Follow-Up Success Tips

Sales Follow-Up

 

Sales follow-ups are a vital part of closing. This is where you truly make or break the deal. Every follow-up is different due to the difference in clients, so there is no definite right answer on how to go about a follow-up. We can, however, give you some general tips and tricks to help ease the follow-up process and end with a new client.

Ask the client the best way to follow up

Every client situation is different, and that means every follow-up situation can be different too. What works for one client isn’t always going to work for another. Emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. – there are a bunch of stats out there that might tell you one is better than the other for a follow-up. What you really have to keep in mind when deciding how best to follow up is the client.

The client is the only one who can answer the follow-up question with one-hundred percent accuracy. They know what form of communication they use most or what works best to reach them on. Just simply ask before the end of the conversation what form of communication is best to reach them on again. This approach will increase your follow-up percentage by using the best medium and by allowing the client the power to choose how you follow up with them. Asking the client allows them to be better prepared.

Is the client sure they don’t want to commit to your product or service right now? Still, ask what the best way to reach them is in the future. Let them know you’d like to stay in contact and will follow up with them later in the year.

Ask the client what their response rate is

Along with figuring out their best form of communication, make sure you are also setting an expectation for responsiveness. Ask how long you should expect before receiving a response through email, text, or a phone call. You should also ask if there are any special parameters to include in the follow-up, such as using the word important in a subject line or marking an email as urgent. These special cues can help you reach the client much quicker.

If you get the client to reveal how they like to be communicated with, they’ll respond much quicker. By finding their best form of communication and how long it usually takes for them to respond, you can hold them accountable much easier.

Provide valuable information to each conversation

Never call a prospective client just to touch base. You need to add new and valuable information each time you follow up with a client. Each time you talk to the client, you want to be able to bait them into wanting to learn more. Simply calling just to ask if they’ve made a decision yet is not effective.

Follow-ups are where your conversation summary and research come in handy. Explain more in-depth how your company can help them, features you have available that fit their specific needs, value points you didn’t touch on the first time, anything that adds value for your client.

End each conversation with a clearly defined next step

Be sure to repeat back a quick outline of what you and the client just talked about and end the conversation by outlining the next steps in the process. The follow-up should be one that’s adding more information not asking when you can speak to them again. The end of the current discourse is always the best time to ask when the client has time to talk again, considering they are already on the phone and thinking about your company.

Lock them down for the next step by asking when they can meet next. This will show the client you’re excited to close a deal with them.

Summarize your conversation

This tool is to help you and the client. Lots can be said over the phone and inbetween emails. Having a nicely laid out summary of previous conversations can help jog the client’s memory but also your own.

You want the client to remember the key features of the product or service you’re selling, but you also want to remember the key aspects of the client’s business and concerns. Reiterating that you know and understand the client’s concerns and benefits of using your product/service lets the client know that you were listening and are invested in helping them.

Be persistent

If you haven’t received a response from your follow-up message, reach out again. We recommend waiting two days before sending another message. In the second message, make sure you’re still adding value. Focus on a different part of the product/service that would add value to their company.

The third times a charm, right? Give it one last two day grace period if they still haven’t responded. Make sure to again add more value and mention, in a nice tone, how you’ve tried to reach out twice already. End the message by stating how you believe your product/service can benefit their specific company. Clearly state that you are available to answer any questions or concerns they still might have.

Still haven’t received a response? Wait a longer period and try again. Allow time for their busy schedule to die down and your current messages to be considered longer. After approximately a month, reach out for a fourth time, asking if they’ve had time to look over your proposal and lay out some of the basics again, reminding them what you’ve previously discussed.

 

 

Remember, each follow-up is slightly different and the only person who knows exactly how the client is going to react is the client themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask them their thoughts on the follow-up process. As you work on your follow-up process here are some helpful facts:

  • 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact, but most reps give up after just 2. [InsideSales]
  • 83% of prospects who request information don’t buy for 3–12 months. [MarketingDonut]
  • 70% of salespeople stop at one email. Yet if you send more emails, you have a 25% chance to hear back. [YesWare]
  • Sales pros who try to reach leads in one hour are seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations. [HubSpot]
  • 35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first. [InsideSales]
  • 95% of buyers chose a company that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” [DemandGen Report]
  • On the phone, your tone is 86% of your communication. The words we actually use are only 14% of our communication. [ContactPoint]
  • The ideal voicemail message is between 8 and 14 seconds. [The Sales Hunter]
  • 33% of email recipients click on emails based on subject line alone. [Convince and Convert]

 

 


Things to consider when starting a new business

New Business

Starting a new business is fun and exciting but also challenging. There are a million things you need to consider and plan out. While this is certainly not everything, we compiled a list of topics we found most important and points people don’t always consider when starting a new business.

Start while you are still employed

New business owners are never really sure when the company will break even or make a profit. How long can you go without a reliable source of income? Finding time to work on your startup while still being employed can be difficult, but being employed means you always have a reliable source of income while you work through the startup phase.

