We have situations that we cannot control as they are in the customer´s court and that we are sure to encounter more than once.
As salespeople, we know that prospecting and following up with potential clients becomes an art and absorbs a great part of our time, we also have situations that we cannot control since they are in the "court" of the clients.
For example, what do you do when a potential client tells you that he is interested in what you have offered but never calls you? do you insist or wait?
Imagine this situation: it took you a long time to get the meeting with that potential client and finally everything went well. You have listened to what he has to say, you have realized his need and it fits perfectly with what you have to offer, you have told him about your services, your methodology and you have answered everything he has asked. The meeting has been a success but your prospect asks you for a few days to think about it, or simply needs to solve a few questions to return to the chat with you and even though several days have passed you have not heard from him.
Then you think: "How long should it take for me to get back in touch with him? I don´t want to make a nuisance of myself in front of this client, but I´m so anxious", "should I call him or not" or "should I send him an email".
Do you feel identified with these phrases? Surely it has happened to you not only with one but with several potential clients, in different occasions. If so, these tips will help you a lot.
Tip #1. Start by getting rid of the cold door sale.
The "cold door sale" as the name implies is figuratively appearing in front of your potential customers or prospects who really haven´t shown any prior interest and that's why it becomes one of the most difficult. I know that if you are a born salesman, you will be thinking that you would not be an exceptional salesman if you did not use it, if you are not one of them, if you are a professional, avoid talking to people who are not interested in what you have to offer, it is clear that they are not our target.
If you have doubts, think about how you felt the last time you got a phone call offering you a credit card you had never even thought of buying (you even wonder how they got your number), or they knocked on your door on a Saturday morning to offer you a collection of dictionaries you don´t need. It´s been uncomfortable being on the other side as a "potential customer" when you really just want to hang up or close the door and go about your business.
Do you understand now?
Tip #2. Following up is your job, not the customer´s.
When you´ve actually had a sales meeting with a potential client interested in your services, you probably also have to keep doing your homework to follow up with this person through a CRM, even if they´ve told you they "have to think about it".
I know that many people say "if your client is really interested, he will look for you even under the rocks" and many times it is true. However, it is also true that in other cases your potential client is busy not only with his current situation (that´s why he is considering you to help him solve it) but also with other circumstances in his life. Maybe he doesn´t want to completely forget about you and his deal but the situation is really getting the better of him. So, a follow-up call or email will put you back on his map and it will be easier for him to take 5 minutes to get back to you.
Tip #3. You don´t want to come off as a " pushy" person. Be specific about what will happen after the meeting.
One way not to be annoying is to ask your potential client to tell you when he will be able to give you an answer or what procedure he must follow to make the decision (sometimes the decision is not personal, the client must consult with the family or it is a corporate decision that goes through several levels and not only does it depend on him, it takes time).
When you motivate potential customers to be specific in the steps to be taken, you are also being specific in the steps you will take next. For example, if a prospect tells me "I have to think about it" I usually ask "when do you think you´ll be able to give me an answer?" If the person is really responding to me conscientiously (and doesn´t just want to end the conversation because they´re not interested but are "embarrassed" to say it directly) they will evaluate their schedule to see when is a good time to respond to me. If your potential client is about to leave on a trip and will be away for the next few days, it will be good for you to know this so you won´t be checking your email daily waiting for a response.
Tip #4. Follow up "yes", desperately beg "no": Be independent of the result.
With all of the above, you're sure to have already identified which leads converted and who all along had real interest among those who, even if you persisted, you didn´t and wouldn´t get anywhere.
Follow-up with prospective customers
Now that you have learned to focus on customers who actually demonstrate a certain line of interest with your service, you can become independent of the outcome and put together a procedure for post-meeting follow-up with your prospects.
How to achieve it? Determine how many interactions (calls, visits, emails, for example, and with what content: question, suggestion, reminder, etc.) and of what type you will have with your potential customers after that sales conversation in which you have offered your service and everything went so well. A well put together procedure will improve your natural state of anxiety and help you take it more calmly. focus on what you can control and don´t worry too much about what you can´t, such as the disappearance you feel for your prospect.
Tip #5. What if he disappears? wish him luck! think it was the best thing for both of you.
I know you´re thinking, "that´s easy to say but doing it isn´t."
A person who tells you yes, that he will hire your service, that he wants you to help him must also show a commitment to the task he will have to perform (unless he has delegated everything to you and he is trusting that everything is being taken care of even though he is traveling).
If after designing a proper follow-up procedure for your prospects (that solves issues like punctual problems he might have had, how busy he is and couldn´t answer you, his daily complications that made him completely forget what he had said) this client doesn´t come back to you saying "yes" or "I´m sorry, A or B came up and I can´t continue with this idea", you were definitely not going to be able to do a good job with this prospect.
So, forget about it, go back to focusing on other prospects who are waiting for you to help them here and now, let this person solve their problems and when they feel the time is right, they will probably come back to you for consultation.
Sound harsh? Maybe, but remember:
Being of service to your clients does not mean pandering to them in everything they can think of, It means giving them the best service you have to offer and that they value to help them achieve what they alone could not. If it requires commitment on your part, I assure you that your client will have to put in a lot of theirs as well.
Closing Potential Customers
Following up on leads plays an important role in sales and is something you should definitely standardize to save time and not spend it on a customer who really doesn´t have the same interest in your product as you have for him.
Follow these simple tips and tell us your story. Has it ever happened to you that after a very good sales meeting your potential customer seems to have gone to another planet? what have you done to follow up with this or other customers? what other practices do you suggest to deal with potential customers?
Upnify´s Editorial Team; formed by professionals and experts in Marketing, Sales, Communication, Design and other areas. They share their experience through articles enriching the commercial culture.