Aside from impulse buys or necessary purchases, sales typically take place over a period of time and a series of steps. Customers are cost-conscious. They look for value before they make significant purchases, particularly during a sluggish economy.
Following up is an important aspect of closing a sale. Many businesses either neglect it or do not have an established plan. The first step is to have a means of reaching the customer, either through the Internet, by phone, or by mail. Therefore, you need to establish how you will get in contact with the customer and how you will gain specific contact information.
When following up, contact the customer with a reason that provides a step forward in the sales process. Don’t call just to ask if they’ve made a purchasing decision. Such a follow-up not only puts customers on the spot but also assumes that they have all of the information they need to make a decision. Likewise, calling or emailing just to check in does not move the sale forward.
During the first meeting with a potential customer, find out what they want and what it would take to close the deal. Then, send them applicable information. If you have no new information, contact them with news of a special sale, for example. Your follow-up can relate to the additional information you sent them. Don’t ask if they received it, but instead explain how it might benefit them. Use the new information to move the conversation forward.
Follow-ups demonstrate your determination to build relationships with your customers, and most significant sales are the end result of a relationship. You will still find a lot of disinterested parties, but a few potential buyers will appreciate the extra effort. These can become your best customers. In the long run, sales follow-ups are more cost-effective than chasing down new customers.