Winning with Leslie Groene October 2013
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It never ceases to amaze me how few business people make the effort to follow-up after they have made initial contact with a prospect or customer during the selling cycle. Think about the times that situation has happened in your own life (business & personal) when someone did not bother to take this initiative. Think about how this dynamic applies to your sales process and plan. Why don't you follow up? Do any of these seem to be on the mark?
You don't want to appear pushy. It may be true that following up too frequently will come across as being pushy. However, very few people ever come close to crossing this line. In fact, you may be perceived as pushy more because of your tone, rather than the fact that you actually followed up. So where's the happy balance? It depends on your business. A weekly call is more than enough to keep in touch providing you make sure your call short and to the point. Also, provide some additional value during your follow-up call. This may give your prospect a reason to choose you instead of a competitor.
You forget. It's easy to forget considering how busy we are. We may have every intention of calling or emailing the prospect but got caught up in our business. Unexpected problems crop up, we find ourselves spending more time in meetings and stuck in traffic, and because we didn't schedule the follow-up, it doesn't get done. This is a common dilemma but one that can be avoided by considering the follow-up like a scheduled appointment.
You make false assumptions. When someone doesn't immediately return our phone call or email message, we usually assume the worst - even if this assumption is not verified. I have learned from experience that a lack of response can often be attributed to the fact that the other person is just too busy to respond or does not have an answer for you. We think if we do a good job presenting, the customer will automatically call us back - we don't need to follow-up. Unfortunately, we can't rely on this passive style if we want to achieve our sales goals. I remember talking to a couple of business owners at a networking function and they lamented the fact that companies did not return their calls. I pointed out that the average executive or buyer receives dozens of phone calls every day and often hundreds of emails. They are extremely busy which means they forgot and the more time that slips by, the less important your product or service may be to them.
You have never been taught. Many people have never received formal sales training and have not learned why they should follow-up and how to make this happen. This is relatively easy to remedy. Start by asking or telling your prospect that you will follow-up on a specific day or time. Tell them how you will follow-up (telephone, email, face-to-face) and record this in your day planner or CRM system. You can easily differentiate yourself from your competition by making the effort to follow-up with your prospects and customers. Don't ever assume that they will call you. Be proactive and contact them.
You are afraid of what you will hear! We don't know what their perspective is in regard to our solution or product -perhaps because we didn't ask the right questions in the meeting so we are flying a little blind.
If we don't flush out an undiscovered objective, then we can't overcome the objective to move the sale closer to a YES!

Consider the perspective of working in your business and not on your business!

Focus Point
29. Be gracious in your dealings with your clients and colleagues. This is a lost but profitable art!
When is the last time someone really went out of his way for you to provide something you needed, and did so in the best way? Bet you really appreciated that effort, didn't you? You can see where I am going with this. Many of us needed to become much more aware of the efforts and needs of those around us.

Sometimes, all that is required is to communicate our concerns. At other times, we need to demonstrate our caring. When someone we care about loses a family member or close friend, be there for them. Acts of kindness at critical times will always be appreciated and rewarded. Get creative and find ways to do things for clients and others that really touch them. After all, one of the most important fundamentals in today's competitive sales environment is that sales are a result of your relationship with your clients. Never forget this ultimate truth.

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