While this may seem a little bit silly or archaic, I am a firm believer, that in a sales environment, YOU must be brilliant at the basics, I mean really, really, brilliant at the basics. When I am saying that, one of the most basic and under-used skills of any sales consultant is the skill that is developed for follow up with prospects and customers. Note that I didn’t say “professional sales consultant” there, because somewhere along the way when the sales consultant blossoms and understands the true power and potential of following up with their prospects, customers and heck everyone in general… that is when they will really start their journey into becoming a pro and a true sales champion! Let me ask you a question, if follow up is so important, why doesn’t everyone do it – in my opinion, there are a few main reasons – 1. It’s boring… that is a common complaint that I hear. 2. Sales consultants don’t see that there is an immediate return. 3. People don’t know HOW to follow up! So for today, let me take a stab at helping you with the HOW, then as a sales professional, it’s your job to make it fun, get creative – and believe me the more results you see, the more fun it becomes!
When I am talking about follow up in the sales industry, there are a few different types of follow up and there are also a bunch of different vehicles or ways in which we can follow up. I’ll explore both types of follow up and the vehicles you may use and give you a short, powerful phone script that can be used for following up (it’s auto industry based, you can certainly alter the script to fit your needs).
TYPES OF FOLLOW UP
Cold Calls – This is where it is a prospect that you don’t know, have never met i.e. you pull the page out of the phone book and start dialing for dollars or maybe you get a name database off the internet.
Unsold Follow Up – These are people you have met, and for whatever reason you were unable to close on the first meeting. Besides continuing to sell and set an appointment and SELL this group of people, I still would still ask these people for referrals!
Sold Follow Up – These are the people you will work and work and work for referrals and continued business. What you need to understand as a professional sales consultant – THESE PEOPLE ALREADY LIKE YOU! They bought something from you for the #1 reason and fact that they like you. Build a real relationship and friendship with these people.
WAYS TO FOLLOW UP
Phone Follow Up -The phone is a fantastic vehicle for following up with prospects and customers. You can do any type of follow up with just a little training and maybe a few good scripts, and let me give you an off the wall tip – STAND UP WHILE YOU ARE ON THE PHONE, it will change your physical state and produce a better outcome. In my opinion, sales consultants don’t use the phone near enough – remember whatever your script or “plan” when you contact someone over the phone, keep it simple, have a conversation, and remember this – YOU CAN NEVER SELL YOUR PRODUCT OVER THE PHONE! There are only two main outcomes over the telephone: Sell an appointment to get the person to meet with you OR ask that person for referrals and who they may know that is in the market for a purchase.
Letters (aka snail mail) – Send thank yous, birthday cards, holiday cards and other special communications. An easy rule of thumb, every time you send some form of written contact, include three to five of your business cards, and then ALWAYS follow up with a friendly phone call, to repeat what was stated in your correspondence and explain that the business cards are for referrals and then you ask the person, right then!
Email Follow Up – When conducting email follow up, be original, be unique. You have no voice over email and people in general are so inundated with “junk emails” you have to stand out big time. Your best bet here to, is to follow up all emails with a friendly phone call.
In person -This is by far the best for sold customers; meet with people in person when you can. Take a small token of your appreciation, especially if you are going to that persons work, it will get others around the office asking who you are. Most people in America have a doctor, a dentist, a mechanic that they are comfortable going to, and seeing over and over again – and recommending to their friends and family – YOU WANT TO BE THEIR SALES PERSON!
What other ideas and suggestions do you have?
One big key to remember when following up with anyone, sold or unsold, whether you know them or they are a cold prospect you picked up somewhere, just keep it an easy conversation, be yourself, have fun, and find out what drives the prospect and before your know it you’ll have customers lining up to do business with you, like they are waiting for the next star wars movie!
Click here for an easy to use call script. It has worked great for me as a follow up and conversation starter.