Lego man trying to get you to follow upIt was a great sales meeting, but they were not ready to sign….just yet, ever heard your team say that (or even said it yourself)? Some professionals don’t enjoy follow up, but it is essential and not as hard as it sounds.

OK, we could talk about trying to close whilst you’re in front of the client, but there are times when it is about the follow up. Follow through is one of the most important parts of selling, but is often forgotten – just like in golf where the whole swing is important (not just the contact with the ball).

I meet business owners who don’t get round to following up from good (let alone normal) sales meetings. I recently wrote about one that made me want to cry as I watched it.

I don’t like feeling pushy

This is a very common fear, but the reality is you’re probably not. Phoning somebody up because they asked you to, with a specific aim in mind, isn’t being pushy. That’s what I would call doing something you promised. The answer to this lies in the conclusion to your previous meeting; ask them what the next step is and when you should call. Giving them, and you, a task to do in that period is often a good idea. Now you can call “as promised”, to review something specific – that’s not being pushy, it’s being professional.

How often should I follow up?

The real answer to this lies in the section above. But, what happens when they didn’t answer/ return you call? Now you have to re-establish contact, or you cant follow up effectively?

Calling and or e-mailing daily to follow-up with a potential client will probably put you on their “avoid” list. If you have their permission to call them, and there is a specific purpose, calling another 2-3 times isn’t too much?

Remember that they have a life too, other priorities may have occurred since you initially spoke. If after 2-3 calls leave a message to say that you really want to carry on the discussion, but recognise that they’re too busy at the moment. Perhaps then just revert to periodically sending them something useful, which is related to the discussion you had with them, then you’re staying in the game – without being a pain.

“I’m rubbish at follow up”

Interesting statement, I’ve often heard people say they’re rubbish at follow up -even when they weren’t. What evidence do you have for this, or did you persuade yourself? Remember you are not calling to be a pest; you’re calling because you previously had a good discussion with them and they were interested.

Think about the two key points that you want to make during the call, think about them from the other person’s perspective.

  • If you talk from their perspective you’re more likely to be listened to
  • If you’re not clear from their perspective, you didn’t listen enough at the first meeting.

What is the next thing you need to do in order to advance the sale? Think small steps rather than one whole jump to close. Having a clear sales process, and then following your own rules will help you here.

What have your worst follow up nightmares been and how did you resolve them?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

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