What strikes me as strange and rather puzzling is a piece of research I read this week that said less than 10% of salespeople actually follow up a prospect more than once after they have sent a proposal.
I had to read that twice before it sunk in.
What causes it? Lack of time? No desire? Carelessness? Laziness?
I don’t know the real reason, and there might be many, but I certainly know that the majority of sales people have not been taught how to do it effectively and efficiently.
Is it worth learning?
I think it is, so here’s some steps that will help you make following up a natural part of the sale for you:
1. Ask exploratory questions that give you a reason to follow up.
Make these questions hard-hitting, based on the pain your prospect is currently going through or the opportunity you might be able to provide.
Help them make the decision to at least talk further with you.
2. Make what you and your company have to offer the customer absolutely compelling.
Your uniqueness has to stand out to them, and the follow-up must build on the platform you originally built with them.
If they are thinking of using the competition, this is the time to make your unique proposition very personal and specific to their business.
3. Show the prospect that you are the right partner for their business.
Partnerships grow from small beginnings and there are many opportunities during follow-up to help them see how the link with your company can be good for both of you.
You will have had the chance to find out more about the company following your first contact(s) so use the extra knowledge to convince them you and they would look good together!
4. Speak to your customers’ dreams and aspirations.
People buy when they see a brighter and better future with your product, so paint pictures with your words that add sizzle to the substance of what you offer.
If they see things so much better because of being in partnership with you, then you’ve brightened the image they had of you when you first met.
5. Don’t give up too early.
Too many salespeople will make one or two calls to follow-up, leave a non-returned voice-mail and think it’s dead as a dodo.
Instead, make a commitment to try a few ways to contact them.
I sent a note with a chocolate foot in the envelope to a prospect.
I wrote on it that it was my way to get a foot in the door.
This humorous element was appreciated by the prospect and they got back to us.
You might try calling, faxing, texting, tweeting them, dropping a line on their linked-in page, emailingthem, sending a postcard, calling in person…do whatever it takes, and learn from the experience.
Track the results of what you do and continue to do what works for you.