Follow-up part 1 – Before the sale

April 25, 2009

How do you follow-up with your prospects?

Most sales people I know make one call back and then they are done.  Maybe a try later in the year, but nothing of significance.  People just miss the point that sales is all about timing.  You have to be in front of someone when they are ready to buy and believe it or not, there is a good chance that the first time you meet someone, won’t be the day they are ready to buy.

Here’s what I suggest.

1.  First time you meet someone, really talk to them about their needs.  If your product or service is what they are looking for, put them in your sales funnel and begin regular follow-ups.

2.  One of the first follow-ups that I like to send is a simple email with my contact info.  Even if I give out my card to them, I want them to have an email in their inbox saying, “Hi, just thought I would send you my contact info.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”

3.  My next follow-up is often a combination of email and phone call.  I want to get a phone meeting with them.  Sometimes the best way to do this is to call, but often, its faster to just send a note.  The reason for the email is that people asr shifting away from taking calls.  They will return an email 80% of the time.  The goal of this follow-up is to get that first call.  I call it a discovery call.  I just want to make sure we can help them and give them a ballpark on pricing.  Depending on what I’m selling, another call comes after this one for more technical information or a deep dive approach into their specific business problem.

4.  The deep dive call is usually next.  There are often a few emails and calendar appointments to get this setup.  But a deep dive call into their business challenge is a great place to built rapport with your prospect.

5.  Once you have the deep dive done, it’s usually time for a quote.  This is a simple step, but depending on your industry, it should be performed in different ways.  If you are selling a consulting service, I prefer to do this in person and go for the close in that meeting.  If you are looking at online services or something that requires multiple department approval, you are going to generate a paper quote.  One of the things to really focus on in this phase is to give a brief description of your company, some powerful testimonials, and a clear concise quote that is easy to understand.

6.  Once your client has a quote, you need to schedule a call that afternoon or the next day to walk through the quote with them.  That way you are right back infront of them working with them. 

7.  If your client doesn’t close in step 6, you need to set another call to discuss what it will take to close.

8.  This is the point where people typically fall off sharply.  If your client doesn’t close, this is the point that can make or break you.  I setup a reminder to touch base weekly for about a month.  Just use your judgement at this point.

9.  After a month of follow-up, I tend to move folks to a once a month follow-up.  After that, I move them to quarterly, and then yearly follow-up.  A lot of my customers come out of this.  I’ve been in front of them for 6 months or year and now the time is right for them to buy.

10.  I also do my best to make notes about my clients.  The things they like, dislike, etc.  If I see an article or news tidbit that would relate to them, I forward that to them in email with a simple note to say that this made me think of them.  I also make note of where people are in the world.  When hurricanes or other storms hit the area that I have a client in, I send them a note to see how they are.  Is there anything I can do for them?  Do they just need someone to talk to to cheer them up?  These are the things that truly matter to clients and will make you stand out from anyone else selling what you sell.

One of the major points to keep in mind here is that this process is meant to be back to back and really fast.  You want as much contact with your potential client as possible in those first few days and weeks.  This will give you the best chance at closing.

In part 2 of this, I will go into how critical it is to follow-up after the sale.

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Honor for those in charge

April 23, 2009

I was recently in a meeting where someone brought up respect for leadership.  One of the main points was that leadership or owners of a company should be respected at all times.  I think some folks confuse respect or honor with the idea that they should not stand up to leaders.

Here’s a bit of scripture to back up what they were saying:

1 Timothy 6:1 says, All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.  Those who have believing masters are not to show them less respect for them because they are brothers.  Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear t them.  These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.

So it’s clear from that passage that whether you serve a leader or boss who is a believer or who isn’t, that they are worthy of respect and honor.  What people tend to miss is just beyond this in that same chapter.

Here’s 1 Timothy 6:17 – Command those who are rich in this present world no to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Paul is preaching a twofold message here.  1.  Honor those who are over you.  2.  Command them to put their hope in God, do good, and be generous.  It’s a powerful message that commands us to watch over our leaders and help them make the right decisions.

One of the things most people miss about the bible is that not following it’s commandments/laws is disobedience. and disobedience is sin.  So it is actually sinful to not honor your boss.  It is also just as sinful to not correct or guide them.  That’s a whole other post for another day.


Small Things Done Consistently

April 22, 2009

Most people think you have to make big changes in life and business in order to see any value.  That’s typically why people just don’t make any changes.  It’s called resistance to change or excuses.  All of my research on this topic shows that it’s the small changes that we commit to each day, week or month; that really make a difference. 

For example, most people who want to get in shape, start with wanting to exercise and hour or two a day.  They do this for a few month or until they get into shape and then they usually quit.  However, people who get back into exercise with 30 minutes 3 times a week are 75% more likely to continue exercising for years.

I think people go into overload when they try to overdue it.  I see this in business a lot.  People will sit down and list out everything wrong with their business and the 150 things they need to change.  They make a list, check it twice and then never really implement anything.  They may get to a few things, but overall, they don’t accomplish much of the list.  It would be much easier to take the list and commit to working on 2 things a month.  By the end of the year at that pace, you would have 24 things crossed off your list.  Maybe more.

The same goes for other tasks in your life or business.  Here’s another great example.  I have a client who hates paperwork.  He saves it each quarter for one long weekend where he locks himself in his office and just hammers it out.  Now there is a lot wrong with this picture.  1.  He hates the paperwork   2.  the paperwork is very valuable to his business  3.  It costs him money to delay the paperwork  4.  It takes up an entire weekend he could be spending with his family.

So here is what we decided he would do.  I asked him to commit 30 minutes a week to his paperwork.  If he was feeling generous, I suggested taking a whole hour per week.  What he found was that he was staying on top of the paperwork in just 15 minutes a week.  What he didn’t realize was that he kinda forgot how to do the paperwork each quarter and had to spend some time retraining himself and getting organized each quarter on things.  But with his new approach, he stayed organized and was on top of things.  He also found a 10% increase is profitability and more time with his family just by committing to 30 minutes a week.

One last thing.  In every race, the winner comes in just a fraction of a second in front of the rest of the pack.  They don’t come in miles ahead.  Just a fraction of a second.    Keep that in mind the next time you are bogged down with huge task in front of you.  Just focus on accomplishing something small each time you approach the task and you will make a world of difference over the course of a month, year, or years.