By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach™
Most salespeople are reluctant to follow up. They worry about “bothering the prospect.” Quite often, this reluctance stems from not having a follow-up process they are comfortable with. They don’t know what to say, they don’t know when to make these calls, and they don’t know the frequency or how often to make follow-up calls. Here’s a story that illustrates how a consistent, permission-based follow-up system can generate more “free” sales for you.
My wife and I were about to undertake our last remodeling project. Being a consummate consumer, I wanted several qualified companies to bid on our next project. After calling 10 contractors, I scheduled an appointment with the 5 that called back.
Following our meetings, one gave me a price on the spot and two never responded with an estimate. Two contractors mailed an estimate, and one of them followed up a week later.
Guess who got the job. Just by making a five-minute phone call! What fascinated me most was that only one contractor called back to discuss his proposal and ask for my business.
How can these salespeople afford not to follow up? Conducting my own research, each one said they needed more business, yet didn’t know the status of the majority of proposals they sent. I sensed that following up regarding their proposal was not their typical M.O. Instead, here’s what they said:
- “I thought you were using someone else.”
- “I didn’t think you were ready to buy.”
- “I thought you felt the price was too high.”
- “I didn’t want to bother or pressure you.”
While these contractors formulated their own conclusion, they never bothered to confirm if their assumptions were, in fact, true! They were operating under the costly assumption “The prospect will call when they’re ready.”
I asked Bill, one of the contractors, “If you’re sacrificing valuable time to drive to an appointment, deliver a presentation, write a proposal, and then don’t follow up and ask for a prospect’s business after taking all of the steps that earned you the opportunity to do so, who are you really helping?” Then it hit him between the eyes. “My competition!”
Bill realized something that only a select few have. While prospects need his remodeling knowledge and skills, they also need his help in making their purchasing decision.
Bill recently called me with some exciting results. After making 30 phone calls to past prospects, he spoke with 10 prospects he had met with. Bill sold three more deals ($78,000) in one week that he never would have sold.
In many businesses, especially the ones that sell directly to consumers (such as home remodeling), cold calling consumers via the phone is no longer an option to generate new leads. Aside from canvassing door to door, networking, asking for referrals, posting job signs, or traditional (and sometimes costly) marketing/advertising campaigns, what else brings in more business? Follow-up calls.
How many prospects are waiting for your phone call so they can send you a deposit? How many people are out there waiting to begin working with you?