Whenever you mail information out, only 1% on average will call you back.. You must follow up the mail-out or you will be missing the opportunity to make a sale with 20 – 25% of the people you have mailed. Your job is to inspire them and invite them to buy.
For many sales people, the follow-up call is much harder than the initial cold call, prospecting or lead generation call. It requires the skill of getting the customer into a conversation before asking for the order.
In recent trainings I have done I have heard this kind of thing on a follow-up call; (It’s the postal inspector check which goes nowhere)
Salesperson: Did you get the information (or the quote) we sent?
Customer: No, I have not seen it.
Salesperson: Okay, I’ll send it again.
Salesperson: Did you get the information (or the quote) I sent you?
Customer: Yes, I did and I am not interested
Salesperson: Oh, okay then bye.
In the first example, the customer could be saying he did not get it, just to get rid of you and he succeeds. What you could do is answer with “That’s okay, if you are online now, we could run through the information together on the website” or “That’s okay, are you sure it is not sitting in your in-tray? If it is, we could run through it together over the phone and I can answer any questions you might have.”
In the second example, the salesperson could have used an objection handling technique like an open-ended question “I’m curious, what would we have to change to make it of interest to you?” By doing that you may get the customer into a conversation about what he is looking for.
THE 2 BIGGEST MISTAKES
The biggest mistake in both examples is that the salesperson starts the call with a closed question which can only get a “yes” or “no” answer so the conversation can never get started.
Another mistake is when the sales person starts the call with “I’m just following up on the information I sent you”. “Just” belittles what you are about to say and you never want to say “follow-up”. Simply say, “I’m calling to get your feedback on the information I sent. What specifically was of interest to you?”
THE FORMULA FOR A PROFESSIONAL FOLLOW-UP CALL.
1. Always introduce yourself with your name and company name. Do not assume they will remember you.
2. Clients are busy and distracted when your call comes in so refer to the problem, opportunity or concern that they might have had and then ask an open-ended question.
” Good Morning Jim, this is John French from All Storage Systems. Last time we spoke you were concerned about whether your current supplier was charging you too much for _______ I am wondering how you found our prices compared with theirs on the quote I sent you? ” (Assume they got it, never ask if they got the quote)
“Good Morning Jim, this is John French from All Storage Systems. Last time we spoke, you were concerned about the lack of space in your office and you wanted a better way to display your products that would make your office less cluttered. Which of our shelving displays did you like the best in the catalogue I sent you?” (Assume they got the mail-out) Then get them to talk more about that with “Why that one?”
3. Instead of an open-ended question at the end of the last 2 examples, you could say “Let’s take a minute to go through what I sent you to see if it makes sense for us to proceed further.”
4. Find a talking point to reinforce them going with you by giving an example of another customer who had the same situation or problem as they have.” I was thinking about another customer we have in a similar situation to yours and thought you might be interested in hearing about how we were able to eliminate the issues they had.” (Continue with how you did that)
5. Do a trial close to test the ground before you ask for the order like “How do you see your company benefiting from our offer?” “How much do you think you could save by using us?” Imagine if this could attract 20% more business, it might be worth considering, mightn’t it? (i.e. an open-ended question or a tie down question).