The art of the sales follow-up...
We have all been there. We’re in the prospecting groove surrounded by call-backs, serious relationships are forming and meetings have been closed. What’s left in the aftermath? Roughly written notes and optimism ahead of the next steps.
As sales professionals we’re in the business of building meaningful relationships so reviewing your calling notes and setting time to follow through on your commitments cannot be understated.
Failing to send literature, quotes or any other supporting information could result in damaged perception and hinder further negotiations. Equally, if you say you’ll call at an agreed date/time, this is a measure of character between you and the prospect. Adhering to the timeline whenever possible is hugely beneficial and will keep the conversation going. We also recommend asking your future client how they’d like to be contacted such as face-to-face or call back etc…
The power of thank you
Sending a “thank you for your time” email (or perhaps letter) after each call is
great housekeeping. No doubt we all mean to do this but sometimes other priorities can
get in the way such as meetings, calls and presentations.
Don’t sell yourself short at this early stage. Especially if this buys you time while you work
on your proposal. Remember, both you and the prospect are on a journey together.
Persistence vs professional persistence
There is a balance between calling every day and being the pro who calls with professional persistence. Observe the movements of the decision maker and leverage your gatekeeper relationship which you’ve worked so hard to nurture. We all have targets but a call every couple of weeks with insightful value is far better than overly stalking the deal. To this end, be mindful of what a week or month might look like for your prospect.
If you’re working on key account prospects with a slower burn rate, a call-back in 6 months is fine but in 2018 there’s no harm in connecting on LinkedIn and liking the occasional post. Keep yourself at the forefront of their mind.
By putting the client first and showing empathy you will be in a strong position and reinforce the benefits of a consultative sale.
It is important to make your follow-ups count. It may have been some time since your first conversation, so when you decide to get in touch, you need to add value and be engaging.
How would you do this?
Our preferred approach is to show you’ve listened and have purpose to your follow up.
Traditional openers such as “just wanted to see if you’ve received our sales literature”
may work, but we propose you start off with insight. After all, you’ve worked hard for it.
For example, “Thank you for your time last week. We recognise your concerns around the
challenge of change such as culture and cost, but with your guidance we have a plan
on how together we can mitigate some of the concerns.
We would welcome the opportunity to talk this through with you in more detail as discussed."
You could go for the close here and request feedback on a selection of dates. This of course depends on the prospect, size of opportunity, relationship and timing.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Finally, we recommend you keep an electronic record of all your prospecting. Of course, good old spreadsheets serve a purpose (subject to GDPR), however a solid client relationship management system will help no end, allowing you to focus on other core business activities. There are many options in the market depending on budget and what you’re looking to record, measure and action.
We recommend a trusted partner called Jumpworks who have written an insightful blog about process and systems. If you need consultative and professional advice about business systems the team at Jumpworks can help you navigate the diverse CRM market.
Thank you for reading this blog. When handled correctly, the perfect follow-up that displays thought and consideration will set you apart from your competition and set solid relationship foundations early on.
About Impact Sales Coaching
Impact Sales Coaching offers tailored coaching to clients from various sectors around the UK.
Their sales coaching is written and tailored around a client brief to ensure relevance while
at the same time delivering an experience that focuses on core structured themes that support
the business’ continuous improvement and growth.
They understand that all businesses are different and with their own values; however at the core are
opening and closing sales - this part needs to be driven by the sales team or business owner in
a unique and compelling way.
Give Adam a call or email for an informal conversation around ways in which coaching
can add value to your business.