How fast should you try to move the sale along? How aggressive should you be? How long should you wait before recontacting the prospect you met with? These are the questions that comprised a high percentage of the coaching calls I fielded from lawyers over the past 20-odd years.

Let's look at this from the buyer's perspective. More specifically, your own experience as a prospect for a significant purchase. How would you answer these questions about your own appetite for sales activity directed at you? How fast would you want the seller to move things along? How aggressive should she be? How soon after meeting with her would you welcome additional contact?

Most importantly, who would you want making these decisions?

The answer is obvious. As the buyer, you'd want to manage the pace of progress. You wouldn't want to be moved along according to the seller's urgency to make a sale. In fact, if the seller's pacing and yours were very different, you'd actively resist their pace, and might even abandon the purchase altogether.

I constantly emphasize the importance of earning the right to sell. It's a healthy brake on our natural urges to present prematurely, and, ironically, is the only way to assure control of the sale (not control of the buyer).  Here is the "earn-the-right" sequence:  

  1. Identify the business problem (with which we can help) of greatest concern to the Buyer. (We call this the Door-Opener. It opens conversational doors and drives demand for your expertise.)
  2. Probe to identify the Buyer's quantitative and qualitative assessments of the value of solving that problem (what we call The Cost of Doing Nothing).
  3. Announce that a solution exists (but not what it is).  Ask the Buyer if it would be useful to explore solution options.  If so, go into a "Let's see if what I have in mind makes sense" stance, and use that as the basis to begin your investigation of what the solution should look and feel like, and what it would take to get the business.

Using expressions like "Does it make sense to..." or "Would it be helpful if we..." as preamble to any suggested action communicates to the buyer that she's in charge, and will decide what steps she's comfortable taking next, if any. It's a simple matter to follow up with "When should we...?"

Presto. You're proceeding in the manner the buyer welcomes, at the pace the buyer welcomes. The important thing is that you're proceeding, not sitting around cogitating about what you should do next. The only source for that information is your buyer. Obtain it before you disconnect and you won't have to try to figure it out.

When you think about it, you're conducting yourself the same way you do after she becomes your client:

What could be simpler, or easier? 

Mike O'Horo