I have been stuck here many times...especially during close week.
Picture this. You have spoken at times with a prospect during a given month. You have found some needs, identified some pain, you even asked some pertinent questions. You think you are pretty close to the sale.
Your boss asks you on Monday, June 23rd whether this deal is closing. You answer in the affirmative. "It's going to close," you exclaim. While the prospect never really told you that it is, you sure hope so.
The one question that you didn't ask is whether they are moving forward with the deal. While this is the most important question you may ask in the process, it is that hardest one to ask.
So sometimes, EVEN THE BEST SALESPERSON will sit on Hope Island, waiting for the contract. The Hope Island that I ave sat on isn't the sunny one pictured above, but a cold replica, full of despair, desperation and worry.
How to avoid Hope Island:
- When I was young and single, there was a desperation that I had that drove the women away. Desperation also drives prospects away. The best way out of this is to have many options. Fill your pipeline so that you don't have to rely on one deal to get you there.
- Ask the question! Throughout the process, always state your end goal and discuss what the prospect's end goal is as well. "So it looks like you are going to make your decision within 2 weeks. Do you thin that if you move forward that it would be a June decision?"
- Sometimes it doesn't feel right to come off as a salesman. I say, embrace it. Say something like "While I love showing my product to people, and I love discussing what my prospect's needs are, in the end I am a salesman, and my management judges me 12 times a year. Do you think this is something that we can wrap up this month?"
- Forecast your month accordingly. If you haven't spoken with a client, or haven't gotten them the requisite paperwork to sign by the 15th of a given month, should that be in your forecast? My boss always says, "Hope is not a strategy"