Customers and prospects have a great deal on their plates today. They have the demands of their customers, bosses, fellow staff members, suppliers and a variety of organizational, government, financial, department and industry issues that take a great deal of their time and energy.
When salespeople call on these busy prospects or clients they must realize that what they are selling is not the most important thing in that prospect's life. Although what they are selling might be of interest and value to them they often just do not have the time to do the salesperson's work, the follow-up.
More often than I can state over the years, when I have followed up with a prospect that has been considering my services, I have heard, "thanks for getting back to me. I had every intention of calling you but have just been too busy. Lets get this program rolling."
Why don't salespeople follow-up? And, what are the benefits of an effective follow-up strategy? Two critical issues that will determine the success of salespeople today. Why don't salespeople follow up?
1. They fear a no or a rejection.
2. They believe if the prospect is really interested they will call and help the salesperson do their job.
3. They are too disorganized and are not even aware that they should follow up.
4. They lack a positive attitude about their product, service or offer.
5. They know the prospect is not going to buy, so why bother.
6. They believe the prospect is too busy to talk with them or to see them.
7. They are too scattered.
8. They lack confidence in themselves or their organization and its services or products.
9. They believe their competitors are going to get the business anyway.
10. They don't have an effective follow up strategy.
11. They have nothing else to say or offer.
12. They knew they had a poor prospect anyway, so why bother.
Guilty of any of these? I have been, and I have been selling for over forty years. It is easy to fall into the no follow up trap. It is just as easy to prospect effectively, present your product with confidence and professionalism and then the follow up is a natural conclusion to the previous step, if you didn't close the sale on that visit, for whatever reason. Here are a few ideas to consider when you next follow up a sales call.
1. Don't open with a closed ended question like, "have you made a decision yet?" Rather, "where are you in the decision process?"
2. Don't ask, "did you get the information I sent?" Rather, "what is your impression of it?"
3. Don't ask, "when can we get together to discuss our next step?" Rather, "let's get together next Monday to .."
4. Don't ask, "do you have any question about the proposal?" Rather, "Is there anything in the proposal that would prevent us from getting this order started?"
These are only four examples. Now see if you can come up with several of your own.
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.