Being successful in your sales meeting with a prospective client does not just end there. Why? The gold is in the follow-up. Many small business owners walk out of a sales meeting, away from a quotation job, or hang up from a prospective phone call and stop. Learn how to win clients through follow-up.
Asking for the Best Follow-up Approaches
Try to establish a win-win situation when in sales negotiation with potential clients. You need not be guilty in doing a follow-up because you need the business and the clients need your services too. Ask for the best mode and time of follow-up after the discussion. Show that you are concerned of their time. This straightforward approach will give you an idea on how to conduct your follow-up sequence and build confidence between you and your prospects. “Would it be ok if I give you a call on Monday morning to follow-up?” You both know it’s a sales meeting, and I teach all my coaching clients to follow-up, so why wouldn’t I? I have, however, determined the best time to follow-up AND gained permission to do so.
Determining What to Do Next
With no clear actions, a sales meeting becomes a waste despite its possible effectiveness and success. Come up with a clear action plan before concluding a meeting to keep the client’s interest and to stay connected with the lead. This can be from a detailed product brief or a higher management meeting. Obviously, you cannot push the client to decide in the first meeting, however showing a plan, showing your confidence to deliver results and having a strategy will go a long way for you.
Developing Follow-Up Triggers
Some follow-up triggers or sequences are now used by most sales professionals in the nurturing cycle. I am personally employing the follow-up sequence below for my businesses while the selection of their modes relies on the preferences of your clients.
- Confirming email of the appointment enclosing some relevant information, including testimonials. By including these you are already addressing some possible doubts in advance.
- Acknowledgement email following the initial sales meeting with the action items and meeting minutes or anything you had promised. Each business is a little different; tailor this to yours.
- Send a mobile call/SMS for confirmation in case the prospect fails to acknowledge. This still depends on the preference of the prospect. Email may not be your prospect’s best way of communication; if you don’t get a response there, try a different method. Remember, it’s not all about you – it’s about them too.
Just give your prospect a break if none of the above items work as he might just be busy in doing something more urgent or significant. Now I understand you selling your business and your income is important and significant to you, but it’s not your prospect’s most important thing on their agenda today. Understand and appreciate that.
Consider also using technology to track your lead status, and remind you of follow-up action. Anything automated or time-saving will be beneficial to assist you in performing your tasks. There is a heap of CRM’s and other programs perfect for this.
Establishing Confidence Through Free Resources and Advice
Contrary to what most entrepreneurs believe, to follow-up does not always mean to be sales oriented. Most often, initial meetings focus on the resolution of client problems alongside the fulfillment of their needs rather than having to close the deal. Try to offer additional advice on how you can effectively resolve the problems of your prospects. Just offer solutions with immediate impact instead of offering your product right away. Sending them some eBook links, research articles, or other information resources to increase their understanding on certain issues is a great idea. This is why blog writing, engagement of social media and sharing excellent resources work so well – you can do this before, during and even after the sales process.
These confidence-building approaches I mentioned above will also keep you in touch with them and aid you in nurturing the lead other than getting you in the good books of your prospect.
Not Pushing the Client
This is a fine line; you must follow-up, but you must not harass a prospect. Sales trainers say that “Let me think about it” is just an excuse or alternative wording to “no”. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s a case they want to think about it! Not everyone will make a hasty or immediate decision; some personality types want to consider it, research their other options, weigh up the pros and cons and then reach a well-researched decision. This can take days, weeks or even months. Respect this.
On the flip side, don’t believe that a couple of follow-up calls do constitute harassment. We are all busy people, and I expect someone to follow-up. This tells me they care about their business, care about gaining mine, have a good business process and appreciate my time. Yes, by following up, if I want to proceed, then they have made this easier for me to work with them. That in itself has already earned them some brownie points with me!
Follow-ups are vital in a sales cycle. However, the effectiveness of a follow-up is more than just the automated emails and repetitive calling. Successful sales personnel consider valuable follow-ups for their prospective clients and demonstrate strong industry intelligence and a better understanding of the problem. Follow-ups can be more effective when approaching your prospects with great strategy and using them in establishing long-term business relationships.
I can help you with your business through coaching. Call me on 0411 622 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.