You Got Them On the Phone Again, But They Didn’t Do What They Said

Following Up

Ever have that prospect who doesn’t follow through with what they promised to do by the next call?
Yeah, I know, shocking.Here’s what I heard on a recorded call.Salesperson: “I’m following up on our last conversation and the specs I sent you.”

Prospect: “Yeah, things have been crazy. I have your information but I haven’t taken a look at it yet.”

Salesperson “Oh, OK, well, um, how about I give you a call back in a few days.”

Whoa! What’s wrong here? Let’s analyze the prospect’s words, and see what kind of clue we see:

Prospect: I have your information but I haven’t taken a look at it yet.”

I ask you, how difficult is it to get someone on the line, even on a follow-up call where you have a time set? It’s harder than ever.

And, is your success 100% contingent on them having studied whatever you sent? Not if you are a true salesperson.

So if you already have them on the phone, do NOT waste the opportunity.

Simply say something like,

“That’s Ok. well as long as you have it there, why don’t you grab it, and let’s go through it together.”

This works beautifully for several reasons.

First, you’re not allowing what you sent to stand alone to do your job: the selling. That’s what happens when anything is sent with the instruction, “Take a look at it and I’ll give you a call to see what you think.”

On the other hand, when you request that you examine it together, you’re walking them through the finer points; areas you know they have interest in.

Also, you get them physically involved. When your prospect does something in response to your request, he/she has moved from the passive state of simply talking on the phone, to proactively engaging their senses of sight and touch.

(Of course, if you can avoid the initial follow-up, all the better… if they need to see something, get them to a web page, do an online demo, email them a PDF, etc.)

OK, back to this situation where you do need to send something. You’ll also save time by using this technique. If you meekly say you’ll call back, what are the chances you’ll reach them the very next time you phone?

One in three, maybe?

How much time do you spend on pre-call planning, and writing or typing notes each time you don’t reach a person? Five minutes at the least? This time adds up. Time that is gone forever. Time that could be invested in more productive opportunities. Time that doesn’t need to be lost if you seize the opportunity when it arises.

Here are steps to keep in mind as you prepare your follow-up call so you’re ready in case they haven’t done what they said they would.

1. Your preparation for the follow-up call actually takes place as you end your previous call. You need to be convinced that they indeed are a good prospect according to your criteria, and that they do have interest in what you’re offering. Be stingy with your time and materials. Don’t be of the mindset that the more collateral stuff you flood the marketplace with, the better. This results in disappointment. There’s nothing wrong with saying,

“Pat, if I’m reading this conversation correctly, it seems that if you like what you see when I send the specifications, we have a great chance of working together. Is that right?”

2. Before your follow-up call, be certain you review your notes so you have their primary hot button in mind. For example, “primary interest was in cutting down cost of unscheduled maintenance.” If you can’t pinpoint a hot button, your first call wasn’t strong enough. You shouldn’t place a follow-up call unless you know the person is interested in some aspect of your offer.

3. Have in front of you a copy of the material you sent. Be prepared to direct them to a page, a paragraph, or whatever is appropriate to get them talking.

4. Don’t be discouraged. If you do indeed need to give them a call back, IF you have at least tried to engage them during this conversation.

Even if they haven’t looked at your material, take advantage of the situation and get them involved!

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