One key to maintaining control over your sales cycle and forecast credibility is to make sure that you and your prospects are in alignment and collaborating toward a joint and agreed upon outcome. Collaboration, as a rule, breaks down resistance through involvement and ownership and tends to insure the results will be more effective.
One of the keys to effective collaboration is involvement in the sales plan. The best sales people are those that are extremely skilled at uncovering, understanding, and when necessary accelerating the steps that the prospect needs to complete to become a client. In the ValueSelling Framework, this is called creating a mutual plan.
A mutual plan is a set of activities, a timeline, and a sales tool all wrapped into written correspondence between the sales person and the prospect. It is not only a list of next steps, but should include the next steps that both the buyer and seller need to complete to formalize a business relationship.
A good plan can differentiate you from your competition and put you back in charge of the sales cycle. Many sales people don’t take the time to complete this critical step in the sales process; they may send follow up notes and emails about next steps, yet the focus is on the sales person’s need to get an executed contract. The focus of the ValueSelling plan is on your prospect, their needs, and the resolution of their issues and problems.
Engage your client today in creating a joint plan. Focus on the result, securing your order is a means to an end for your prospect, not the end itself. Put the plan in writing and then adjust your forecast accordingly.
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