5 mistakes to avoid when following up with Sales prospects

How many times have you heard the below from your sales teams or how often have you said them?

  • I didn’t think they sounded interested?
  • They said it sounded expensive, so I didn’t call them back??
  • They just said they wanted to compare around the market.
  • They said they would call me back…..
  • I tried them 3 times I didn’t want them to feel like I was harassing them so didn’t call again?

Not following up on a prospect is a criminal offence in the sales world, no one wants to do high pressure sales or get into the territory where they are hounding a prospect but there are a few things to consider before you give up on that prospect!

1.     Your own Mindset

You make your own destiny

Some sales people believe the business will come back to them when they are ready, and often some of these people will be ones that have done the job for a while and manage to hit their target as they always have done month in month out.

This is short-lived view on the world, how many times as a sales person have you sat their waiting for the phone to call as you need one more sale to achieve your target, no sales I worth leaving to choice and for every potential sale that could be on the other end of the phone there are often 2 or 3 more that you can influence that are sat waiting in your pipeline, the challenge being for most people  closing an outbound sale is harder than closing a “fresh” new inbound sale, the best sales people know how to get both and they have the right mindset when the approach it, no sale is worth leaving to chance.

2.     Timing

Circumstances are always changing

Every month is different, and your clients’ circumstances change as much as your own, so not making the most of that opportunity when it’s prime is a mistake and often the client expects you to call them. If you don’t your competitor already has done and guess what your client appreciated the call and the investment.

Truth be told your clients are running their own business or managing their lifestyles, or their competitors are chomping at their heels so whilst what you are selling might be of interest, you are not at the forefront of their mind, and the chances are you need to give them a little nudge or reminder to help bring your proposition back to the table.

3.     Value

Value your time and the customers time

Firstly, think about how much time the customer has invested in listening to your pitch. Who has started off a sales conversation with…….” this should only take about 25 minutes”  and then 90 minutes later that same customer is sticking with you and still asking questions and still engaged…. Are you prepared to let this customer go after they have invested so much in you and the pitch?

Secondly and putting it crudely are you valuing your own time enough? Spending 30 – 90 minutes of your time on the initial call and then not invest 5-10 minutes on the follow up call is madness. Many people make the mistake that e-mailing the customer is and no response to the e-mail is an indicator of disinterest and then don’t follow up further.

How often are you sat on your e-mails waiting for the winning lottery numbers to ping into your inbox? You don’t right it doesn’t happen, you check your ticket and see if you have won so check with your customer to see if they have any questions.

4.     Handle Objections

Don’t shy away from the potential of a “NO”

You displayed so much passion about on your initial presentation to the customer so continue to believe what you are selling is what the customer/client needs. By not following up you are not giving yourself the chance to link up your value to your clients’ needs.

A thorough fact-find as part of your sales process should have established one of 3 things:

  1. Established if the need for your product actually exists and therefore eliminated the need for a call back or established a need for a suitable alternative.
  2. Matched a solution that the customer believes your company may be able to meet meaning that they are ideal for following up on as what you have they want!
  3. Matched a solutions but not the price they see enough value in to warrant paying for your product, or they see as valuable but don’t have the time to invest in further or lastly your proposition met the needs but they discounted you over a competitor creating a chance to review original needs and sell the benefits of your services over the competitor.

Quite often the fear of what the customer will say when you call is what leads to people not following up as they either don’t feel confident negotiating, fear rejection or don’t feel they have the tools to be able to handle what the objections might be so just don’t make the call.

5.     Belief

Put simply there are more reasons to follow up then not to.

Believe that your time is valuable. Believe that your solution is right for your customer and worth the time to follow up on. Create enough need in your sales conversation that means your customer/clients can’t afford not to have what you discussed. Most importantly, put all the reasons not to make the call to one side and make the call in the first place. The only lost opportunity  is the one that you didn’t follow up on, but be sure your competitors didn’t miss it.