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Sales: 24 Hour Follow Up Rules

March 20, 2013

 

 

Years ago, when I was working for a European company, they had a 24 follow up rule. From my experience, most companies can increase revenues by at least 25% just by improving their follow up methods.  This simple rule changed the company I wa swith, and we increased our sales by 30% / year for at least 5 years.

 

Some companies are relying way too much on their website and automated responses.  The first job of any company is to build credibility and trust that they have their prospects interests first.  How credible is your company, if you do not follow up within 24 hours?

 

So my next question is “How have you trained your people to follow-up after that first contact?  How many of you make a second and third call? If you do, is it the just checking in call, or just touching base call?   You check into a hotel,and you touch base in baseball.  It is best to first ask the prospect for permission to follow-up.   Have a purpose.  I have read that the average sale takes 7 touches. The average sales person gives up after 2-3 follow-up calls. Today it probably takes more than 7, because people are not as trusting as they once were. Remember you are trying to deliver value on every call, and every correspondence.  Following is a list of ways to follow-up over time.  Perhaps you space each of them a week or a month apart.

 

  1. General Follow-Up – Make sure before leaving the appointment, that there is an agreement on what details must be followed up and when.
  2. After sending follow-up information make a  phone call to make sure the information was enough.  Don’t be a brochure dumper.  Make sure to highlight the areas of particular interest to the prospect. 
  3. Send a Third Party Article Related to Their Business and your Discussion – This sets the tone that you are a resource of information.   With so much information on the internet, this is easy.  Make sure to send an e-mail or handwritten note saying why it was relevant to your discussion.
  4. Share Your New Company’s New Product or Service – This is a no brainer, and so important.  Even if it does not pertain directly to them, it may show that your company is an innovator.
  5. Customer Testimonials – Don’t be shy.  If you got them, flaunt them.  Testimonials are powerful, especially if they are from someone who your prospect knows.
  6. Look for Referrals for the Prospect  – Ask first what good referrals for them are?  The idea is that we are all in this together.  Again be a resource not just a salesperson.
  7. Send News Articles about Their Company  – Set up Google Alerts about announcements about their own company.  Send Congratulations.  This shows that you are interested about the goals and opportunities of the prospect.
  8. Add them to Company E-Newsletters  – Again the best way is to ask for permission, but if not ask for forgiveness.
  9. Send Competitive Information – Your buyer always wants to know what competition is doing.  Just make sure that it is public information, and that you are NOT sharing any trade secret.
  10. If you have a CRM add your special sales process follow-up list to it, and make sure that your sales people have done everything to complete the process.  I promise you will have more success.  If you have other ideas on following up, I am anxious to hear them.  Please add to the discussion, or contact me personally if you want to tailor this to your company.

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Antonio Fernandez permalink
    March 20, 2013 8:18 pm

    Good ideas Allan – we practiced something similiar but I really like your follow-up question around “what their good prospects” look like so that I can potentially make referrals to them. More likely, they’ll share some with me too if such is the case.

    Take care – Antonio

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