Make sure the money is lined up

You have your source of income from still being employed, but that doesn’t mean it’s enough to get you started. Many people say to just go for it or you never will. While this is a good point, you do need to make sure you have your finances figured out first, including a backup plan. It takes a while to either save up, find somewhere that will lend you money, or get potential investors. Know where your source of money is coming from before you begin.

Know the legal requirements for starting a business

Getting the legal and tax issues correct the first time will be a huge time and money saver. It’s much more difficult and expensive to correct the flaws after you’ve already begun. Different types of businesses have different requirements. Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start.

Check out the ten steps to start your business from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Don’t procrastinate

While you might want to have every detail planned out and investigated before you start, there’s no need. You will never be able to predict exactly how your business will go so why fret about every little detail when your whole plan could blow up at the slightest change. No one ever really has all the pieces in place. You’d go crazy trying to figure out every possible route and solution. Do your research, scope out the market, have a basic plan, but don’t let perfection push you to procrastination.

Get professional help

One of the reasons people start a business is for passion and drive. Being driven and passionate, however, does not mean you’re an expert on starting a business. A lot goes into a business that people don’t generally think about such as, accounting and contracting. You’re not going to be an expert on all things business overnight. Consider hiring a professional to do such jobs. While some might forgo hiring professionals and attempt to do it themselves, they are, in the long run, wasting time and possibly money.

Absorb everything

There are others who have been in the exact same position as you, listen to them! They probably have some of the greatest advice since they know first-hand what it’s like to start a business. Smart entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes of others. Listen to your friends and family too, they know you and can help you work through things. Other people’s ideas and opinions of the business are important too as they can reflect what consumers think. As you listen and learn write things down, then take those ideas, opinions, advice, and work them out to make plans for your business.

Share your business – Put yourself out there

How are you supposed to sell your business if you don’t share your business? It can be intimidating to share your business with others, but you can’t be worried about every person’s opinion.

Talk about your business. You never know who could be listening and the connections you could make to grow your business. People like to do business and support businesses of people they know. Be bold and speak confidently. If you want your business to succeed, you need to be able to convince consumers to buy from and support your business.

Make sure you are marketing and networking constantly. Put your business out there and don’t be shy!

Don’t fixate on mistakes

Successful entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes and move on. Dwelling on your failures will get you nowhere. Anyone and everyone can tell you that in the business of creating a business, there is no room or time for self-pity. Realize your mistake, learn from it, and move on. Everyone hits roadblocks and mistakes; it’s how you react that matters.

Never stop learning and implementing new things

People are constantly changing their likes and habits. In response, the market changes. Unless you want to be left in the past, you need to be constantly adapting to the new market. Keep your eyes and ears open for new things. Are there new ways to market? A different variation you could be offering? A new target market you could capture? Listen to your customers and pay attention to your industry.

 

We hope this list helps you better plan out your new journey and follow your passion!

 


Advice for New Salespeople

Advice for young salespeople

Whether you’ve known you wanted to go into sales your whole life or you’re just now getting into it, we all have to learn somehow. If you look at a seasoned salesperson, they make it look so easy. It’s like they were just born with the natural ability to sell. Chances are, however, they were once just like you, researching how to become better at sales. Sales isn’t a magical talent you’re born with it’s something that with a lot of practice anyone can be good at.

Here are six quick tips for new salespeople to become all stars:

1. Ask questions

You will be around people who have been doing the job much longer than you have. While you might have learned all the new sales techniques, they’ve actually been doing the job. Ask questions often and learn from your peers. Many salespeople often regret not asking more questions. Make your life easier and don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t know or want to know more.

2. Get a mentor

A mentor can help speed up the learning curve. They’d act as your own personal resource. You would be able to shadow them to see them in action. A lot of people are hands on learners, and this is the perfect way to learn quickly. Listening in on phone conversations and in person pitches will give you a wealth of information to learn from. If your company doesn’t assign you a mentor don’t be afraid to ask for one.

3. Understand the clients’ perspective

Don’t get stuck in your own perspective. You will be talking to clients who are older than you that have different views and aspirations. If you fail to understand or even just respect the perspectives of other, you will battle to maintain relationships with some clients and struggle to close sales with many prospects.

4. Do your research

With understanding your clients’ perspective, you also want to understand their business. While you can’t become an expert overnight you can learn the key aspects. Being able to speak specifically to their business will not only impress your client it will also it will position you above others who can’t, giving you the advantage. Research helps you shape your pitch. Find a problem your client has and explain to them how you can solve it.

5. Don’t be an order taker

Get out in front of your customers – don’t sit back and wait for them to come to you. People like to see initiative, it shows that you value their business and want to help them succeed. Go out and find new clients on your own.

