Next Steps: How to Get Hired Faster

June 15, 2024

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

When I ran my architecture design studio, I never knew when or if a prospective client was going to hire me.

I’d meet with them, stumble through an inconsistent discovery meeting, and fail to get the information I needed.

Then, I’d email a proposal and cross my fingers, hoping for good news in my inbox.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t get good news very often.

It wasn’t until later, after formal sales training, that I realized many of my missteps.

What was the most obvious mistake I made time and again? I continually failed to set next steps.

As a result, I never knew when or if someone would hire me. I couldn’t forecast my revenue or plan for the future allocation of my resources. I was basically in a constant state of reactivity.

Sound familiar? Today, I want to show you how to avoid this with a simple rule and process for setting next steps so that you can build a reliable sales cycle that helps you get hired faster.

What are next steps?

Next steps are exactly what they sound like: the immediate actions your prospective clients should take to continue moving toward hiring you.

They’re a crucial part of your sales process that ensures both you and your client know what comes next.

Why are next steps important for architects?

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The most important game is the next one.”

The same principle applies to your sales process.

Next steps should happen at the end of every call or meeting.

You put a lot of work into those meetings to do discovery, qualification, and build rapport. Setting next steps helps to:

  • move the deal forward

  • increase your win rate

  • shorten your sales cycle

  • improve your ability to plan and forecast

(Side note: I’m not a Green Bay Packers fan, but Lombardi’s concepts are SO GOOD. He also said, "Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” and, "The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” 🙌)

How to implement next steps

Adopt a new rule in your sales cycle:

Never end a meeting without scheduling the next meeting.

No matter what it is. Whether it’s a cold call leading to a discovery call, a discovery call leading to a proposal presentation, or a proposal acceptance leading to onboarding—ALWAYS SET THE NEXT MEETING.

Here’s how to do it well:

01 // Wrap-up question

Start by wrapping up your current meeting. Use questions like:

  • “I know we’ve covered a lot today. Is there anything else you think we should know?”

  • “Before we wrap up, is there anything important we haven’t discussed?”

  • “We’ve gone through a lot of information. Is there anything you’d like to add or clarify?”

This transition gives your prospect a chance to mention any additional concerns or points.

02 // Schedule the next meeting

Identify the primary challenges or points discussed and use those to frame the value of the next meeting. For example:

  • “Sounds like your primary challenge is [x]. Let’s set some time aside later this week to walk you through how we’ve resolved that for others and how we can do the same for you. Does [day] at [time] work well for you?”

  • “I’d love to dive deeper into [specific issue]. How about we schedule a follow-up meeting on [day] at [time] to discuss how we can solve that for you?”

  • “We can definitely help you with [specific issue]. Does [day] at [time] work well for you to walk you through our process and how we can get you started?”

03 // Describe the path forward

Once the next meeting is set, explain what will happen at that meeting. For example:

  • “Great! At that meeting, we’ll cover our process, timeline, and proposal. After that, we can get our team started on this as early as next week. Does that sound good?”

  • “In our next meeting, we’ll review our plan in detail and outline the timeline. If all looks good, we can begin the project shortly after. How does that sound?”

  • “During our follow-up, we’ll discuss the next steps in detail, including our approach and the timeline. If everything aligns, we can kick off the project at the beginning of August. Does that work for you?”

04 // Apply to other areas

As I mentioned before, this applies to more than just a discovery meeting. Don’t forget about booked meetings, cold calls, and even onboarding. The more people know about what to expect, the more comfortable and prepared they will be. For example:

  • When someone books a meeting via your website: “Thank you for scheduling a meeting. During our session, we’ll discuss your needs in detail and outline our approach. After the meeting, we’ll provide a summary and discuss next steps.”

  • For cold calls: “Thanks for agreeing to a meeting. I’ll send a calendar invite for [day] at [time]. We’ll go over your main concerns and how we can address them. Looking forward to it!”

  • When onboarding a new client: “After today’s meeting, we’ll send over the onboarding materials and schedule a kick-off call. This will outline everything we need to get started and ensure we’re aligned on all fronts.”

TL;DR

Setting next steps is a simple yet powerful tool in your sales arsenal. It helps you stay organized, keeps your clients engaged, and get hired faster.

To set next steps effectively:

  1. Use a wrap-up question to transition the conversation.

  2. Schedule the next meeting using what you’ve learned.

  3. Describe what will happen in the next meeting.

  4. Apply this concept to other areas of your pipeline.

And remember your new rule: never end a meeting without setting the next one. 🙂

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