For sales professionals, the follow-up call is a crucial part of the job. A successful call secures a commitment and provides a solid starting point for the sales process. If you're struggling to close the deal during a follow-up, your strategies before and during the call may be sabotaging the sale.
Poorly Qualified Leads
One of the most common mistakes that sales professionals make is failing to qualify each lead before the initial call. Before you make a call, you must verify that your contact information is correct, that the company needs your products and that the contact person has the power to authorize a sale. Poorly qualified leads make it difficult to close the sale during the follow-up call, no matter how well the first conversation goes. If you have not verified that the contact person has the power to make purchasing decisions, for example, you're unlikely to make the sale during the follow-up.
Ineffective Initial Contact
During an initial sales contact, you must convince the customer that his problem is urgent enough to merit immediate action and verify that he is ready to take that action. If you fail to do either of those things, a follow-up call is essentially useless. To boost your chances of a more successful follow-up, get a verbal confirmation and commitment of the customer's plans to fill his company's needs. In doing so, you will create a sense of urgency that motivates the customer to purchase.
Businesses usually make purchasing decisions at specific times of the year. If your follow-up call happens too far before one of those periods, you are unlikely to make the sale. Timing is also important during a customer's purchasing window; if your call comes too late, you can lose the urgency that was established during the first contact. A prolonged waiting period can also make the customer feel ignored and prompt them to go with another company.
Failure to Add Value
Chances are, your follow-up call is not the only one the customer is considering. If you fail to add value between the initial contact and follow-up, you may find it more difficult to close the sale. Boost your chances of closing by going the extra mile to set yourself apart from the competition. Write a personal thank-you note after every presentation. Send the customer an article or case study that helps the customer understand how your products will improve their business. If they expressed doubts during the initial call, send a personalized email that provides statistics or research to allay each concern. Extra effort on your part can demonstrate your commitment to helping the customer improve and grow his business.
For salespeople, a follow-up call is often more difficult than the initial contact. By laying the groundwork carefully and making the effort to establish your value, you can boost your chances of closing the sale.
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