Through my experience as an independent sales rep all these years I saw it happening again and again and again. Good salespeople putting an effort, convincing the prospect and at the end… Lose the sale. How could that happen? The answer is sad and angering at the same time.
They did not follow up, or they followed up poorly.
You put all the effort, you find the prospect, you pass the Gatekeeper, you use all your sales techniques, and at last, you have the chance to speak to him. You convince him for an online Demo, he participates in that demo, you organize a second “Go to Market and Onboarding” Plan, he agrees to the proposed slot, you have the meeting with him and at the end of the meeting, the prospect tells you: “Very nice Alex, let’s do it. Call me back next week Monday at 10:00 am, and we close the deal,” but you don’t call him, or you call him 2 days later, where he then says: “Sorry Alex, I waited for your call on Monday, but you did not call me, so I decided to go somewhere else.”
But why? Why does that happen?
There are 2 main reasons.
Salespeople are social animals, and they are very good in human understanding, understanding of details in human behavior and how they can exploit those details, those “human weaknesses” for their benefit. Salespeople are bad when it comes to organization and keeping up with dates and other things other people might find easy.
The most important reason, however, is the winning rush! Everyone that has worked in Sales knows that there is no other work that can give you this feeling other than sales. This feeling of Victory, this feeling of invincibility, of success when you close the sale. It’s not the money, nor is it the acceptance from your colleagues, it’s the feeling of victory; that feeling of victory you received the moment that your prospect said yes… with a small detail. He said yes, but he has not signed yet though, and the deal is not closed until he signs. But for the salesman, those are insignificant details, because he got the yes and once he did so, his interest in the prospect already gone, it’s a done deal. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The deal is done when the prospect signs, and he’s going to sign if you follow-up with him with religious discipline. That’s why the follow-up sales call is so important.
Let me explain.
Let’s says the prospect tells you. “OK, Alex I like your solution, call me back on Monday morning at 10:00 am, and I will give you my credit card details so that you can close the deal.
IT IS SUPER, SUPER, SUPER IMPORTANT THAT YOU CALL HIM BACK ON MONDAY AT 10:00 AM SHARP. LISTEN,… NOT AT 10:05 AM BUT AT 10:00 AM SHARP, OR EVEN BETTER AT 09:58 AM!
Why is that so important?
Because first, by being sharp and exact you show professionalism.
Secondly because… Let’s say the prospect likes your solution, he likes, and he trusts you and he has decided to go for your solution, however he is being surrounded by other competitors that offer him a similar solution, or let’s simply say he wants to purchase your solution, but he does not feel very comfortable with the amount of money that he has to give.
By not being sharp and exact on your follow up, you give him the chance to find an excuse not to buy from you. On the contrary, by being exact and sharp on your follow up call (or visit), if he is 50-50 to buy your product or solution he is not going to decide against only for the reason that he does not want to hurt you or be impolite. DO NOT GIVE YOUR PROSPECT THE ALIBI NOT TO BUY FROM YOU!
To sum it up.
A sale is divided into two main parts:
First, the sale itself, where you put all your talent, experience, effort, knowledge of the product, psychology, and effort to close it. That’s the difficult part.
Second, The follow-up communication (visit, call or email), which is the easy part, needs, however, to be pursued with Army discipline. When you follow-up, you have to be SHARP, EXACT, AND DO NOT FORGET ANY OF THE THINGS YOU PROMISED YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE THE DAY YOU FOLLOW-UP. By doing so, chances are that you are going to also officially close the deal.
Today’s world offers many tools that help you follow-up your prospect. A good CRM is an absolute must. It’s a tool that is the heart and the core of every cooperation, and the most important part of the CRM is the ability and functionality to be able to follow-up on prospects, contacts, leads, and opportunities. The good CRM is going to help you significantly organize yourself and be able to follow-up your clients and prospects effectively. In previous years I used many CRM’s; some of them good, some of them OK, and many of them crap. My personal choice of a good CRM is ZOHO. It’s stable and easy to handle software with many capabilities; it’s also reliable and very easy to use.
Also, use a calendar and put reminders, (yes plural, reminders), for the appointment you have to close the sale. YOU SHOULD NOT FORGET. A calendar is going to send you an SMS or email notification, before this important appointment that you have. So not only the CRM but also activate the alerts on your calendar to be sure you are not going to miss the appointment.