Kelley Robertson can’t believe how few salespeople follow up after they’ve made initial contact with a prospect or a customer. The president of Burlington, Ont.-based Robertson Training Group says it’s such a neglected act that you can actually differentiate yourself from the competition by making the effort. “Don’t take it for granted that they’ll call you,” he says in his 2007 book The Secrets of Power Selling. If you’re not great at following up, you may be using one of the rationalizations Robertson outlines in his book:
- You don’t want to appear pushy. Following up too frequently can definitely come across as pushiness, but it’s not a reason not to follow up. You simply need to find a happy balance. A weekly call is more than enough to keep in touch, providing your call is short and to the point. Provide some added value in your follow-up call whenever possible; this may give your prospect a reason to choose you over a competitor.
- You always seem to forget or you’re just too busy. You may have every intention of calling a prospect but you get caught up in other business. The solution: treat each follow-up call like it’s a scheduled appointment. Enter it into your calendar and treat it like it’s un-cancelable.
- You think the customer will call you if they’re interested. Not always true! A lack of response can simply mean the prospect got busy or hasn’t made up his or her mind.
- You are afraid of rejection. Many people who sell for a living would rather let a lead fall through the cracks than face a direct rejection. Unfortunately, this is not the way to maximize sales. All you can do is embrace the possibility of rejection and follow through.