You have done your prospecting call and been asked to send out some information. You may be like many salespeople – happy to prospect on the telephone but when it comes to following up, you are not so keen. Here is where you might experience fear of rejection or a bit of call reluctance. What can you say?

There is really no point in sending information out unless you plan to follow it up, because it is usually in the follow up that success is achieved and the sale is closed. It is important to ask the customer how long he/she thinks they need to review the information and then schedule a time to call back to discuss it further one day later. That way the customer knows you are going to ring back and that they have committed to have read the material by then. Here are some tips:-

It would not be good to call back starting with a closed question like, “Did you get the information I sent you?” Remember, you are back in rapport building mode and need to be asking open-ended questions that cannot get “yes” and “no” answers. The questions starting with “What”, “Why”, “How”, “Which” “Why”, “When” “Who” will give you more information about what the customer wants. I recommend you say:

“Good morning Mr _____ I am calling to discuss/review the information on ______. Precisely, what was of interest to you? How specifically did you feel this couldbenefit you?” or “What could happen to your organization if you incorporated some of these ideas?” (Put them into a picture of the future as if they are already using you).

When the customer answers, don’t jump in with a “close” immediately or launch into what you can do for them. Be a good listener, pause for a moment in silence and ask them to tell you more about that, e.g. “That’s interesting, say moreabout that” or ask an open-ended question like, “Why isthat?” The skill to be silent for a moment after the customer responds is powerful.

If the customer appears to have cooled his enthusiasm on the next call, ask them, “Last time we spoke, you thought this could really save you some money. What has happened since?” or “What will happen if you do nothing?” or “Is it because you don’t think you will get a return on your investment?”Find out the real reason for the customer cooling off.

Often the reason is that the customer cannot be bothered to change suppliers. You can ask one of the following questions:

“When you changed from your first supplier to the one you have now, what made you change?”

“Under what circumstances would you consider using another company?”

You can “fish” for a problem with “What” and “How” questions.

“What happens when your supplier is out of stock and you need something in a hurry?”

“How would you handle ______ when ______?”

“How about changing to us for specific items you might be paying too much for with your existing supplier?”

Only after asking the questions can you start to present how your product or service can match their needs.

Jenny Cartwright – International Sales Trainer / Speaker / Coach

Author of “Don’t Get Hung up! – How to sell products and services by phone” and “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals.”

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