What are some rules of making successful follow up calls to prospects?
A few of concepts:
Continuation vs. Advance. (This is described in the book “SPIN Selling” – http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selli…). An advance progresses the sale whereas a continuation simply maintains the sale in its current state.
For example… In an advance, you talked with a prospect last week and you both agreed that the prospect would talk with her to team set up a product demo for everyone on her team. In your follow up call, you and prospect nail down a time (“next Tues at 10am”) and process for delivering the demo (“via WebEx”.). In this same scenario, a continuation would be a call to that same prospect and she tells you that she’s been really busy since your last call and hasn’t had a chance to talk to the team, but asks you to try her again next week. Alternately, a voicemail to your prospect would also be a continuation. The sales conversation is still open, but you’re still in the same spot as you were following your initial call a week ago.
Prepare a script. For even the simplest of calls, be prepared with exactly what you want to communicate.
Remember, in every conversation there is:
- What you wanted to say;
- What you think you said;
- What you said;
- What the prospect heard.
Have a Sales Question?
Grab a time to chat with Scott here.
Avoid ambiguity as to the reason for your call. The lazy approach leads to non-action.For example, you’ve agreed to follow up via phone with a prospect.
Lazy: You lead with “I’m calling to follow up on our call from last week…” This is weak and cedes control of the sales conversation.
Strong: “We talked last week and I promised to gather more information about our product specs on the Wizz-Bang-Doo-Dad-ameter and you were going to check on budgets for the next quarter. I’ve got the product specs after sitting with our product specialist.”
Give yourself permission to call back again. This is a big mistake I see often. You’ve talked to the prospect last week and agreed you would talk again this week. You get voicemail in your follow up call and the message left is “Hi, this is Scott with ABC Software. We said we’d talk this week to discuss next steps. Give me a call when you have a chance at 415-555-1212…”
Instead, the message should be “Hi, this is Scott with ABC Software. We said we’d talk this week to discuss next steps. Because I’ve missed you, I’ll try you again this afternoon at 4pm and if we don’t connect today, expect a call at 8:30am tomorrow. In the meantime, you can reach me at 415-555-1212…”
The same principle applies in follow up emails. As you close your outbound email, give yourself permission to call again – “Thanks for your time. I’ll give you a call on Friday morning at 10am if you’re not able to reply back to this email by then.”
Check out Michael Pedone at Salesbuzz.com. He specializes in phone sales and techniques: http://www.salesbuzz.com/free-demo/
**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.