Next-actions move the proactive new business process forward. Without them, it’s like playing baseball without bases
How many of us recall exciting, engaging, thought-provoking meetings that end on a high-note, but when asked later what the results were, you can’t answer with anything concrete? Too many new business conversations and meetings end the same way.
I think the problem is tri-fold: a lack of discipline, a dislike of accountability, and a fear of rejection.
Lack of Discipline – We are not in the habit of defining the specific objective for every action item, including date and person responsible.
Dislike of Accountability – Identifying specific objectives, dates, and assigning responsibility for completion means someone is going to be held accountable for results.
Fear of Rejection – If your prospect does not accept your next action, you will feel shut-down.
As a result, what happens? We don’t identify next steps or ask for the next meeting, and therefore lose the reason to continue the conversation.
Instead, why not summarize the call or meeting, suggest the next action, date it should occur, and the people who need to be involved? By doing this, everyone will be on the same page and you won’t have to guess or assume what should happen next.
Here’s how to do it with each of your touch-points:
- Voice mails: State when you’ll call back, and then do as promised.
- Telephone calls: Summarize appropriate next steps, by whom, and when.
- Conference calls: Summarize the call, agreed upon next steps, by whom, and by what date.
- Meetings: Identify specific next steps, with whom, and put a date and time on the calendar.
If you follow these simple steps you should be able to track how definitive next-actions help you win more new business.