6. Don’t oversell

If you present someone with too much upfront, you can cause confusion. The client wants to know exactly what they’re getting. By pointing out too many features you can easily overwhelm them and cause them to be turned off. Keep it simple. It’s better to be great at a few things than okay at a lot of things. Point out the features that are specifically useful to them and leave out the ones that aren’t.

 

Remember to keep learning new sales techniques and implementing them into your work so you’re always improving.

 


Increase profit opportunities with STP

Segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP), the process that can help you identify and evaluate opportunities to increase sales and profits. Defining and understanding the vision or objectives of the company’s marketing strategy and the mission of the company are key factors before starting the STP process. Using a SWOT analysis, companies can find their mission. A SWOT analysis consists of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once the company mission is defined, we can go through the STP process.

STP process graphic

Let’s dig deeper into what this process means.

  1. Segmentation

    Segmentation breaks customers into groups or market segments. A market segment includes consumers who respond similarly to an organization’s marketing efforts. Each segment will have similar needs, wants, and characteristics. This makes it possible to gear your product or service specifically for them. Developing descriptions of the different segments helps an organization better understand the customers in each market segment. One organization’s product or service can have multiple segments.

    Companies can choose to break their customers down into segments through:

    • Geographic segmentation: organizes customers into groups on the basis of where they live
    • Demographic segmentation: groups consumers according to easily measured, objective characteristics such as age, gender, income, and education
    • Psychographic segmentation: how consumers describe themselves – how they spend their times and money, what activities they pursue, and their attitudes and opinions about the world in which they live
    • Benefit segmentation: groups consumers on the basis of the benefits they derive from products or services
    • Behavioral segmentation: divides customers into groups based on how they use the product or service
  2. Targeting

    This gets even more specific than your market segments. After a company has identified the various market segments for its product/service it then evaluates each segment’s attractiveness and decides which ones to pursue. This narrower focus is called a target market and it’s where the company will spend most of its marketing budget.

    Companies use the following target markets:

    • Undifferentiated targeting strategy, or mass marketing: when everyone might be considered a potential user of its product
    • Differentiated targeting strategy: target several market segments with a different offering for each
    • Concentrated targeting strategy: selecting a single, primary target market and focuses all its energies on providing a product to fit that market’s needs
    • Micromarketing or one-to-one marketing: tailoring a product or service to suit an individual customer’s want or needs
  3. Positioning

    A company must now decide how it wants to position itself within each market. This market positioning involves defining the marketing mix variables so that target customers have a clear, distinctive, desirable understanding of what the product does or represents in comparison with competing products. The positioning strategy helps communicate the firm’s or product’s value proposition, which communicates the customer benefits to be received from a product or service and thus provides reasons to purchase.

Here are some real-world examples of using STP to identify and evaluate opportunities for increasing sales and profits.

STP process graphic

Information gathered from Grewal, Dhruv, and Michael Levy. Marketing. 5th ed., McGraw Hill Education, 2017.

 

 


Let’s Make Sales Calls Less Stressful

Stressful Sales Call

If you are not a seasoned salesperson making sales calls can cause a lot of anxiety. No one wants to be a bother, and they certainly don’t want to get yelled at just for trying to reach their goals.

When you look at how essential these calls are to growing businesses and moving towards goals, we see it’s worth getting through the anxiety. If it’s something that makes our business grow or our career successful, it can’t be that bad.

So how can someone who’s just starting their business or career make sales calls less stressful?

1. Research

Learn about the client. You want to gain a solid understanding of the person, company, and industry you are going to be talking to. Make a note of details that would stand out to the client to show you put in the effort before the call. You want to fully understand your prospect’s market or industry before the first call. Also, make a note of information that would make the call more personal, things you have in common.

2. Have a plan

There’s a lot of back and forth on whether salespeople should stick to a script or not. No one ever said though that you have to read it word for word or not have one at all. It’s more so there as a guide or a plan.

Having a plan will almost always guarantee to take the nerves down. When you’re nervous, it always seems your brain won’t work quickly, already having a functioning plan written out that you can fall back on will help tremendously. It’s hard to think on the spot so just avoid it altogether.

Having your notes from your research and a plan mapped out will give you a lot more confidence and give the person on the other line more confidence in you.

3. Get comfortable

Don’t sound rushed to make a quick sale and move on, you need to settle into the call and know you are going to be on the line for a little while. Try to make the conversation comfortable for your prospect by adding in personal touches (this is where part of your research comes in handy).

While you want to explain who you are and what you have to offer, don’t dominate the conversion, listen to the prospect’s needs and wants. After your opening statement, let your prospect do most of the talking. By allowing them to do most of the talking, you can gather information on them and their needs to which you can turn around and use to your advantage later in the conversation.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself

No matter how nice and respectful you are, some people just won’t care or will act rudely towards you. It’s nothing you did, so don’t blame yourself, and especially don’t let it carry into your next call. Those people aren’t worth your worry, so chalk them off as rude and move on.