Do YOU recognize the power of a great follow-up? Most sales books and processes don’t! They teach you how to close on the spot with high-pressure and alienating techniques. An effective follow-up is one that creates a continual relationship with your prospect. When you are able to master the science of this type of follow-up, your prospects will turn into customers and you will consistently win more sales!
So, how well do YOU follow-up with your prospects?
How can you IMPROVE?
The key: Be aware of how your follow-up will be received by your customer. How will the customer feel about your calling? Did you set up your follow-up so that they would be expecting your phone call? Do you have information that they want and will perceive as valuable information?
A great follow-up is built upon these three principles:
1. Provide value first
2. Always remain pleasantly persistent
3. Understand that the money is in the details
Provide Value First
Your prospect does not want to be sold anything; so STOP SELLING!
Focus your follow-up on providing value. This will make you a person of value and your prospect will consider you a resource. Being a resource means that your prospect will trust coming to you when they need more information before making a purchase.
With this heightened trust, your prospect will be likely to become your customer. People always do business with people they like and trust. Establishing yourself as a valuable resource will create this connection between you and your prospect.
During the follow-up, present your prospect with valuable information that will keep them intrigued.
“How do I know what information is valuable?”
If you take the time to get to know you customer and understand their needs, you will know the type of information that will be useful and valuable to them.
Try giving them information they may not already know. Be creative and come up with suggestions that might make them more profitable and successful with your product. Use this follow-up to show that you have listened to them and that you understand the needs they have for your product.
Providing value first takes away the feeling that you are only trying to sell, sell, sell! Your prospect doesn’t want to be turned into a sale. Giving them value builds trust, and that trust is what will lead to more sales.
Remain Pleasantly Persistent
The most effective type of salesperson is one who remains pleasantly persistent; one who will follow-up with their prospects constantly and consistently while still making friends with them at all costs.
Never use a follow-up strategy that does not develop a relationship with your prospect!
Make a friend at all costs and your prospects will:
1. Enjoy speaking with you.
2. Trust you.
3. See you as a friendly resource.
Some salespeople like to strike while the iron is hot, pressuring their prospects to make a purchase and then neglecting them when a sale is not made within the first few weeks. BIG mistake!
Your prospect may not be ready to buy at the precise moment you speak with them. They may like you and want your product, but may not be ready to buy for another six months. Being in constant contact with them will keep you and your company fresh in their minds. Then, when they are ready to buy, you will be at the right place, at the right time.
Having a constant follow-up does not mean contacting your prospect everyday! It means having a schedule of when and how you will get in touch with them.
To be consistent, you must make sure that you are reinforcing the same message throughout the entire length of your follow-up. Sending different messages may confuse or distract your prospect, which is counterproductive.
Being pleasantly persistent creates a positive and effective relationship with your prospect. This powerful combination will set the tone for repeat business and referral sales!
The Money Is in the Details
Attending to the small details of a follow-up is the kind of diligence that your prospects will notice. They will be impressed with your thoroughness and will project those positive attributes to EVERYTHING you do! Their confidence in your ability to perform for them will increase. Talk about a powerful way to build trust!
Slight caution: there is a big difference between paying attention to the details and being obsessed with the details.
Okay, so you should pay attention to the details. But what specifically should you be paying attention to?
1. Being prepared
2. Being personal
3. Being different
When you develop your own schedule, you will discover that the follow-up can be as simple as going through the steps.
Your follow-up will become so efficient that you will be able to send out mass, yet personalized, follow-up pieces. Each and every prospect that you follow-up with will feel like you are going the extra mile only for them. They will feel that their business is appreciated. This appreciation will project to how well you will treat them after the sale, and will strengthen their trust to make that step.
Nothing is more different in the age of automation than sending a personally hand-written note, so send one to your prospect every chance that you get! Make sure that the message is still valuable and will contribute to building a relationship with your prospect. But remember, nobody buys from a hand-written card, so this isn’t the place to try to sell. Use the note to build the connection that will lead to a sale in the future.
Have a little fun with your follow-up! When you set yourself apart from the competition, you will be remembered; when you are remembered, you will make more sales.
One of the best ways to get remembered and still remain valuable and pleasant is to send innovative things in the mail along with your follow up message. (Need some examples? I have plenty! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a list. )
You know the typical voicemail messages you leave when you would like someone to call you back. Have some fun with this! I guarantee that if you can make them laugh, they will call you back.
There is no magic way to follow up with your prospects, but by understanding how your follow-up will be received, you will have the insight to provide memorable and effective follow-ups that will create relationships and generate more sales!
Tom Richard is the author of Smart Sales People Don't Advertise: 10 Ways To Outsmart Your Competition With Guerilla Marketing. This book is available at http://www.tomrichard.com/store.html