The sale happens in the follow-up – it is always in the follow-up. What do you think the chances are you are going to call on a prospect at the exact time they are ready to buy? At the exact time they are thinking about your product or service Slim to none right?
Believe me – no one, and I mean no one- woke up this morning and thought wow I really hope a sales person comes and calls on me today. I am so in the mood to stop everything I am doing to make money and run my business just so I can talk to this sales person and help them reach their goals. A little sarcastic but you get my point.
So if you want to close more sales, and I know you do, you need to get really good at follow-up. You need to master the art of staying in touch with your customers and prospects so that when your customer’s are ready to buy, and when they need your product or service you are the first person they think of and more importantly you are easy to access.
Most sales professionals are not very good at follow-up, okay let’s be honest you suck. Why? Well my theory (and just so you know there is NO scientific basis in this – but I am AM right) the top two reasons sales people suck at follow-up is because first you do not think the prospect is interested and secondly because you do not want to be annoying.
Well let’s look at the first reason – not interested. If you think your prospects are not following-up with you because they are not interested, then you do not know much about sales or your prospects. Look your prospects are busy, they are running businesses, they have lives, and when you leave their office other things happen that take their energy away from you. It is not that do not want to buy from you – is that life got in the way.
More often than not when prospects don’t follow-up it is because you fell to the bottom of their priority list. They WILL buy, but only if you stay in touch and are available when they are ready.
But if you call them every few weeks and ask if they’re ready to buy – then guess what – you ARE annoying – reason number two. Calling customers continually to “check-in” and see if they are ready to buy is not follow-up it IS however annoying.
Follow-up is not about you, it is about staying in touch with prospects in a “value add” way so when they are ready to buy they still like you and trust you. (And to achieve that you cannot be annoying.
So while you want to make sure that you do ask for the business and continue to discuss sales, you want to ensure you mix in a little value to your strategic follow-up process. I like to suggest the 70/30 rule. Seventy percent of your follow-up needs to be something of value for your prospect and 30 percent needs to be about you and your product.
So what are some ways you can UNSUCK your follow-up?
- Invite prospects to an event – a chamber meeting, a rotary club, or something your company is hosting. An invitation is a soft way to say “I am interested in winning your business”, while giving your prospect something they can benefit from.
- Send them a referral – show them you are the type of sales professional, even before you win their business, who is interested in helping them grow and be more successful. You are always asking your prospects to invest in your business, you should make the first move and invest in theirs.
- Connect on LINKEDIN – and then take it one step further. Write a personal note in the connection, make a comment on their posts, share one of their articles. Or better yet offer to link them to some of your connections – broaden their network.
- Send a video or article of interest – if you were paying attention in the sales calls, then your prospect gave you lots of ideas on what is important to them, what their focus is for their business, and what information they find valuable. Invest the time to find a few articles or videos on the subject, and send them along with a nice handwritten note.
- Highlight their business – look for articles about your prospects in the paper, videos they publish, awards they might have won, and use this as an opportunity to send a congratulations not. I did this a lead that had gone cold. They were just named one of the Top 100 Best Places To Work. I just saw it highlighted on LINKEDIN and printed it. Got a nice card, wrote a note, and sent the congratulations along. One week later I got a call from the CEO, and we are set to meet next week. Works like a charm!
And the list goes on! If you really think about it, you can come up with all types of ways to stay visible with your prospects so that when they are ready to pull the trigger you are the first person they think of. Remember – the sale is in follow-up – it is always in the follow-up!