Knowing When to Follow Up a Sale

In today's market, more and more professional salespeople are practicing aggressive, thorough follow-up methods that even a few years ago would have been considered unnecessary on some of their marginal inquiries, that is, people don't represent a sale. If your desire is to compete with the big boys and girls, you must make follow-up an important part of your regular selling routine.

Five situations are apropos

You need to distinguish between the types of follow-up you should make so that you handle each prospect appropriately. It also helps to designate how much time you'll commit to following up with each prospect. Obviously, professionals follow up every lead because even the briefest contact or smallest sale can lead to a whole new list of potential referrals for new business.

You must make five types of contact to be a professional at persuasion:

1. Follow-up with referral contacts.

2. Follow-up to service the people who are already happily involved with your offering.

You need to contact these people as part of the professional service you provide to them in appreciation of their continued loyalty to you, to your company, and to your offering.

3. Follow-up to inform clients of new-and-improved versions of your offering, reminding them when it is time to consider updating the product or service you may have interested them in several months or years ago.

4. Follow-up to get with hard-to-reach prospects who require several contacts to make them one of your clients.

5. Follow-up to thank those people who have stuck with you through thick and thin and have been instrumental in helping you to develop your sales career through their long-term patronage.

These five groups are the foundation of your business. Keeping in touch with them will build your future.

Ten customer concerns are vital

To adopt effective methods of follow-up, the beginner in sales must know the concerns that customers have about service and follow-up. It's only by learning to understand their needs that you can best serve them. Here's a list, in descending priority, of customers' most important concerns about the selling and servicing of their accounts:

1. Receiving a call that a salesperson promised to make

2. Knowing contact numbers and the best available times to keep in touch with the sales and service people

3. Having the ability to talk to somebody in authority

4. Knowing that the salesperson and the salesperson's company appreciate their business

5. Spending minimal time on hold in order to speak to a real person

6. Being kept informed of ways to keep costs down and productivity up

7. Being informed promptly of potential challenges and quick action on their resolutions

8. Receiving acknowledgment of recognized challenges and accepted responsibility for errors

9. Being addressed politely and receiving personal attention

10. Being given realistic and honest information as it applies to delivery or problem-solving issues

By making follow-up and service a regular part of your day, you can efficiently address all these customer concerns and maintain an edge over your competitor who may not be as determined to follow up as you are. When you provide excellent service and follow-up with your customers and prospects, you earn the reward of serving the lion's share of all the clients who need your offering.

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