..all while decreasing stress and increasing results.
Yes, believe it or not, there is one simple strategy, one strategy that is so easy, that when you do it, it will not only drive sales, it will simultaneously decrease the stress and pressure you feel to attract clients and close more business.
Just this week, I put this strategy into place, did it three times, and with very little effort I created three strong business opportunities; and I closed three great pieces of business, putting me in a strong position for 2015. So what is this sure fire strategy?
Now it is not exciting, it is not sexy and it is not anything you have not heard before, but this one simple strategy is to follow-up! Listen, if sales is stressing you out, if you are not closing enough business and you truly need to drive sales, then the chances are, lack of follow-up is the reason. Research and statistics prove that the business goes to the professional that stays in the game, the one that bothers to stay in touch and the one who follows-up.
Let me give you a little background, and then let me show you how easy follow-up is! The research is so strong, multiple studies have shown that eighty percent of prospects are only willing to buy after five interactions with their sales professional, yet most sales professionals give up after the second or third contact. In addition, fewer than eight percent of sales professionals close eighty percent of the sales simply because they stay in touch. Meaning they are not smarter, do not sell a better product, do not have some secret sales strategy, they just follow-up. That’s all!
So if follow-up is so powerful and gets such a strong return on investment, why do we not do it? Well, I am not sure anyone has studied that, but I have my own theories. One, I think we do not follow-up because when our prospect does not buy immediately, we tend to think our prospect is not interested; or two, we do not want to be annoying. Yes, very good reasons, yet neither one is valid.
First, what do you think the chances are of you timing your first call on a prospect at the exact moment they want your product or service? Slim to none, right? I would guess that none of your prospects got up this morning, got on their knees, and asked the universe to send them a sales person today. Meaning your prospects, especially business people, are busy! While they may want, need and have a strong interest in your product, they need time to think about it, build trust with you, and decide where on their priority list you fit.
Second, yes, if you call me every six weeks and ask me if I am ready to buy your product or service then guess what you are right, you are annoying. But following up is not about pushing your prospect to make a decision; it is about building relationships and adding value. Geez, give your prospects breathing room, if after the second contact with them they are not closing the deal (and chances are they will not) this is a clue you need to step back and invest more in the relationship. You need to establish creative and innovative ways to stay in touch with prospects that will continue to keep you on top of their mind, and allow you to advance the relationship. Yes, you have to build relationships if you want to drive sales!
Now the last reason we avoid following up, is because we are not sure how to do it. Somewhere, somehow, we have made it this complicated system or process, that has to result in our achieving some sort of result or goal. Again, back-up, take a load off, lets make this fun!
Drum roll please! The Dummies Guide To The Art of Follow-up: Here is how I follow-up, here is how I got three great business opportunities; here is how I closed three great pieces of business:
- I committed myself to reach out to one prospect each week and one existing client (with whom I wanted to do more business)
- I reached out via phone, then email (because no one answers the phone anymore) and scheduled time with each:
a. One phone – Texas client
b. One SKYPE – Canadian client
c. One In person – NC client
- Had a conversation with no expectation of generating opportunity – truly interested in who they are, what their business is doing
- Asked great open ended questions, let them talk first, so they felt heard
- Gave them an update on me, only after they asked, was upbeat, confident, passionate about my work
- They asked if I could help them with a project they were doing – all three – without me asking. Yes, I heard the need, but before I could say anything, they brought it up
I find, over and over again, this is how follow-up works, when you do it and do it correctly. Now, you do need to manage your reputation, do a great job and deliver and exceptional product. But when you have that, and you combine it with a powerful, consistent follow-up process, then the business will roll in. If you want to drive sales, decrease the stress of your job, and increase results then follow the follow-up rules. Then, sit back and enjoy as your prospects turn into clients, and your clients into Champions! You will have all you need to put yourself in a position to Win In The Trust & Value Economy. (check out my online course for more tips & resources!)