Follow-up in today’s world can be a waste of time and energy or it can guarantee a closed sale. Sound like a paradox? Read on.
I can tell you that on some occasions when I followed up the sales process – prospecting, presentation, overcome sales objections and ask for the business – I have closed the sale. I can also tell you that when I have done everything right during the sales process and followed up – no sale. Why the difference?
- Is it the quality of the prospect?
- Is the timing for the prospect not right?
- Is it the timing or quality of your follow-up?
- Is it just pure luck?
- Is it the competition?
- Is it in the stars?
There are dozens of questions that we could ask ourselves in hindsight. Some might shed some light on why sales were not closed and others might just be our justification or excuses. Effective follow-up can make the difference. It can help move a sale toward the close and follow-up does improve your professional image. But it must be timely and of value to the prospect not just a simple – thanks for your time.
Here are a few things to consider when following up on a prospect.
1. The sooner the better. The retention of information after 24 hours decreases very rapidly. After a few days – forget it. Wait a week and you might as well have not started with this prospect in the first place.
2. Follow-up should be personal. A hand written note along with any other documents gives what you do a personal touch.
3. Follow-up should be benefit-oriented. Your follow-up should state, summarize or mention a benefit to the prospect and not just list a feature or capability.
4. Follow-up should be in writing. Calls and emails are nice as a follow-up but putting something in the mail sends a message that your prospect is worth more of your time than a quick email.
5. Follow-up should ask an important elevator question. Tying a key benefit to the prospect with an elevator question will trigger their thinking.
6. Follow-up is not – did you get the information I sent. This should one be self-explanatory if it isn’t please register for my Fundamentals of Sales seminar in Charlotte in June. See my website for details.
7. Follow-up should encourage further dialog. The purpose of follow-up is not to give the prospect something to read or do. It is to help you continue a positive dialog with them.
8. Follow-up should create a sense of urgency. If you are sure how to do this - see number 6six above.
9. Follow-up should demonstrate that you are listening to the prospect. By including in your follow-up something the prospect said, asked or did tells them you were listening and not just going through the motions of another sales call.
Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That’s Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com