Initial contact with customers is obviously very important. Without developing leads and making the initial sales contact there can be no prospects to close. However, many in sales fail to transition from contact to follow up. Without effective follow up your contact to conversion ratios will plummet. There are basic steps you can take to instill the importance of follow-through in your sales staff.
Many salespeople fail to follow up simply out of forgetfulness. This often goes in tandem with being disorganized. For this category it is necessary to implement firm follow up policies and guide the applicable parties in setting up a follow up reminder system. Procedures should be devised which dictate the follow up time frame and pitch.
Some salespeople consciously avoid following up. This usually is because they do not wish to come off as pushy or rude. Many believe a second phone call will create a negative impression. This universe of sales reps needs to be trained that effective follow up can be done without coming off as being overbearing. Once they get in the habit they will overcome this hesitancy.
Many business owners hire a new salesperson and release them into the mix without sufficient training. Sales staffs need to be trained and given a set regimen of procedures. Follow up can come in many forms. Postcard printing and greeting card printing now have very economical rates. A postcard is a way to touch base without calling at an inopportune moment. During the holiday season a greeting card is a nice touch.
There are varying thoughts on what is the appropriate time to follow up. Should it be shortly after initial contact? Or, should the sales representative wait a given period of time? There is no one right answer to this question. Each business each unique as is each prospect. If there is tangible new information that arises shortly after the first contact, then immediate follow up can be warranted. Examples would include a sale or other special offering. Otherwise, it is up to the salesperson to gauge when the prospect is ripe for that next contact.
Whether you rely upon postcard printing or telephone calls depends upon your business and your client mix. Businesses today with a younger demographic customer might turn to text messages. Those with an older clientele might fall back to making a more personal phone call. The modality of the follow up needs to be tuned to the market you are serving.
If you dig into your current sales efforts you will see many representatives are failing to follow up. This is costing you an appreciable number of lost customers. Train your staff on the importance of follow through. It will make a world of difference in your sales results.
Recommended Books on Follow-Through:
- Customer Winback: How to Recapture Lost Customers–And Keep Them Loyal
- Customer Obsession: How to Acquire, Retain, and Grow Customers in the New Age of Relationship Marketing
- Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework
- Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again (paperback)
- Customer CEO : How to Profit from the Power of Your Customers