The phrase “follow up” can be defined as an activity carried out in order to further develop earlier work. For me this brings to mind the stages involved in creating a painting, or sculpture, or writing a book. For all works of art, there is a constant returning, a further development of what we’ve started.
And so it is with each of the four types of follow up. Last week we looked at the impact – and necessity – of following up with prospects as part of your cold calling practice. But what about following up after a prospect says “no” or “not now”? By far, this is the most difficult follow up practice to embrace but when you do … you’ll be astonished at the results.
As most of us know, closing a sale is all about timing. Our product or service could indeed solve our prospect’s problem, but if they have a limited budget, are going through major staff changes, are focused on a new product launch … and a myriad of other possibilities … then the answer can be “get back to us later”. And it is vital that we do!
This is the art of follow up. Once you speak to a prospect, and you confirm there is a fit, that they can indeed benefit from your product or service, it is your responsibility to return and continually develop and foster that relationship. Having a CRM (customer relationship management) system is crucial to making this happen, as is your diligence, discipline and desire to grow your business.
Still think this type of follow up is too difficult and the return limited? Well perhaps you’ll be inspired by Reg Noël.
Based in Moncton, Reg owns Reg Noël Design Inc. What began as a business focused on making concrete countertops has blossomed into a company that inspires others, at organizations big and small, through his collective art projects. (You can watch one being created here: https://vimeo.com/141685695)
Reg would certainly attribute part of his company’s growth to cold calling. His sales journey was the focus of this blog post in September 2014. And this past week he got in touch with me again, to share another stage of his journey … the incredible success he is having following up. In this own words:
I just thought I would share this with you as I think it might help others. When I started getting serious about cold calling, I made sure I would collect as much information as reasonably possible on the results of each call I placed. It’s amazing to me that by attempting to reconnect with prospects where what I offered was of no interest, one to two years later, my success rate in terms of continuing the discussion is absolutely surprising to me. I attribute this “second chance” success, to a great extent, to timing, the person is in a better mood or it’s a different person altogether. Without doing a thorough analysis, so far I estimate that 60% of previous “not interested” prospects are now reclassified as leads.
I guess the moral of this little story is that even if you weren’t successful the first time around, after enough time has elapsed and with good record keeping, more of these “second chance” prospects are interested in continuing the conversation than I would have imagined.
Enjoy your phone work everyone!