In many ways, a follow up call to a prospect is more challenging than a cold call. Typically, it’s the follow up call that really gets the sales cycling rolling. It’s here where value truly begins to manifest itself. It’s here where information is gathered; and it’s here where the relationship begins to establish itself.
So that’s why it is absolutely vital to have superb follow up strategies and tactics so that you can make the most of the moment.
Get commitment for the follow up.
Perhaps the single biggest mistake reps make is not establishing a specific date and time for the follow up call at the end of their initial call. Vague commitments from the prospects (“call me next week”) or the sales rep (“I’ll send the information and follow up in a couple of days”) result in missed calls, voice mail messages and ultimately a longer sales cycle. All you need to do is simply ask for a follow up date and time. For instance:
“I’ll be glad to email all the information out to you, and what I would like to do is give you a call tomorrow at 10 AM to review it in detail and determine the next steps if any. How does that sound?”
If this is not a good time, recommend another time. If that doesn’t work, get them to establish a time and date. Creating a deadline is a simple but extremely powerful tactic. Use it.
Call on time
Don’t start your relationship on the wrong foot. Call on time. Never, ever be late with your follow up call. Not even by a minute. The promptness and respect you show on a follow up call reflects on you, your company and your products.
Build a follow up opening statement that gets through the clutter.
First, introduce yourself using your full name. Second, give your company name. Okay, so far it’s pretty obvious but Step #3 is where you differentiate yourself.
Remind the client why you are calling; remind your client what prompted the follow up call in the first place. This means going back to your initial cold call and reminding the client of the “pain” or the “gain” that was discussed or hinted at in your previous call. For instance,
“Hello (customer’s name), this is Monique Price from the Hometown Hero Project, we spoke on Friday about getting you advertising using Geo-fencing on smart devices. Do you have any questions that I can answer for you? Can we go ahead and get you signed up today?”
“Hello (customer’s name), this is Monique Price from the Hometown Hero Project, we spoke on Friday and you mentioned you were concerned about reaching customers who were located in the Research Park location. We can definitely target that specific area as one of your target groups. We can also launch the views between 6 am and 2 pm to capture the breakfast and lunch crowds. Let’s go ahead and get you signed up today!”
Clients like a clear, concise agenda. They want a vendor who is organized and doesn’t waste their time. They want someone to take control and move the call forward. This gives them confidence.
Be persistent, be polite, and be professional but not a pest
If you follow this formula, about 70% of the time the client is there. But, that leaves 30% who are not for one reason or another. If the prospect is not there, leave a message so that he knows YOU called on time. Say,
“Hello (customer’s name), this is Monique Price from the Hometown Hero Project calling for our 10 am appointment. Sounds like you might be tied up for a few minutes. I’ll call in 15 minutes if I haven’t heard from you. In the meantime, my number is ______”
Next, call in 15 minutes. Exactly. If the prospect is still not there leave another message:
“Hello (customer’s name), this is Monique Price from the Hometown Hero Project following up on our 10 am appointment. Looks like you’re still tied up. Please give me a call when you’re free at —– —–, otherwise I will call you later this morning or early this afternoon.”
So far you’ve been persistent without being a pest. Now, give the prospect a chance to call. A good rule of thumb is a half a day. Four hours is plenty of time and space for the prospect to call you and more importantly, it doesn’t make you look desperate or annoying. Here’s what you can say,
“Hello (customer’s name), this is Monique Price from the Hometown Hero Project”, I called a couple of times today but as of yet we have not been able to connect. When we last spoke you were concerned about reaching customers who were located in the Research Park location. We can definitely target that specific area as one of your target groups. We can also launch the views between 6am and 2pm to capture the breakfast and lunch crowds. I’d love to get you started as soon as possible. My number is ______”
Notice how the reps reminds the client of the call but does not make her feel guilty or embarrassed by using the phrase “. . . but as of yet we have not been able to connect.” Also, notice that the rep reminds the client about their early talks and the “pain” the prospect was experiencing. In effect, she wants Debbie to think, “Oh. . . ya . . .that contract is nagging me . . .I better get back to him.”
If that doesn’t work make four more follow up calls but space them three business days apart. This shows persistence but the calls are spread far enough apart that the client doesn’t fell like she’s being stalked. If there’s no response by then, you probably won’t get one but at least you took a good stab at it.
Having solid follow up strategies and tactics will separate you from the dozens of other sales reps who calls the same prospects as you. This gives you a distinctive edge. Make the most of your follow up calls and watch your sales grow