As already discussed in earlier articles, regularly following up with your clients WINS MORE BUSINESS.
With this is mind I’m going to share some tips with you on how to follow up effectively and how to be sure that the follow up is successful. But first, a quick reminder:
Most Sales People Don’t Follow Up With Customers
It takes MORE THAN FIVE VISITS to close a sale 8 out of 10 times and 90% of salespeople routinely make LESS THAN 3 CALLS to prospective clients.
WHEN DO YOU FOLLOW UP ON A CONTACT?
- If you are trying to get to meet somebody for the first time
- To arrange a second meeting, gain more information or to be introduced to somebody else in their organisation
- If you have provided a solution and you are trying to close the deal
- To stay in touch with customers that have initially rejected you
- When staying in touch with your existing clients
- Trying to make new contact referrals within your existing client base
While this list may not be exhaustive, it covers most of the situations when you will need to contact a client more than once. Even for the most experienced and professional sales person following up is often neglected, however, if you follow my top tips that follow, you will master ‘the art of the follow up’ and look this overlooked sales skill will become a key part of your sales armoury.
MY TOP TIP TO MAKE FOLLOWING UP WITH CLIENTS AS EASY AS CALLING YOUR BEST FRIEND
TOP TIP: At end of every contact, always gain a commitment or clearly set an expectation for the follow up.
Basically, at the end of EVERY meeting or call, set a time for the next meeting. Then there is no need for any follow up, just turn up for the scheduled meeting. It sounds so basic but is very often not done.
By doing this you will never seem to be ‘bothering’ your customer and you will always feel more comfortable about following up.
If you are on a call, agree when you will call back. Then when you do call back it’s not a problem as it was what was mutually agreed. Also, try and get in first and set the expectation. If it doesn’t work and they say they will get back to you, just say that if you haven’t heard by x date you will drop them a reminder. 9 times out of 10 they agree to this as they will know that they really should have contacted you as promised by then.
If you have the confidence and discipline to do this, you will have very few issues in following up ever again in the future.
5 TYPES OF COMMUNICATON FOR FOLLOWING UP AND HOW TO USE THEM EFFECTIVELY
Before we get going here, although we will look at the advantages of each type of communication, at the end of the day it is best to use the method that suits your client best. It won’t take you long to realise that one client never replies to your emails or answers their phone, but always texts you back. Or that they never reply to your text but late evening they respond to your email. Keep track of this, as it will increase your chance of success.
1. FOLLOW UP METHOD: PHONE CALL
Yes, the old-fashioned method and key to get more of a commitment from the client. When you have a real conversation, it is two-way and interactive so you can achieve more. If you can make them, phone calls are best.
2. FOLLOW UP METHOD: EMAIL
Quite often email is the best way to get your message across. People are getting busier and busier and answering the phone can be the exception nowadays. Whereas with an email they can take their time to review and answer whenever they want. However, emails must be relevant and of interest. Never just ask the questions directly “Any news yet?” when following up. It is important to always offer some kind of value to the call. Maybe you can comment on something about their industry or company that you have noticed or perhaps you can provide some free advice in your area of expertise.
3. FOLLOW UP METHOD: WHATSAPP
Be careful here. If it’s a new client, I would not use What’s App as it could be perceived as a ‘cheap’ way to communicate with them as it is free. With existing clients, if they have ever WhatsApp’d you then it is fine.
4. FOLLOW UP METHOD: TEXT MESSAGE
Don’t drag out a text message. Think about your objective and focus on that. Most of the time the text message should be about trying to establish when is a good time to talk. You won’t achieve much outside of agreeing a time for a chat but remember you are also keeping the top of mind, which is good.
5. FOLLOW UP METHOD: DROPPING BY THEIR OFFICE TO SEE THEM
Be very careful here. You don’t want a restraining order to be put out on you by being perceived as bothersome. However, there are times where this could work well. This will normally be initiated or encouraged by the client, and you should still plan the contact thoroughly and always conclude with a commitment on the next contact date and method. If you have identified they are very relaxed about dropping in then it can work, however, it is probably best to just call or message first.
CONCLUSION - FOLLOWING UP TO WIN BUSINESS IS EASY TO DO.
- Following up is critical for every sales person to succeed and quite frankly is very easy to do.
- Like many selling processes, it is simply a matter of being organised and paying attention to detail.
- Every salesperson needs to allocate time each day to make follow up calls and to send follow up emails.
- You need to have a system in place to log and track what follow up commitments have been agreed and ALWAYS deliver what you have said you will.
- The simple key to success in following up with customers, though, is:
At end of every contact, always gain a commitment or clearly set an expectation for the follow up.
Article supplied by Peter Heredia of Max Sale Solutions. Max Sale Solutions is a consultancy firm helping companies cut through the issues that are limiting increased sales. Unlike traditional sales training companies, they know that it is as important to increase the efficiency of a sales team by managing activity as well as improving their sales skills.
Peter Heredia will be hosting our March Client Workshop. To pre-register your spot for what will be a popular event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.