In this story, I will take you through how a client of mine was able to follow up a client for 10 months and eventually win the business without being a pain in the arse. Oh, and the last 6 of those months he received no response to emails or phone calls. So, if you want to learn exactly how you can win more business stay tuned.
Last year, my client got the opportunity to sit down with a General Manager of a publicly listed company. By following the Velocity selling system, he asked questions and moved through the 8 stages of a great sales conversation.
He shared with me that he had a good understanding of what the prospect wanted and how they could deliver above and beyond the prospects expectations. By employing another aspect of the Velocity Selling training, my client resisted pitching anything at this stage, he stayed calm and asked, “Do you have in mind, specifically, what this engagement will look like?”
The client had and went on to fully explain what they wanted, how they wanted it delivered and the time frames required. Which incidentally were below what my client was thinking, therefore making the project far easier to impress the prospect.
Finally, he asked a double question to frame the harder hitting question (asking double questions allows you to frame up and ramp up the question without hitting the client straight between the eyes), “What’s at stake here? And what would be the consequence of not doing it well?”
Key point – Always ask how the client sees this playing out and always understand what’s at stake. Remember everything you say as a sales professional is questionable in the prospects mind as there is a sale to be made – the flip side of that is that everything that the prospect says is true. The goal is to have the prospect tell you why, how, when and what if.
They were now both very clear about the engagement. At that point, he knew that he could help, what the success factors were and how to deliver a fantastic result for the client.
The next step was to develop timeframes and my client asked:
• When the prospect would like the proposal.
• How long it would take him to review it, and
• When it would it be reasonable for him to expect a call about moving this forward or not?
Key point – In the Velocity Selling system we reduce the number of commitments we make to our prospects and we raise the number of commitments we get from clients. This simple act of asking when a client is going to get back to us has raised call backs by 300%.
The initial follow ups included a couple of phone calls with him, he was saying he was working through the process with the higher ups – It was clear at the beginning that he wasn’t the final decision maker, but still an important part of the decision-making process.
Then – Silence – What happened?
Has this happened to you? It’s all going well and then …. nothing.
Do you picture the client seeing that it is you calling and diving behind the couch to hide? Or is that just me?
This is where most salespeople give up.
Statistics say that 44% of salespeople give up after one follow up. Further to that, statistics say that 80% of sales require five follow ups. There is no mystery in my mind as to why most salespeople fail and most business owners are frustrated.
Now this is what I want to teach you today, how to follow up …. Without pissing your customers off.
You need to follow up by attaching your calls to their needs and add value to their lives.
Here is how to leave a voice message.
“Hi, it’s Matthew here from Velocity Selling. I’m calling to continue our conversation about __________” (Make sure you are relaying the outcome and the pain, not the project title).
Emails to them should add value by sending interesting articles. You can even write a blog specifically addressing an issue expressed in the meeting and post it then send it to the prospect. This does a couple of things:
1. Gives you more content that will generate inbound leads, and
2. Show the prospect that you really understand their problems and how to solve them.
Pro Tip – Track your emails. There is software and good CRM packages that will allow you to see when, and how often your prospect opens your email. If your prospect is opening your emails and clicking links they are still engaged.
My client carried on like this with slightly larger gaps between calls and emails. You don’t want to be a pain but you do want to stay in your prospects mind.
Now, nine months after he had the initial meetings, and six months since any communication from the prospect, he followed up again.
When the prospect answered the phone this time, he said, “I am glad you called thanks for following up.” He went on to explain that there had been several important matters that had kept him very busy over the past few months and that he now had the capacity to go forward with their engagement.
What that shows me, and hopefully demonstrates to you, is the importance of follow up. Assuming that the client’s silence means that they are not interested could prove fatal to you and your business.
So, whatever you are selling, whether its IT Services or widgets, you’re solving a problem. And if you genuinely believe you are solving that problem for the client, it is your duty to follow up.
Comment below and tell me your biggest win from following up way beyond what “normal” salespeople would do.