Have you had a look at your CRM lately and seen all the dead wood? How about that stack of stale business cards getting in the way of your mouse? Why have these once hopeful opportunities died on the vine and how do we prevent this from happening again? Here are some tips on effective sales follow-up that will help keep these hopefuls from becoming hopeless.
1. Show that you’ve listened and observed
The sales qualification process is similar to a puzzle – each party gathers information, like puzzle pieces. They try to fit the pieces together to form a complete picture, or at least a more complete picture. Once all of the research is complete, you are ready to propose your solution. To stand out from the crowd, try adding a section to your follow-up proposal called “other suggestions.” In this section, outline other issues or problems that you’ve observed through careful study of their business practices, along with your suggestions for improvement. Most importantly, be willing to roll up your sleeves to help implement these suggestions in order to demonstrate what you are really made of.
2. Always present, and propose, an opportunity
When presenting a solution to a prospect or customer, make sure it is in the form of an opportunity. Nobody wants to be the person who let a golden opportunity slip through his or her fingers. Salespeople must master the art of painting a picture for a buyer of exactly what life will be like after their product or service is adopted. Presenting an opportunity, instead of a feature or price driven solution, will motivate the buyer and seller alike. If you are not able to phrase your offer as an opportunity, then go back to the drawing board until you can.
3. Follow up quickly and completely.
Unlike you and fine wine, follow-ups don’t get better with age. It is absolutely critical that you demonstrate to your prospect that you’re on your game.
Struggling to gain momentum in the sales process? Quick and thorough follow-up helps you to maintain the momentum in the sales process and sets the tone for subsequent sales communications.
Components of an ideal sales follow-up include:
- a brief summary of the current situation
- confirmation of completed items
- a gentle reminder of customer requirements
- clearly defined next steps
- all of the necessary materials (documentation, forms, links, etc.) for your prospect to complete their next steps
Please share with us any other follow-up components that have worked well for you.