The Art of Follow-up
Salesperson “A” has many opportunities, and he seems to be able to move through the sales process effortlessly and simultaneously. On paper he doesn’t appear to be any more talented or intelligent than any of his peers, but he closes more deals than his peers.
Salesperson “B” is full of confidence and charisma and people naturally like him. He knows and understands the customer base and his product knowledge is good. But his sales pipeline is weak and he closes few deals.
The two salespeople work for the same company in similar territories, selling the same products for the same prices. Why the difference in sales? What would cause two individuals to achieve such different results? It might have something to do with the art of follow-up.
Salesperson “B” is always talking on the phone or texting someone, but he doesn’t have an organized system that triggers the next action. As a result, things get missed and slip through the cracks. Oftentimes he has a hard time connecting with his prospects. Because he calls randomly, he needs to call multiple times before he can connect. Or, he shows up at an unscheduled time. This leaves the impression that he is a pushy salesman.
Salesperson “A” makes regular updates on progress with opportunities. He sets up tasks and reminders and schedules meetings. He is not pushy or offensive, but more professionally persistent. When he does follow-up, he asks a specific set of questions to continue to further qualify the opportunity. He knows that if he follows a defined set of follow-up steps over time he will close more deals. He keeps his funnel full, but focuses on what he can convert.
With every step in his process and with every interaction, he is able to build report and confidence with the customer, and they begin to view him more and more as a professional.
If you are a business owner and want to increase sales this year, I suggest you find a good customer relationship management system and begin using it. You should also try to analyze the sales process, dissect each step and try to help your sales staff recognize where they are in the engagement so they will begin to know what to do next. Set up a system for following up at each stage. Insist that your staff use a calendar to schedule calls and meetings and watch your sales begin to go up.
Chad Simkins is vice president of Pleotint and vice president of sales for Thompson IG. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.