Friday, October 30, 2009

QUICK TIP: Always give an F.U.

Generally speaking, a good F.U. is a smart move. Sometimes, you might even do it twice.

Every single one of us is busy, especially those of us in sales. But what about the people that we call on? They are even busier and that's why a F.U. (follow up) is crucial to closing deals.

Have you ever heard of a "one call close"? You know, you call on a potential client and they agree to a deal the first time you talk. These are incredibly rare. No one closes a substantial deal without establishing trust and this requires more than one interaction. The problem is, no matter how sweet the deal you offer them, you will be forgotten about 10 minutes after you walk out the door. Don't expect a call back - ever. It's nothing personal. Just the way things work.

This is why you must get aggressive. The second you walk out of your meeting or hang up the phone, schedule your first follow up. Put it in your calendar and then move on to your next sales call. But make sure you follow up.

Then, after your first follow up (call, appointment, email, etc.) schedule your next one.

Keith Rosen wrote an interesting article on the follow up. His point is don't just say "Hi, we spoke before. What's up?" He states have a purpose. And while I don't recommend making it as cheesy and scripted as some of the examples, the point is good. I suggest using the follow up to create some urgency.

Here's my strategy. The first phone call or meeting is just me qualifying the person, making sure I'm not wasting my time. But assuming that there is potential, my first follow up will be about 3 days later with a phone call (this doesn't count the summary email I send immediately following our meeting). At that point I'm trying to answer questions that have come up, addressing any questions they have and trying to get a date to close any deal we might be working on (this includes securing an event, contracting a website or whatever). This simple process continues until one of the following: we close the deal, they tell me no (which is the next best answer to yes) or I decide that this deal will not happen. Regardless of the outcome, it all happens by giving a sincere F.U.

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