97% of all sales are not made on the first call.
It takes from five to ten exposures (follow-ups) to a prospect to make the first sale. The prospect may not actually say “no” each time, but each time you follow-up and the prospect doesn’t buy, he’s saying: “not now, buddy; do something else for me; I’m still shopping around; I haven’t met with my partner; try again later.” In short, “You haven’t sold me yet”.
As a professional salesperson you better have what it takes to persevere through the follow-up process and not quit. Be willing to put forth the (creative, value driven) effort to get to the last “no,” or consider taking a job in a warehouse with a salary.
Here are some follow-up guidelines to ensure closing success…
Know the real reasons your prospect wants your product.
Know the real reasons your prospect does not want your product.
Know your prospect’s hot buttons (things you think will make the prospect buy), and work with them in constructing your follow-up plan.
Present new information relative to the sale each time you call or visit.
Be creative in your style and presentation manner.
Be sincere about your desire to help the customer first, and earn the commission second.
Be direct in your communication. Beating around the bush will only frustrate the prospect (and probably cause him to buy elsewhere). Answer all questions. Don’t patronize the prospect.
Be friendly. People like to buy from friends.
Use humor. Be funny. People love to laugh. Making your prospect laugh is a great way to establish common ground and rapport.
When in doubt, sell the prospect for her reasons, not yours.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale each time.
Big hint: no perceived difference, no sale. Bigger hint: no perceived value, no sale. Biggest hint: if you are calling and not leaving a message, it’s because you have nothing of value to say.
If there were a formula for following up it would be… their reasons + new information + perceived difference + value + creative + sincere + direct + friendly + humor + ask = SALE. But there isn’t an exact formula. Every follow up is different, and elements from the above guidelines must be chosen as called for.
Here are a few lead-in lines you might try so that you don’t feel uneasy about how to start the conversation…
I discovered something that I believe to be an important factor in your decision…
I just faxed you a letter from a customer who had an experience like yours…
Something new has occurred that I thought you would like to know about…
I was thinking about you, and called to see if you found about…
Don’t say, “I called to see if you got my letter, proposal, info or sample…” It sounds dumb and it gives the prospect a way out. If he doesn’t want to talk to you he’ll say, “No, I never got it.” Where does that leave you? Nowhere. Why not try: “I sent you some (name the stuff) the other day and I wanted to go over a couple of things with you personally, because they weren’t self-explanatory…” Some salespeople fear that they’re “bugging” the prospect if they call too often. If you feel that way it’s for two reasons:
1. You haven’t established enough rapport and have limited access.
2. Your follow-ups are about selling (your money) and not about helping (their value).
2.5 You lack the belief in your company, your product, or worse — yourself. It’s likely you won’t bug the prospect if: (1) You have something new, creative, or funny to say; (2) You’re short and to the point; or (3) He’s genuinely interested in your product or service; he returns your calls right away; or, he likes you. If you are creative, helpful, and sincere in your follow-ups, the prospect will not perceive you as a “sales hound.” It’s likely you are bugging the prospect if: (1)You call more than three times without a returned call; (2) You ask dumb or pushy questions (probably because you didn’t listen well in the first place, or your quota is at the deadline); (3) You are perceived as insincere; (4) You exert pressure too soon or too often; or, (5) You are in any way rude to the prospect or anyone on his staff. Follow-up is another word for sale. Your ability to follow-up will determine your success in sales. Ask any professional salesperson the secret for success, he or she will answer… persistence.
Free GitBit!…Persistence! The Secret of Sales Success. Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Get your two pages of help to “hang-in-there.” Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word PERSISTENCE in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org