We conclude our series on client referrals and how to approach the prospect meeting with a structured and confident approach. We left with the last blog looking at the presentation and how to handle objections. There was one concluding part of the objection handling process that was left until this blog called ASK close, which is part of the closing stage which we will explore more fully now.
If we go back to the objection handling process, we followed the ACEP (acknowledge, clarify explore and propose) process to help handle the objection. Once you have achieved this then the next stage is the close and if you have had to overcome objections then ASK close is the next logical stage. This is Acknowledge the original objection, present the Solution, clarify the Key points and Close.
The purpose of the Acknowledge stage is to home in on your solution to their need so that no avenue remains unexplored in the objection. Your purpose is then to re-iterate the original objection as you have spent time on the ACEP framework it is important to bring the objection into perspective and present the solution effectively.
As you present the Solution then the prospect will get a better understanding of how you can help as you have explored any reservations they have. Then it is important to summarise the solution through Key points and the best approach to this is to spell out your FABs (features, advantages and benefits). That is the features of your solution and the advantages and benefits and an example would be 'we would create a quarterly report with the advantage that you can see the progress of our work with you and therefore the benefit being that we can monitor changes in your circumstances and plan ahead.'
After you have completed this stage the opportunity to close should be greater and therefore you will be able to close and ask for the business. Closing can be a step that is ignored because it entails overtly asking for the business and many of us may not feel comfortable with that. If you have made a huge effort to detail your solution and it fits appropriately then surely you have swayed the client totally in your favour?
This can be done quite effectively by simply stating that you will do the necessary work to changeover the accountant and confirm in writing a summary of the meeting with action points (with virtually no actions for the client) and details of the timescales. Remember it is a referral and that means you were recommended and have done the hard work convincing them to go with you.
If you have avoided the objections and the client feels happy with your presentation then the close will be the same principle and do not waste time beating around the bush and go to summarise your follow up actions.
It is then vitally important to follow through with your post meeting actions and use the appropriate communication channels in a timely manner. This is the process that will complete the professional approach to getting your prospect on board and convince them of your commitment and actions.
Hopefully you would have got something from these blogs and would be interested in any thoughts or experiences you may have had that we could explore in future blogs.
If you have missed any blogs from the series please follow the links: Original article Step 1 Steps 2 & 3 Steps 4&5
Contributed by Norman Allison and Raj Rajput.