August 17, 2018
The act of selling is the lifeblood of any successful business, but unfortunately for those of us working in the Sales department, there’s no exact science for boosting success. Many have likened selling to a complex art form, with nuances across different sectors, products and services meaning that a ‘one size fits all’ approach simply doesn’t exist.
One of the trickiest disciplines to master is the sales follow up. As the clock ticks down to the end of the month, we all want to maximise the sales we have closed, but how do you keep in touch to progress the deal without feeling like a pest?
Let’s take a look at some great techniques to help you master the follow up and close more sales….
1. Conclude, Revisit and Arrange
A really good way to keep regular touchpoints going is to revisit your previous steps and the things you have already discussed. Following a progressive meeting, call or conversation, drop in 48 hours later (or sooner) to summarise the topics which were covered, picking out the key areas that contribute to the next steps.
By doing this, you prove that you have fully understood the dialogue as well as providing them the highlights in a convenient and easy to understand format. Revisiting the conversation also helps to cement it into the memories of both parties, ensuring that as the sales rep, what you have to offer sticks in the mind of your prospect.
With the previous actions concluded, it’s time to arrange what’s next! Take the initiative and propose when the next follow up should be. A great technique to use here is to propose alternatives; don’t be wishy-washy in lining up your next actions. Try something like –
‘Let’s catch up on Tuesday, does 10:00 or 14:00 work for you?’
By narrowing the options, you reduce the decision-making process and show confidence in the progression. It also allows you to manage the conversation professionally, helping you to move toward the ultimate aim of closing.
2. Personalise Don’t Generalise
With a range of marketing tools and CRM systems on the market, it’s really easy to craft and distribute automated communications, often without any manual intervention. Whilst there’s no doubting the positive effect this has on sales, sometimes the personal touch can go missing.
Take the time to consider your prospect, their requirements and any previous touchpoints to deliver a follow up that truly engages. Before your next check in, why not take a look on their Linkedin profile or company website?
Pick out something that is unique to them and use it to re-engage the conversation. Not only will this help to build a relationship, it shows that you care and that you don’t see your prospects as just a name and number on your screen.
3. Bring New Value
Often in B2B sales, the time between initial contact and the deal closing can be a long. In this time, a number of things can change both with the prospect and with your own business. At whichever stage of the process, always remember to ask yourself what extra value you can bring.
Maybe you have launched a new product which could meet a supplementary need, you’ve posted a new and informative blog article or a case study on a similar customer has been created. Use your follow up to introduce something new to give the prospect some value from the exchange.
Again, it shows the prospect that you understand them and their business and reinforces that you care for their needs. Alongside the sale which you are currently progressing, it may open up new avenues for up or cross selling opportunities, helping to maximise your overall deal!
4. Incorporate Marketing Channels
Sometimes a direct follow up may not feel like the best option and a softer approach may be what’s needed. In many organisations, the Sales and Marketing departments are closely linked, with their roles often overlapping.
Take advantage of the Marketing team’s resources and know-how to provide a softer follow up with the prospect. Why not try a social media re-targeting campaign or an email newsletter to sow the seeds of your product or service back into the prospect’s mind?
In a digital age, many people feel far more comfortable operating online than over the phone, so use the channels which best put them at ease. Social selling is on the rise across the globe and is a great way to not only reach out to individual prospects, but a great way to identify and nurture new leads.
5. Inject Humour
Everything in life is better when you have a smile on your face and selling is no different. Where appropriate, try injecting some humour into your follow ups. This could be as simple as a topical one liner, a link to a funny video or tasteful GIF.
I know what you may be thinking? I’m working in a professional environment, I can’t be sending people jokes or videos. Naturally, you need to know where the line is and ensure both the content and the recipient are on board.
At the end of the day, we’re all human and humans love to laugh. Until the AI robot’s truly take over, selling is an art form that lives off human interaction and the saying ‘people buy from people’ still rings true.
6. Simply Ask
If you’re still concerned that your follow up may not be well received, take the time to ask how you can keep in touch. Many prospects will appreciate you taking the opportunity to consider what works best for them, with the personal touch of not wanting to disrupt them a big win.
You could either bake a communication preference form into your sales process or have a defined structure for a communications check phone call. Alongside the right medium, find out the best times to get in touch to save yourself any wasted energy. This communication’s touchpoint in itself may be a great opportunity to keep the conversation going and lead to a deeper discussion around the next steps.
Remember, many decision makers receive 100’s of emails a day meaning yours could simply get lost in the noise. Having the right communication method could actually save the deal and ensure your conversation stays alive, simply because they’re actually being read.
So, next time you put together your next follow up task, think how you can make it a great one! By adding some personalisation, bringing new value or maybe injecting a little humour, you can keep your sales on track whilst building lasting relationships with your prospects and customers.
ames Elliott is a BDM and content writer at OpenCRM, a fully featured cloud CRM provider which helps businesses of all sizes reach their growth ambitions. James loves talking all things tech and business improvement, so why not reach out on Linkedin?