The sales process is like dominoes. You set them up, one by one, in a line. But they won’t fall over unless you push them! Following up is instrumental in closing a sale, yet a surprising number of people don’t do it.
Why do so many people not follow up? If you’ve already gauged interest in a potential client, not following up is like leaving money on the table.
- You don’t want to be too pushy.
- You forget.
- A bigger sale comes along.
- You don’t know how.
These are excuses that can easily be remedied.
- Pushiness: There’s a fine line between being too aggressive and coaxing your contact into making a decision. Learn the line and stay on the coaxing side.
- Forgetfulness: Schedule the follow up in your CRM and calendar.
- Bigger sale: There is NO client more important than the one you’re talking to right now. Treat all of them with equal respect, regardless of budget.
- Don’t know how. Keep reading!
What Format to Follow Up In
Some people prefer email while others love the phone. Try to get a sense of what your contact prefers. If he’s distracted on the phone, try email. But regardless of which of these you use, always send a thank you card in the mail–yes, snail mail! A paper card can go a long way to help you stand out from the competition.
Sometimes it’s helpful to use multiple forms of followup. If, for example, you call, but can tell the contact isn’t really paying attention, tell him you will send him an email with additional information that he can review at his leisure. This way, you provide multiple ways for him to take in your information.
When to Follow Up
After your initial phone call or meeting, send your thank you immediately so that it reaches your contact within days. Then, follow up one week later. If at that point, he pushes you off, ask for a specific date you can follow up again. This keeps you from calling every week to get the same result. By giving you a date, he’s committing to thinking about your proposal or making an answer by that date.
How to Follow Up
Clearly, you don’t call a contact and say, “Ready to sign the contract?” Here are some tips you can use to provide value in the followup:
- Ask if he has questions about your products, services or presentation.
- Provide links to articles that relate to what he’s looking for.
- Send him a whitepaper or eBook your company put out related to the products or services he wants.
- Retweet or share his content via social media to stay in his view.
When to Back Off
Sometimes you will get into that cycle of calling each week, only to hear yet another excuse as to why he hasn’t made a decision. After a few weeks, you may conclude that he simply doesn’t want to tell you no. If this is the case, send a thank you email and let him know when he does make a decision, you would be happy to help. If he genuinely is too busy, he’ll follow up himself.
Keep in touch through your monthly newsletter and an occasional “how are you” email. You never know who he might refer to you down the road.
Without the follow up, many sales simply won’t happen. Some customers are slower to make a decision than others, so it’s key to cater to their decision making process. Keep copious notes about what you discussed each time you follow up, and use these notes to determine your next course of action in the followup process. Manage your sales pipeline, contacts, and follow up to close the sale with PipeJump.
Each case will be different: one contact might be blowing you off, while another may truly be too busy to make the decision.