The Follow Up: it’s mysterious, irregular and one of the parts of the sales process that truly is different with every prospect. There is no magic formula, no “script” to learn and adapt to your own style and no real set rules.
However, I have three keys I think will help in the follow up as you work through the sales process with each prospect. These keys can be molded and shaped to fit each situation and can increase your success rate of finalizing sales and adding new customers.
-Ask how the prospect would like you to follow up: It’s OK to use that sentence—almost verbatim when you have reached the point you know you’re going to have to return to the prospect at a later date. “How would you like me to follow up?” There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you may get information you previously didn’t have like a direct line or an email address. Many times your future customer will even give you more information about the decision making process including who’s involved, if there’s a meeting which will take place and so forth. So, ask. Then listen.
-Follow up immediately: After your meeting, if it’s clear there is going to be a decision making process, follow up immediately—the same day if possible with a hand-written Thank You card mailed by good, old U.S. Mail to your prospect. I like to use something along the lines of:
“John, just a short note to thank you for taking time to visit with me today. I know you have a lot to consider in choosing a supplier and want to assure you I am available if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. If given the opportunity, I know my company and I will work each day to continue to earn your confidence. Thanks again and I’ll talk to you soon.”
Short. Sweet. To the point.
-Be early: If the prospect tells you to call him or her on the 20th, put it on your calendar for the 17th. Chances are they tell everyone the same thing and you want to be first in their mind. Even if you’re calling back prior to a decision making meeting, you might have one last chance to find out great information with a few questions and even offer further reason you should be the ultimate choice.
There you go. Three keys to stronger follow ups giving you a better chance of winning more business. If you have other tips that have worked for you in the past, I would love to have your input.