I used to say that follow up could best be described by its initials (FU).
Fact is the decision making process of people has dramatically changed in the past 8 years. They are taking more time to make a decision and allowing more information into that process. Most buyers have developed buying processes which are not productive. Because of that, we need to follow up (or follow through) better.
You have probably heard the numbers before; were I to ask you what the closing ratio would be after one call and what the calling ratio would be after 2 calls, all the way up through 7 calls, most of you have been taught that most sales come after 5-7 calls. Further when you plug into the equation that most consumers (i.e. your customers/prospects) are struggling with some problem in the life ( personal or otherwise), you can see why it is hard for them to make an on the spot decision (when the mind is confused, it cannot make a decision).
Let me drive home one more point; have you ever been screwed over by a sales person. I mean to say, have you ever been oversold and under delivered? All of us have and because of that, we are more cautious than we used to be. Now more than ever, when we have an effective strategy for following through with our prospective customers, we stand a phenomenally higher chance of closing the deal.
Allow me to share three ideas that you should put into place today that will help you to build your follow up strategy.
1. Take notes. Let’s face it; life is fast. We have more information than ever coming at us and more clever methods of capturing our attention. When we try to go it alone using only our memory, most times we let ourselves down. Write down the tasks that you both commit to as well as those that you need to follow through with. This will help you be more efficient as well as build more trust.
2. Gain agreement. When you know you need to follow through, you should have “buy in” from your prospective client. Let’s pretend for a minute that you have a meeting with a client and they want to “think it over” or “sleep on it” (by the way- I have a few ideas on how to prevent this most of the time). You know you need to follow through for whatever the reason. Suggest to them that you should meet again in a few days (a few days is usually enough to solve a challenge, whether it be gaining agreement from an influencer or checking budgets, etc…) Should they suggest they will call you, be aware, this may be a signal that they have already made up their mind, but don’t want to confront whatever their issue is with you . The concept here is that you maintain the direction of the follow up- never let them have control of the sale as they don’t know what direction the sale should go while you do.
3. Be exact with your response. When I say be exact, I mean be exact- If you tell your client/prospect that you will follow through on a certain day or by a certain day, do it (go back to #1 if you are not already doing this). Many times you are being tested to see if you will do what you have said you would do and by being exact, you will pass the test.
Follow up is necessary. Sometimes you need to put a prospect in a timeline that you calendar and have a specific plan of action for. Start with crafting your strategy or at the least, affirming that a strategy is necessary.
Share your thoughts!