This may seem like common sense but is the biggest mistake people make in sales and marketing. Most sales don’t happen instantly. Follow up is imperative because a relationship is built over time. The reason people buy National brands is because they are bombarded with advertising, so when it comes time to make a choice, it seems familiar.
Don’t be surprised when people don’t “buy” from you the first time. Meetings (from 1-on-1′s to larger venues) are effective, and much better for closing than a quick introduction, because they typically provide enough information to allow a prospective buyer to make an informed decision. Some people will still tell you “I need to do a little more research”, and that’s okay. Just ask them what information they are specifically looking for, in order to reach their decision. This is where the “follow up” comes into play. If they need more information, and you never send it to them, you may lose them. What if they go home, do tons of research, get excited and you don’t follow up? You may lose them, or worse, lose them to someone else.
Let’s get to the statistics, and I LOVE statistics!! Here is the reality:
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts!!
ONLY 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact!!!
What does this teach you? That you absolutely need to follow up, in every situation, and my advice is, follow up, follow up, follow up, until you close them on yes, or they flat out tell you no. Even if they say no, ask them if you may check back with them in the future. You never know why people don’t buy. It could be mood, financial situation, validation, exposure, etc. I can’t tell you how many people have said “no” to me, only to buy from me down the road. Slow exposure, newsletters, email branding, and social networks are all great ways to “slowly drip” on your warm market. If you are selling nutrition, weight loss, or skin care products, sometimes results are visible or measurable, and that may be enough for someone to change their mind in the future. If you’re selling services like Insurance, Real Estate, Mortgages,etc, people who are happy with your service may refer you to friends and family. Just one positive testimony from a friend or family member can be extremely powerful. That’s why word of mouth marketing is so powerful.
How should you follow up? The most effective way is face to face. 93% of why people “buy” from you is your posture and tone of voice. Only 7% is facts. That’s why people who sell the same products or services can have completely different results – the success is in how the message is presented, not necessarily the message. This is why Fortune 500 companies send in highly skilled Sales Representatives of their companies in person to close deals. There’s something very powerful about looking into someone’s eyes and shaking their hand, that builds rapport.
Phone calls are my second choice. Obviously face to face is only convenient for those who are geographically near you. If you can’t get your prospect face to face, let them hear the passion and belief in your voice. It is still very easy to build rapport on the phone. Here are some tips:
Smile – it comes through. Say their name. A person’s name is the most beautiful sound in the world to them. Listen to their needs. Instead of selling your products or services, listen to them, and their needs, until you hear the reasons why they may want them. Plan future contacts. Before you hang up, set up another time to talk, then make sure you follow up!!
Emails are my absolute LAST choice and should only be used for relaying facts, reminders, newsletters, event information and keeping people informed on the newest information about your products or services. DO NOT use email to “sell” your business, products or service. Think about it. When was the last time you used a Hair stylist, or Realtor, or Plumber or purchased something that that sent you spam?? For me, NEVER. I usually ask for referrals or hire people I know and trust. Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of advertising because it’s based on relationships – something that big companies don’t have. That’s why they spend millions in advertisement.
The key message here is if you are not following up, you are leading hundreds, thousands or possibly tens of thousands of dollars in sales on the table. Following up is very professional, and people appreciate the personalized service. People are busy, and won’t always contact you, even if they are strongly interested in what you are offering.
Try following up this week with people who you have talked to about your products, business or services. You may be surprised at the positive experience and who knows, you may close some sales!
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To your success,