Idea of the Week: Take control of the selling/buying process

with Neil Godin

Just got off the phone with a new sales and marketing coaching client. “So frustrating,” he groaned. “So frustrating.” (Long pause). And then he went on to tell me a sad, sad story that I have heard so many times before.

Has what happened to him ever happened to you?

Have you ever had a prospective customer call you, full of enthusiasm about the possibility of working with you. Then had a great meeting with them – where everything just clicked. And then spent hours preparing a proposal and quote (certain that the sale is yours). Then called to follow up – and – never got a call back?  Sure you have. And so have I. But it absolutely doesn’t have to happen.

“I’ve been stood up,” my client moaned. “Look at the time I wasted.” My (gentle) response: “It never, ever has to happen again – if you are prepared to stop blaming the prospect – and instead take responsibility for controlling the sales process.” “How do you do that?” he asked. Here are several tips I shared with him:

  • Never leave one call or meeting without setting up the next – so your follow up call is a telephone (or personal) appointment. Otherwise your “follow up” call is just an unsolicited, unplanned interruption in your prospect’s day. And your call will likely be perceived as a call from somebody who is “anxious to make a sale” – which could sour the whole deal right there.
  • Never do the numbers on your own. Too often, tragically, estimates and quotes are done in isolation. Don’t do that. Instead show (or tell) your prospect about work done for others (for example) to help both of you get a handle on what will be right for them. And, as you show (or tell) about different examples, say roughly what each one cost. Now, if there is sticker shock, you know about it. Now, if the prospect has to modify the work in order to stay on budget – or expand the budget in order to get what they really want and need – you are doing it “with them,” instead of on your own.
  • Never send proposals or quotes electronically. “Never” isn’t the right word, of course. For example, if you’re working at a distance, you need to set up a telephone appointment with the client to review the proposal, and you would email it to them a few minutes (hours?) ahead of time, as appropriate.

Your call to action:

I’m certain that well over 50% of “certain” sales are lost to fully qualified prospects – because we don’t set up “next appointments” at the end of a sales call or meeting – and because we do the numbers on our own – and because we send quotes electronically – where often as not they disappear into what I call “the black hole” in selling. This is a tragedy because the fully qualified prospect is still in “buying mode,” but ends up buying elsewhere – using your information – and your quote – to get a better price. Ouch!

If you could use more tips and tricks on taking control, your call to action this week is to email me at and request a free copy of a report I’ve written on this topic. Go ahead. Do it now.

I’ll be back with our Social Media Challenge on Thursday. And I’ll see you again next Tuesday.


Ps – Back by popular demand:  “Online Marketing – 2012.”  If you’re located in the Vancouver/Fraser Valley area, plan now to join us at our full-day workshop on May 9, titled, “Online Marketing – 2012.” If you’re looking for ways to turn your website, your email marketing, and even your social media activity into a “marketing machine” that actually produces sales, then this workshop is designed for you. Full details at: By the way, as a Marketing Dangerously member, you are considered one of our clients – and that means – that you qualify for a very special client discount fee – on all of our workshops and seminars. Your discount on this workshop is $100 off the regular registration fee, but you must call to register, and please mention that you are an MD member. (Call 604.888.4570 locally, or out town call toll free: 1.800.563.IDEA (4332).

Pps – Jonathan hosts “Social Media 201.”  Want to dive deep into how to “really” use social media to build your business?  My Marketing Dangerously Social Media Challenge co-host, Jonathon Christian, is presenting “Social Media 201,” a new workshop on making your Social Media activity make you money! Note the date: May 17, 2012. For details email:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind