Many businesses invest time and money in different forms of the sales process, such as: preparing quotes, email newsletters or direct mail letters. How many of them follow up?
What is a follow up?
Usually it is a telephone call to a specific person that you have previously contacted in some way.
That previous contact could be:-
• a quote
• an invitation to an event
• a letter
• an email
• a sales visit
• a meeting in a networking event
Why following up is hard to do
You might be nervous about follow up telephone calls. You don’t want to intrude. You don’t want to be a pest. You might feel uncomfortable and worried that people will take offence.
However studies have shown that follow ups do get results. No-one likes rejection but if one of the 10 people you phone say YES, then isn’t it worth taking a few NOs to get it? After all they aren’t rejecting you, only what you are selling.
Don’t follow up and miss out on conversions
All the activities such as sending emails, direct mail letters, cost time and money. If you leave out the follow up, you are drastically reducing the effectiveness of those activities.
Not following up with a phone call will reduce your conversion rates, whether that is attendees at an event, sales of product or leads for new business.
The reason? A lack of response from people does not necessarily mean NO. There are countless reasons why people don’t respond, it could be they:
• never received your letter or email
• no longer have responsibility for this area
• are flat out on other projects
• don’t need what you offer until next quarter
• have to discuss your offer with someone else
• want to buy but have to justify expense to accounts
• are undecided
• don’t have enough information
• have concerns that haven’t been addressed
• are waiting to get other quotes
• are not sure who you are or whether you offer good value for money
• have forgotten about your offer
• put your letter or email in the huge pile of communications that accumulated during their holiday
• have gone away, left the business or are residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure
Make that call
By making a follow up call in a polite and friendly manner you can find out which of the above is the issue. In the case of quotes you also prevent someone else getting the job because they followed up and you didn’t.
What do you say?
When you pick up the phone to make that follow up call, imagine you are face to face with that person. It might help you if you stand up - you can feel more confident.
Make sure you are through to the correct person. Once you are talking to the correct person and have done the pleasantries, you can open by asking if they received your quote/letter or email.
If they haven’t received your communication or have mislaid it, you can immediately send out a copy..... and then follow up again.
If they have received your communication, you can go ahead and ask questions to isolate any concerns:
• If timing is an issue, ask permission to contact them at an agreed time e.g. 6 weeks later.
• If they need to justify the expense to a line manager, emphasise a cost benefit.
• If they have queries, keep asking questions until you can find out the specific problem.
• If budget is an issue, stress the cost saving benefits of your offer or talk about any finance deals you may have.
When is the best time to make the call?
Two or three days after you’ve sent the quote, letter or email is the best time to call. Think about your customers’ daily routine and choose a time when they won’t be too pre-occupied.
Be bold, take a deep breath and make those follow up calls. Be friendly, natural and be yourself.
You will reap the rewards!
Member since: 10th July 2012
I am Diana Vickers, the site owner of thebestof Carmarthenshire. This was launched in Carmarthen town in June 2008, to support the very best of the area’s businesses with their promotions and marketing....