Following Up on Literature to Set the Appointment: Tip #2

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Follow up written on calendarYou did everything right: you prospected and qualified the decision maker (DM), got pass a tough, sophisticated gatekeeper screen and reached the DM who agreed to receive your wonderful package after you established some good rapport.

However, when you call back to accomplish the next step in the sales process, to set the appointment, disaster strikes.  First, this once very available prospect has become strangely elusive.  After, a dozen phone calls, you accept the fact the prospect is avoiding you.  Finally, you reach the DM only to have this once cordial person, quickly brush you off the telephone.

Does this sound familiar?  What happened?

There are statements and questions most sales people ask when following up on literature that cause this type of problem and hamper the sales process.  Below is the second of three powerful tips to help you avoid the above problem and set more appointments.  Also, please read Tip#1, if you have not.

Tip #2: Put Less Focus on the Material
Usually when the above situation occurs, it is largely because you have put too much emphasis on the material and the material itself, contains too much information.  Often, to push the sale forward, sales people over-sell the material when there is some resistance in the first sales call.

“Mrs Prospect, just let me get this important information in your hands and you will see…”

When you put too much importance on the material, you cause three situations:

  1. If the prospect has not read the material when you follow up or does not remember the material, they must avoid you.  You told them how important it was.  Instead of facing you, it is easier to avoid you.
  2. You have turned a simple follow up call into a major ordeal.  It is as if you are going to call back essentially to check on the prospect, after you have sent this super-important information.  Is there going to be a test?  The prospect does not look forward your call.
  3. You have handed the prospect the excuse to put off setting an appointment.  You stressed how important the material is.  Therefore, if the prospect says they have not yet received or read the material, you must wait until he does.  You call to set an appointment the prospect objects with:

“Well, let’s wait until I’ve had a chance to go over the material, first.  Call me next week.”

In addition to the above problems, often the material you send simply has too much information.  When your introduction package contains enough information for the prospect to make a decision, then why do they need to see you?

“Yes, I’ve went over your material…and everything looks real good.  But I have all the information I need; I will call you when we’re ready…”

Too much information also causes the prospect to avoid you because they now feel the next step has to be a buying decision.  All you want is an appointment, but in the mind of the prospect, it is a buying decision.

The Solution
First, do not put much emphasis or importance on your literature.  It is a business card—that’s all.  Inform the prospect that all you are sending is a brief introduction, and little history of your company and perhaps your bio.  Also, make sure your information is not enough to make a decision.

Lastly, inform the prospect during the first call that you will be calling back to set an appointment.

“Yes, Steve, I would like to send you a small package, just to introduce myself and give you a better idea of who we are.  Then, I’ll give you a call in a week or so and we’ll see if we can figure out a time we can sit down for a few minutes—Ok?  Let me double check your address…”

Then when you call back, don’t forget Tip#1:

Sales Person:   “Yes, Steve, Susan Smith, here, AAA Conversions.  I sent you a small package last week, I know you probably haven’t had time to go over it yet, but I was wondering, did it arrive safely?”

Prospect:         “Ah, yes, I’ve seen it.  But, no I haven’t read it yet…”

Sales Person:   “It’s just some introductory, information Steve.  You can get a look at it when you get a chance.  I know how busy you are; in fact, that is why I’m calling.  My schedule is tight also, and I am wondering if we might get together for a few minutes next Tuesday afternoon, or would very early on Thursday be more convenient for you?”

The material is simply a stepping-stone, a business card.  Put less focus on it and set the appointment!

Coming Friday, July 29, 2011—
Following Up on Literature to Set the Appointment:
Tip #3: Take Personality Notes

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 27 July, 2011