How to Follow Up After a Sales Call
My team brings in a crazy number of leads, more than we can even keep up with right now.
Last week one of my guys asked me to help craft an effective follow-up plan so he could help develop a lead from a one-time buy to a long-term repeat customer.
He understands that if you stay in front of customers, most customers will order more.
Fail to stay in front of customers, and most will forget you exist.
What most sales organizations get right is requiring their salespeople to call often.
Unfortunately, what sales organizations get wrong is they generally enforce this activity with metrics, which I have always found to be counter-productive to both culture and purpose.
There is a common failure to train people to call with a purpose. Specifically, a customer purpose. Not a sales purpose.
If your goal is to call and “touch base”, then your call is an unwanted interruption.
If your goal is to call with useful information, and insightful questions; your call transforms into a valuable conversation, that will ultimately grow your partnership, and find you additional opportunities to sell.
That is the goal, right?
So how do we develop our plan?
Start by asking yourself these key questions:
Did you have a recent order, quote, or onsite meeting with your prospect?
What do you know about this customer and their environment?
What specific challenges and strategies have you previously discussed with them?
What do you know about their industry and their specific role/responsibilities?
What are the "hot" issues in the industry that your customer will benefit from knowing?
Keep your eye out for relevant news, solutions, or catalysts that will be important to your customers. Are there any new products/solutions/or threats that the customer will likely be interested in learning more information on?
Here is an example:
Last year, Microsoft had a vulnerability with Exchange Server. As soon as I saw it, I put together an email with relevant information and a link to the fix and sent it out to all of my customers.
I then followed up with a call to make sure everyone was aware of the issue, so they could address it ASAP.
I left a voicemail for one of my new customers, “Hey Sean, this is Jon over at GHA, I wanted to make sure you are aware of the Exchange vulnerability that came out this morning. If your team had not seen it yet, I emailed over a summary and the resolution steps for you as well. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”
He called me back a few minutes later, “Hey Jon, thanks for your call, I got your voicemail. Yes, my team was aware of the Exchange issue, and we patched our server earlier this morning. We really appreciate you watching out for us though. By the way, do you sell Cisco?”
Connect the information you know, with the information the customer wants to know and what is important to them.
A customer purpose.
That is your winning formula for creating your “reason” to call.
Once I have a customer on the phone, I always love to review any additional value that we recently provided for them.
If we saved them from spending $200,000 on a solution, I am going to follow up on the success of that project.
Avoid calling with the overused empty: “I am not calling to sell you anything” or “I am just calling to touch base” be honest, transparent, and guided. Of course, you are calling them to sell them something, but more specifically you are calling to help them solve a need that they may or may not have been aware of.
Once you have established their interest, always lay out an action plan, and “Mr. Customer, what is your time frame, what information do you need to make your decision, and what is stopping you from making your decision right now.”
After the call, help keep everyone organized and on the same page, by following up with concise next steps “Onsite meeting, quote, demo, etc..”
Effective follow-up should not be complex, or magical.
Effective follow-up is based on listening, understanding your customers, and making sure that every interaction leaves them happy they picked up the phone.
That’s all there is to it.
Finally, don’t let perfect stand in the way of progress.
You don’t need the best reason in the world to call a customer, you just need a customer purpose to call them, and the right ones will answer.