I recently saw the moving quest of father John Kerr who’s son Paul was killed in 1992 by a drink-drive criminal, seeking to get the hard-hitting graphic adverts on mainland television that in Northern Ireland have apparently saved 15,000 lives.
He was off to see the Minister, confident he had a ‘pretty strong case’. As he finished being interviewed, he stated,
the last thing I’ll say to him is ‘where do we go from here’?
Now, as a “close” this opens an interesting debate. The ‘what shall we do next?’ close is considered a standard as used by newbie reps. It is dismissed by elder pros as ineffective and lacking panache.
Yet this kind of approach is gaining traction today because it is thought not to put ‘pressure’ on a buyer, and by default is supposedly more consultative and ‘genuine’, less pushy and ‘traditional’.
Whilst I agree that it’s a fairly lame close, I certainly don’t suggest ditching the concept of trying to sit on the same side of the table as your prospect.
The problem with it though, is the typical response it generates. If you think this is along the lines “can I borrow your pen, where do I sign?” try again.
Unfortunately, it’s commonplace that you cede deal control with this close. You all too frequently see your ambitions kicked into the long grass. “Let us go away, think about it, and get back to you.”
The worse thing you can do upon hearing this is to accept it.
The issue with letting buyers dictate what happens next is, they rarely (indeed, never) suggest your ideal way ahead or ask for your advice on shaping activities.
Instead you get either the blind alley already outlined, or the awkwardness of your prospect feeling a touch of pressure because they secretly don’t have a clue how they’d proceed, something you were possibly keen to avoid in the first place.
To be most effective, you need to tweak this approach. Offering options can disarm and charm. You should know the types of activity that can lead to success along your best-practice sales process. So why not tee these up?
Saying that most people you’ve met have chosen to commit to one of a pair of actions after such a meeting, ‘but where would you like to go from here?’ can reduce the chances of oblivion and still give the feeling of prospect self-determination.