If you have had any time selling to customers, you know that the process tends to take time and there are times of action and waiting. If you have done the work of getting meetings, presenting your value proposition, identifying needs and sending proposals, then the game shifts towards following up.
Too often salespeople are unimaginative and present themselves as a nuisance that is interrupting. If all you do is call your prospective customer and ask, “I wanted to follow up on the proposal I sent.” then a number of things can be happening in the mind of the buyer. You could be creating tension and lowering your position in their mind if you are not careful.
The better way to look at sales follow up is to think about the benefit your prospective customer stopping what they are doing to give you or your email attention. Ask a simple question, “How can I make them look forward to hearing from me?”
Then it becomes about them, not you.
Here are a few ideas to mix up your sales follow up process:
1. Work hard to think about a real referral and set up a meeting for them with a thorough and invested hand-off. Do this well and your value becomes very large.
2. Share an article you have written that is highly relevant to their situation.
3. Share an article you have read from another source. Don’t just share it with a dumb comment. Put thought into what it could mean for them and how it can help them solve their problem.
4. Think hard about 10 ways your prospective customer can solve one of the problems they expressed. Then give them 10 powerful ideas you are proud of to consider.
5. Do something that builds relationship – coffee, golf, basketball – or whatever would allow you to build some interpersonal experiences together.
6. Write a handwritten note and be specific about things you have learned from them.
7. Seek a way to learn from your customer. They are an expert in some things. Get coffee to listen and learn.
Notice that none of these is about asking for the order. Your prospective customer knows where you are at regarding any deals. In fact, they connote your name with that open loop in the dialogue. Leave it on the table instead and focus on doing things that benefit your prospective customer. It gets you out of selling and focuses your follow up on the one thing that matters – building trust.
They likely have not said, “Yes,” yet because their trust meter is not high enough yet. So act in their best interest rather than your own.
What do you think of trying these in your sales follow up?