Confirming Commitments & Next Steps
Setting expectations with your prospect is essential when it comes to gaining agreement regarding the next steps. This should include:
– What is the specific action or next step to be taken?
– Who owns those actions?
– When are they committed to completing those actions?
Setting expectations during every stage of the sales process is a means to increase the probability of a sale and shorten the sales cycle. It is incumbent on the sales leader to model this skill for their team and then hold the team accountable for effectively setting expectations and confirming commitments with their prospects.
For more information, please contact Compendium Advisors
at Dave@CompendiumAdvisors.com or 925-984-5381
“Helping Companies Accelerate Revenue By
Aligning Sales Execution With Strategy”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Dotzler is a consultant, coach and speaker on the topic of sales and revenue acceleration.
With over three decades of experience, Dave has build, led and enabled sales organizations responsible for delivering over $2.2 Billion for industry leading companies. He holds a Masters Degree in Business and serves on the Board Of Directors of the Tri-Valley Consultants Forum.
Dave works with high-growth companies to help them overcome sales pain and achieve sales gain to accelerate sales and revenue success.