What is your follow-up strategy?

July 3, 2014

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

In previous NAIDnotes posts, I have discussed how important it is to stand apart from the crowd of “shred-a-likes” in order to not blend in with your competitors. Unfortunately, an area that I see many sales professionals and owners blending in with their competition is the post-call follow up, also known as the “post-game strategy.”

One of the biggest mistakes that are made by sales professionals in this area is when they follow up with a prospect; they have nothing creative or of real value to share with him or her. It’s basically just a waste of time for both the sales professional and prospect.

Here are some examples of how the wrong way a stereotypical salesperson follows up:

  • “Hey, Mrs. Prospect this is Dufus. I’m just calling to follow up.” (Wow, that’s real creative!)
  • “Hello, I’m just calling to touch base.” (What game are we playing? Baseball? More like hide and go seek!)
  • “I’m just calling to see if you have any questions about our service.” (This is not as bad as the other two but too similar to everyone else’s.)

The key to following up with your prospects is to be different, smart and creative. You also have to have something of value to share with them. Ask yourself, Is this call worth the prospect’s time? The main goal of the follow-up call is to re-ignite the sale. Are you accomplishing that goal? Keep in mind, it’s also important to make sure that you never send a proposal to someone without making a firm commitment for a follow-up appointment.

Here are some helpful hints for a more successful follow-up strategy:

  • Be creative
  • Create and provide them something of value
  • Gain their interest
  • It’s not about you. It’s about them!
  • Do something different than the Shred-A-Like Co.
  • Provide them with new ideas to grow their business
  • Send them something they have a personal interest in (like a certain book about their favorite topic, sports team, musician, etc.)
  • Send a handwritten thank you card or some sort of unique follow-up card
  • Call them to “continue the previous conversation you had” not to “touch base”
  • Use LinkedIn to stay connected
  • Add them to your monthly newsletter list

Following up is not about having a selling environment. It’s about creating a buying environment. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Be attentive, be creative, and surprise them with useful information in order to build a long-lasting relationship, not just a customer.