During the discovery phase, E&C Sellers typically have multiple meetings to qualify a prospect and determine if a win-win relationship can be cultivated. We spend a lot of time discussing how to prepare for these meetings, and how to ask questions that will yield sufficient information for good decision-making. But what about after the call?
The post-call follow up is another step that top-performing Sellers work hard to perfect. They know that Buyers are skeptical. They don’t believe we understand their business, and they don’t think we listen very well. It’s up to the Seller to overcome this mindset during post-call follow up.
Imagine a cyclical process: recap, reframe, repeat. Disciplined Sellers follow this process during discovery and beyond because it works. It puts the focus on the Buyer and leads them to a conclusion that this company really understands what we are doing and hears what we say. Let’s look at each step.
Most Sellers I know send a follow-up email expressing thanks and recapping what their company can do. Often a brochure or document is attached. In a Recap email, it is most important to summarize what you heard from the Buyer. What did they say about their company? What’s important to their business? What positive business outcomes are they seeking? How do they define success?
Ask the Buyer to confirm that your understanding is correct. This provides an opportunity for further engagement and feedback. It also will help you assess their interest. Be assured that interested Buyers will take the opportunity to correct and clarify your information. This is a strong signal that the relationship can advance.
Now that you have uncovered their desired business outcomes, needs, and how success is measured, you can start to build the case for the value you can deliver. It may take several meetings or calls, but you can begin to align your offering with their business outcomes and differentiate your solutions from the competitors.
Any gaps in the information can now be filled. This may be the time to share some marketing content, case study, or proof that will help further the discussion. Anecdotal evidence or proofs help lower the Buyer’s perceived risk of doing business with you. The goal is to gain trust and confidence in you, your company, and its solutions.
They have defined success – what good looks like. You can now demonstrate common ground, shared beliefs, and approaches. For example, “you said this is how your company defines a successful project. Let mw share a little about how we do that at our company.” You can compare and contrast, share relevant insights with them, share what you’re hearing from other customers, and remind them of the next steps that you agreed upon. Don’t overcomplicate it.
Throughout this process, you are also assessing your progress on qualifying the prospect/opportunity. What information has been validated and what information do we still need? Repeat the qualified information in your follow up and let the gaps guide both you and the customer to success.
Identify the gaps and seek to fill them. Have you introduced key members of your team? Who else on the client side should you get to know and when? You are looking to discover and uncover positive business outcomes.
Are you leveraging all available resources, your managers, your technical resources, your post sales resources, and other customers as well. Client references, awards, and industry recognition help fill in the gaps and promote confidence in the Buyer. If you have had success with similar projects and companies, the Buyer is more assured of having a positive outcome.
Words matter. Top-performing Sellers know they must find a common language that all parties speak fluently. Define your value in terms that the Buyer understands. Demonstrate your interest through great questions and active listening. Prove that you heard them, understand, and empathize with them. Acknowledge their unique experience, then help then make the connection by providing specific examples or stories of success by their definition.
Successful selling is all about process and discipline. Master the fundamentals of the post call process and you will be able to spend more time with qualified Buyers who recognize the value you deliver.