Blog Post written by Allan Himmelstein, owner of Sales Coach, AZ.
Years ago, when I was working for a European company, they had a 24 follow up rule. From my experience, most companies can increase revenues by at least 25% just by improving their follow up methods. This simple rule changed the company I was with, and we increased our sales by 30% / year for at least 5 years.
Some companies are relying way too much on their website and automated responses. The first job of any company is to build credibility. How credible is your company, if you do not follow up within that 24 hours.
So my next questions is “How have you trained your people to follow up after that first contact? How many of you get a second and third call? If you do, is it the just checking in call, or just touching base call? You check into a hotel, and you touch base in baseball. The idea in following up is to show that you can add value to their business, and to build a further level of trust and credibility. It is best to first ask the prospect for permission to follow up. Have a purpose. I have read that the average sale takes 7 touches. Today it probably takes more, because people are more reluctant to trust someone. Remember to deliver value on every call, and every correspondence. So here is my list of ways to follow-up. If you have more, please add to them.
- General Follow-Up – Make sure before leaving the appointment, that there is an agreement on what details need to be followed up and when. After sending follow up phone call to make sure the information was sufficient.
- Send Articles Related to Their Business – these sets the tone that you are a resource of information. You can find many articles in trade magazines, or the internet. Make sure to send a handwritten note tying it back to what you previously discussed.
- Share Your New Company’s New Product or Service – This is a no brainer, and so important. Even if it does not pertain directly to them, it may show that your company is an innovator.
- Customer Testimonials – Don’t be shy. If you got them, flaunt them. Testimonials are powerful, especially if they are from someone that your prospect knows.
- Look for Referrals for the Prospect – Ask first what good referrals for them are? The idea is that we are all in this together. Again be a resource not just a salesperson.
- Send News Articles about Their Company – Set up Google Alerts about announcements about their own company. Send Congratulations. This shows that you are interested about the goals and opportunities of the prospect.
- Add them to Company E-Newsletters – Again the best way is to ask for permission, but if not ask for forgiveness.
Send Competitive Information – Your buyer always wants to know what competition is doing. Just make sure that it is public information, and that you are NOT sharing any trade secrets.
About the Author: Allan’s clients have spanned local small businesses, national corporations, and international firms attempting to improve sales, or launch sales in the US market. The success of Sales Coach AZ is based on developing customized, implementable plans that capitalize on existing resources. My core belief is that “selling” can be transformed into “opening doors”.
I actively leverage my background as a Fortune 500 C-level executive to effectively maximize results.