How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Sales follow-up strategies that go way beyond ‘touching base’
Guest articles > Sales follow-up strategies that go way beyond ‘touching base’
by: Michael Boyette
Marketers call every interaction with a prospect or customer a “touch point.” Every touch point matters. Even a quick follow-up phone call needs to provide value, in order to maintain momentum in the sales process. Perhaps the new mantra for today’s sales process has switched from ABC (“Always Be Closing”) to ADV for “Always Deliver Value.” With that in mind, it’s a good idea to rethink your follow-up strategy. When you leave a message like “I’m just touching base....” a prospect is likely to delete it ASAP. Worse, you end up being perceived as one more pushy sales rep. There’s more to it than using a different, tired phrase – like “checking in.” Here are three better alternatives:
1. Stress the business value
Prospects will move off their status quo only if they see that implementing your solution will yield a clear payoff for their company. So use your callback message to remind them of how you can help, and the importance of moving ahead sooner, rather than later. Here are some examples you can put in your own words:
“Joe, last time we talked you spoke about how important it was to get going on this before year end. Let’s find a time when we can talk and get the project moving forward.”
“Sally, when you and I estimated the revenue gains from (this project), we came up with $50,000 in the first quarter alone. Let’s pin down a time when we can get going on this.”
2. Share ideas and insights
Research shows again and again that prospects prefer to deal with professionals who can take the long view, and want to help improve the business, not just make a sale. Seize the opportunity in your callbacks. Say things like this:
“Joe, since we talked I’ve been giving more thought to how we can help improve productivity. I’d like to share what we did for Monolith Industries when they faced the same issues. Can we talk for a few minutes?”
“Betsy, our team has been brainstorming about alternative ways you can improve supply chain throughput and reduce inventory. Let’s find a time to go over these ideas!
3. Continue to educate
It’s natural for some prospects to still be on the fence, debating whether or not it makes sense to move forward with your product or service solution. You’re on the outside, looking in, so you won’t know about this. But what you can do is keep giving them reasons to “bite the bullet” and make the changes they need to make. Consider saying something like: “Joe, we know changing the way you’ve always done things is a big decision. That’s why I thought you would find this (article, online cost calculator, case study, etc.) on (subject) valuable. Let’s find a time when we can answer your questions.” See how much better this is than just “touching base?” You’re adding value each time you interact with them. And you should do this in every situation – even when they tell you it is a “done deal” and all they need to do is paperwork. It will turn you into an asset.
Michael Boyette is the Executive Editor of Rapid Learning Institute and thought leader for the Top Sales Dog blog. Michael is a nationally recognized authority on selling and has written hundreds of articles and dozens of training programs for sales reps and sales managers. Over the course of his 30+ year career, Michael has written ten books for publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Dutton, and Holt. Michael has managed public-relations programs for US Healthcare, Bell Communications Research, and DuPont. Michael is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism.
Contributor: Michael Boyette
Published here on: 04-Aug-13