Follow-up, one of the most hated yet important activities a salesperson can perform. Intellectually we know that following up with prospects is essential to converting sales, but the problem is that little voice in our head that says, “No! Don’t do it! Don’t be a pushy salesperson! If they are interested, they will call you.”
The problem with the voice is that it’s speaking out of fear, not strategy. Strategically we must remember that an interested buyer actually wants our help, they want to feel like they are important to us and they need us to help them through their buying decision.
Once we get our mindset right and understand that follow-up is something we do for our buyers, not to our buyers, then we want to use three simple strategies for setting up successful sales follow-up.
We are all very good at running out of time for things that we don’t really want to do and follow-up often finds itself at the top of that list.
Oh, it’s time to follow up with my buyers from today? Well, I think I’ll do this legal paperwork instead – it’s very important. Or maybe I should take this opportunity to update my marketing materials – my manager has been riding me about that. Or maybe I’ll file my taxes – never to early to jump on it! And just like that, poof! We run out of time for follow-up.
My advice is to block time off on your calendar every day for follow-up. Actually, schedule yourself a recurring appointment for this critical activity. If you have a predetermined time blocked off, you are less likely to blow it off under the guise of “I ran out of time!”
Put Yourself on the Hook
The best way to make sure that you hold yourself accountable for following up is to make a follow-up commitment to your buyer.
Imagine if you said to your buyer: “I’m going to call you at 6:00 pm to see if any questions have come up between now and then to assist you with them. Does that time work for you?” Now you’ve committed yourself to follow up, and there is no wiggling out of that one.
Be of Service
As I’ve already said, sales follow-up is something you do for your buyer, not to your buyer. So make your follow-up message all about them.
Successful follow messages contain questions like “Okay, what questions have popped up for you since we last spoke?” or “I know you wanted to think through everything we discussed, how are you feeling after taking a little time?”
We should avoid messages like “Just called to see if you’ve made a decision, what are you thinking?” or “Wanted to circle back to see if you’ve bought anything yet, have you?”
Questions that are for us and not the buyer are not well received. Selling is about being of service so make sure your follow-up messages fall under the category of serving your buyer.
I’m not sure that salespeople will ever love follow-up. And I’m not sure that we will ever be able to silence that nagging, doubting voice completely, but there are strategies and techniques that we can use to make follow-up more successful.
I promise you, the more you follow up, the more success you will have in selling.