Up on Sales Leads
It is rare that a
sale is made after an initial contact with a prospect, especially for
any large ticket item or service. Customers buy on their schedule and
it is the job of the sales person to stay in touch with the prospect during
the sales cycle. Here are some ways to maintain contact throughout what
can be a long sales process.
Make sure your
message has value for the prospect.
One of the keys to successful follow up is making sure your message in
the follow up has value. A contact, by phone, letter or visit that conveys
"have you decided yet" is often intrusive to the prospect and
seldom successful. A better message conveys appreciation for your interest,
responding to any questions or your interest in the prospect's success.
- The telephone is often the most common tool used to stay in touch with
a prospect. It can also be one of the most frustrating tools to use. Often
the prospect is unavailable or busy. In either case, you should be prepared.
If you do connect with the prospect, express your appreciation for his
or her time and deliver your message clearly.
Which of the following
- Hello, Mrs. Jones.
I was calling to follow up on your request for information on our new
- Good morning, Mrs.
Jones. Thank you for taking my call. I promise to be brief. I would
like to describe some additional benefits of using our new widget."
- You must also be prepared to leave a message (especially with voice
mail) that conveys the same impression. Consider the following:
"Good morning Mrs. Jones. I am sorry we are unable to speak directly.
I wanted to offer some additional thoughts on how our new widget may increase
the efficiency of your manufacturing process. I will drop some materials
in the mail today. If you would like the information immediately, please
call me at 800-234-9876. I expect to be available all day today. If we
don't connect, please leave a message indicating when would be the most
convenient time for me to phone you. Thank you.
E-mail - Using
electronic communication can be efficient and effective. By its nature,
it conveys a sense of speed and urgency. It also has become the communication
method of choice of many busy people. While e-mail tends to be less formal
than the written word, make sure your e-mails are grammatically correct
and conform to some e-mail etiquette standards. That means using complete
sentences, avoiding unneeded capital letters and avoiding using too much
bold type. Also make sure to include information on how to contact you.
Be sure your e-mail
message adds value. Using a hyperlink to additional information on your
product makes it convenient for the prospect to learn more. You may also
want to include links to some other part of the Internet where you have
found something that may be of interest to the prospect. For instance,
if you read some industry publications, you may want to send an e-mail
with a link to an article on your prospect's business.
Mail - The
written word still has a place in our electronic world. Sending a short
handwritten note thanking a prospect for a meeting shows your manners
and conveys a sense of personal commitment to the prospect. You can also
use the mail show you are thinking of the prospect by sending materials
in a "for your information" form. Many successful sales people
scour trade publications to find articles that would be of interest to
their prospects. A copy of the article and a short hand written note (maybe
on the back of your business card) will remind the prospect of your continuing
interest in helping them address their important issues.
- Newsletters can be an effective way to stay in touch with large numbers
of prospects and leads. While they may be a bit expensive, if your product
or service is high-priced and usually involves a long sales cycle, they
may be worth the effort and cost. One way to make your newsletter more
valuable to the prospect is to mix information about your products/services
with other information that will help the prospect be more effective in
his or her role.
Staying in touch with prospects and leads is critical. Maintaining contact
can take many forms and will usually be more effective if it is consistent
without becoming an intrusion to the prospect. Developing a system that
includes several of these ideas and then following that system can make
the process easier and more productive.