I know we’ve all heard it before, whether it’s in class or our first day on the job, about the importance of following up with potential leads. Yet, so often, we tend to forget. No, I’m not talking about being the pesky salesperson that calls every hour to see if you’ve changed your mind; I’m talking about checking in regularly to see how you may be of assistance. As salespeople, we tend to become so wrapped up in the idea of instant gratification that we let potential opportunities slip through our finger tips. Yes, it’s true. We are humans and humans tend to forget; however, with so much technology, that’s no longer a valid excuse. Save a memo, add it to your electronic to-do list with an alarm, put it in your smartphone’s calendar, add it to your Outlook calendar, write it down on your fridge, put a Post-It on the back of your hand, it doesn’t matter how to do it — do it!
We’re often trained to categorize our leads into these basic categories: cold, warm and hot. So often, we jump to the hot leads because we feel they’re ready to commit in that moment. As a result, other leads are thrown into a pile of “another day”. With that, another day turns into another day and in turn, turns into another week, month or even year! Treat each lead as if they’re “hot” because they may be depending on how you handle them. People love to feel valued. If they feel ignored, they may just ignore you. You’ve worked so hard for that lead, don’t let it slip away. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about calling everyday until they ask to be placed on your Do-Not-Call List. I’m talking about carefully spaced-out, yet time-responsive efforts. You need to be calculated. The beauty of technology is the ability to compose an email, text or even voicemail and send it at a scheduled time and date. With this, it still gives a personal touch but allows you to run multiple facets of your business while chasing that hot lead.
Many wonder if a person is truly interested, do you really have to follow up? Yes! Yes, you do for these very simple reasons: 1) they’re human and 2) they’re human. The first part goes back to the initial statement that humans tend to forget. Being forgetful doesn’t always signify a person’s desire. Life gets in the way. People become busy. It’s not their job to track you down or they simply could have lost your contact information.
Secondly, because they are humans, they may also be skeptical and testing you. Let’s face it: at some point, we are all someone’s lead. Do you eagerly buy from everyone that approaches you? If you answered yes, I’m sure that salespeople love you; however, I’m sure a great portion of you said no. Besides the fact that many people like to do research before making a commitment, most people buy from people because they’re buying into that person. In today’s market, there is always competition. So what sets you aside from everyone else? You!
In ordered to feel reassured, people need to know that you have their best interest in mind, that you’re knowledgeable and that you’re not just looking for a quick buck. You have to treat people how you want to be treated. Sales is a relationship-business. People learn and grow with you. When conducting follow-ups, don’t just call for the “kill”. Take a few moments to make sure you’ve addressed any concerns and most importantly, if you say you’re going to do another follow-up, do it!
Personal story: last year, I began looking into other business opportunities. It wasn’t because I hated my job. I just needed something productive to do with my spare time. I was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to meet others and have fun! I called around and emailed several companies. Of the companies, one lady responded with generic message but the other tried setting an appointment. She had an event that evening and we had to reschedule. I never heard back from her. About 5-6 weeks AFTER our missed appointment, she emailed stating she’s been so busy and she wanted to help me get started. I guess I fell through the cracks. I politely informed her since the inquiry I’ve joined another company, made #1 in sales for new representatives and have even began recruiting for the company! Of course, it wasn’t music to her ears or eyes but it just shows that just because a person isn’t chasing you down, doesn’t mean they’re not ready. You could miss out on your diamond in the rough. If you’ve only taken one thing from this, please let it be: the fortune is in the follow-up. Continue to build relationships and show everyone how you’d want to be treated. It may take longer to close a sale or even shorter, but persistence is key.
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