Research shows most sales professionals give up after the second or third contact with a prospect yet most prospects don’t make a decision until the seventh or eighth. So where are those sales going? We’ve asked Sales Specialist Meridith Elliott Powell to explain the gap.
Sales is a matter of timing, being in front of your prospect when he is ready to buy. The reality is, your prospect didn’t wake up this morning, drop to their knees and ask the universe to send them a sales professional. No, more likely than not, the very fact that you are approaching them is going to seem more like an interruption rather than a value added service. Statistics show this single effort on your part is not going to result in a sale.
Today’s economy is shifting and it has created a more demanding and discerning customer. A customer who is more selective about parting with their hard earned dollars. If you want to close a sale, you need to understand that the sale happens in the follow-up.
Now, I get it, most of us don’t like to follow up. You’re worried about being annoying or pestering the customer and the reality is, with traditional “follow-up strategies”, you are. A new economy calls for a new approach. In my experience, I have seen companies revive their sales numbers by changing the way they execute the follow-up.
Three sales strategies to shift your approach and use the follow-up to your advantage:
- Create a Relationship by Adding Value – When well executed, the follow-up is the first opportunity to build trust and add value. Build a relationship with your prospect first and the sale will come.
- Have a Consistent Plan and Stick With It – Consistency is king, and you need a solid plan to make sure that you’re following up. A good CRM will go a long way in helping you keep the follow-up appear natural, not forced.
- Be Competitively Proactive – To close the deal, you need to take action, it is up to you. When you’re putting off making a call, remember your prospects have choices too and they are likely being courted by other sales professionals. Avoid the temptation to only nurture fresh leads, half your weekly sales calls should be focused on value added follow-up.
The truth behind the gap is that top performing salespeople are taking the sales you give up on after two tries. A strong salesperson learns that following up must offer value to the customer to eventually become a sale in your books.
How do you use the follow-up to close the deal?
A keynote speaker, coach and strategist, Meridith Elliott Powell inspires employees to step to the plate, take ownership and drive results. Meridith is the author of four books, including her latest Winning In The Trust & Value Economy: A Guide To Business & Sales Growth, and is a featured columnist in industry publications such as Sales Executive, American Banker, Advisor Today and American Management Association. To learn about Meridith’s work visit www.meridithelliottpowell.com.
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