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What’s Our Next Step?

I recently saw a movie with my children called “Meet the Robinsons.”  In the movie, there was a character from the future who kept saying “Keep Moving Forward!” “Keep Moving Forward!”  Apparently, in the movie, the kid’s father was a great inventor who continuously, relentlessly spoke of looking ahead to what could be instead of focusing on what is.  The movie, and that character, made me think of some of the top salespeople that I have worked with over years and how they have a habit of relentlessly moving forward with an enthusiasm not shared by their peers.
In some of the training sessions that I do, one of the modules that we cover is CLOSING.  Although I am a big believer in the fact that the OPENING and DISCOVERY process drive your CLOSING strategy, it is imperative that the salesperson is the Captain of these efforts.  As such, the salesperson needs to call the plays and keep the other participants (prospects, influencers, decision makers, etc.) involved and engaged in the process.  I find one of the easiest ways that top salespeople continually get to the next step is that they clearly define what the next step is and then they relentlessly ask for it and expect to get it.
They understand that most steps in the sales cycle do not lead to the close of the SALE but can (and often do) lead to the close of SOMETHING—and they call the shot by asking a simple “moving forward question” such as “So, Mrs. Customer, what’s our next step?”  By getting into and keeping the habit of asking “So what’s our next step,” the salesperson keeps the prospective customer involved and engaged in the buying process.  They continue to gauge the prospective customer’s level of commitment by attaching a forward step to every stage (gate) that you pass through.
Strategically, the top sales professionals also have a habit of focusing on “What’s the next step?” in their day to day business.  They do not get bogged down in projects or analysis.  Instead top salespeople understand that ACTION begets ACTION.
In the effort of effectively PLANNING with THE END IN MIND, the top producers always focus on WHAT’S NEXT!