“Always. Be. Closing.” Everyone in sales has heard the infamous line from Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross at least one time in their life. Sales can be a tricky thing. You know it’s how the world goes round in a capitalist country, but at the same time you try to do everything in your power to not be solicited to.
As we all know, being sold something is inevitable, as is selling. Everyone has an “art” or “trick” for the perfect sales pitch, which vary from person to person. Believing there is a some truth to that, I set out to research how I could use my sales abilities to follow up and close more deals.
Being fairly new to the sales world I was looking for the best way to follow up with my leads that will help me drive them down our sales funnel and eventually to client status. However, finding the right lead that is a fit for our company (one where we can provide value) can be difficult. Which led me to these realizations...
1. Scope out what your lead’s company does and send them catered content.
Since not everyone will be a good fit for your business it is crucial to research what that company does. Few things are as disappointing as discovering that a lead you’ve nurtured and followed meticulously works for a company that is similar to what you do (or is otherwise not the right fit) and will not be of use to you.
Once you do find the right company, begin to cater your follow-up content to their needs. Do they work in a software company? Send them educational content relevant to that industry. They might not even realize that the content you’ve sent them is of great use to them, and you were able to provide that valuable content because you’re an expert in their industry.
2. Ask a preferred method of communication.
You’ve tried calling your leads, you’ve gotten lost in their inbox, that damn carrier pigeon never came back and you are unsure what to do. Simply asking someone how they prefer to be contacted could be the ticket to closing what you’ve been chasing after. People who need your service sometimes lose you in the hustle and bustle of their work. You’ll want to stay relevant and on their mind.
When you finally get ahold of someone and they give you the “I’m interested, but I’m swamped this week” response, ask them the best way to get back to them. Nine times out of 10 they will tell you their preferred communication method, and when you start following up with them you’ll have the precise way to grab their attention.
3. Create a follow-up schedule.
Like everything in life there is a method to all the madness. In sales, that means creating a schedule to determine how much more effort you want to sink into a lead before deciding they aren’t worth it. Within this schedule you will want to send a series of emails to coincide with your calls. Personally, I’ll give each lead 4 chances to follow through and then let them be till they warm up again.
My routine (based on best practices) goes a little something like this:
- 1st day - Call (leave voicemail) and email. Make sure you are providing value on both touches.
- 2 business days later - Call (no voicemail) and email. I send some kind of related content they might be interested in.
- 2 business days after that - Call (no voicemail) and email. This email states that I’ll give it one more go and include a piece of content they may find useful.
- 2 business days after that - Call (voicemail) and email. The message here is “I see now is not a good time, would you like me to keep following up or try again in the future when the timing is right?”
This schedule keeps you from wasting time that could be spent calling and emailing better suited leads and still provides the unengaged leads with some recognition that you will are still keeping them in the back of your mind.
4. Send an overview of what you discussed.
If you have a good conversation with a potential lead, sending an overview is a great follow up that will show your lead a number of things. Most importantly, it will benefit you. You’ve been making calls all day and talked to a copious amount of people. How are you going to remember what it was that you specifically chatted about with that person?
A good summary email can provide an excellent frame of reference for the next time you contact that person. You’ll know the specifics of your conversation, what exactly it was they they’re hoping to get out of your services, and, most of all, holds that prospect accountable to what you discussed. Not to sound nefarious, but people can back out and say something completely different than what you chatted about previously or misconstrue what you discussed originally. An overview will keep both parties on the same page.
5. Don’t be a stage five clinger.
“Just checking in if you got my email.”
“Wanted to touch base with you.”
“I haven’t heard anything from you in a while and wanted…”
Whatever the cliche line is, ditch it. I had a hard time with this when I got started. People are busy. People don’t want to be bothered. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find what works best. Give a purpose to the follow up. For instance: “I know we discussed last time you were having these issues.” Remind them of why they agreed to chat with you. Remind them of the problem that they may be having and how you and your company is determined to fix it. Provide recommendations and give them an organized solution. Be confident, be bold and don’t be afraid to state your intention. It can be nerve-racking to contact someone like this, but if they agreed to talk to you then you already took care of the hardest part.
Those are my 5 tips on sales follow-up tips that lead to more closed deals. I hope they provide solutions to those in the same boat as me and searching for answers. I’m always looking for new tips and tricks on how to close more deals. Let me hear what yours are in the comments below!