You’ve had a fruitful series of phone calls, email exchanges and meetings with a potential client, and it seems as if they’re ready to head back to the office, read your professionally-done business proposal and sign your contract. Now, you just have to wait for the business to come in.
But hold on a minute – your work on this sale isn’t done yet. As the old adage goes, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. Any seasoned sales pro knows that “the fortune is in the follow-up”.
This sales strategy may be the most important element of closing the deal.
Here are the key reasons on why making follow-ups a sales strategy can ultimately boost your close rate.
During the initial sales process, you worked hard to build trust with the prospect, establishing rapport, building value and taking a solutions-oriented approach to serving the prospect.
You wanted them to feel comfortable spending money with you, and that you are the right choice to meet their needs.
Maintaining contact during your prospect’s “consideration phase” (and even after a contract is signed) keeps that trust high and lets them know that you care. This makes it more likely for you to have happy clients who will stick around for a while, giving you a high lifetime value per client.
Often times, clients don’t tell you when they’re not completely happy with the products or services they receive. Instead, they let things build up until they become disgruntled (and even resentful), eventually leaving your company.
By following up with clients and taking a proactive (not reactive) approach during and after the sales process, you create extra touchpoints to check and see if they’re pleased with your service or if there is an issue you may need to address.
Being able to head these potential problems off before they become big issues can save you from losing customers and preserve your business.
By following up early and often, you’ll be exposed to more of those sticky client questions so you can get the right answers
If you’re frequently talking to your clients after the sales process, and you’ve helped solve some of their problems, they’ll be happy with your service and will be more likely to recommend you to their friends who need a similar service. This creates a steady stream of referral traffic, which is an incredibly reliable, highly profitable source of new business.
For every new customer that comes in from an advertisement or your website, you’ve had to spend something to get that person there. Whether it was actual money spent on the advertisement or time in putting together a great website, your company had to pay in some way to acquire that customer.
Referrals, however, are virtually free. You’re just doing your job of providing great service to a current customer, and they do the work for you of selling their friend to your company.
As a salesperson, you’re great at selling. Some people may even call themselves “closers.” But when it comes to ongoing customer care and nurturing, many sales reps fall short.
Even if a potential client asks you a bunch of questions during the sales process, there’s no way that a few passes through the sales funnel can teach you what you need to know about nurturing a client-vendor relationship, or everything you need to know to be able to fully communicate with those clients.
By following up early and often, you’ll be exposed to more of those sticky client questions so you can get the right answers and file the information away for later. As you answer more and more of those questions, you’ll learn more about your company and the client experience, making you more adept at answering questions and selling your service.
When it comes to ongoing customer care and nurturing, many sales reps fall short
Part of what makes follow-up so difficult for a lot of salespeople is that they’re busy. They have a lot going on and it can be hard to schedule one more thing into their day.
However, scheduling your follow-up with clients, even if it’s a quick email or phone call, is key to making sure you execute on it.
On your calendar, block out a certain time every week to follow-up with clients, both prospective and current. Keep lists of which clients you need to touch base with each month, and once you’ve talked to someone, put them back at the bottom of your list.
By making an appointment with yourself to complete all your client follow-up, you’re less likely to push it aside and let those clients go uncontacted.
About the Author: Aaron Beashel is the Head of Marketing for Qwilr, a software company that helps businesses create proposals, sales- and marketing documents as responsive webpages.