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WHAT IF I TOLD YOU that you’re working harder than you should to meet sales targets? If you’re not following up with your sales prospects after the initial meeting in the right way, you may be missing a big opportunity that’s right under your nose. Considering how hard salespeople have to work to land a meeting with a prospective customer, it’s surprising how little effort is typically put into the follow-up with that prospect after the meeting. The art of a successful follow-up strategy begins while you’re meeting with your prospect. Depending on the products or services you’re selling, it may be unlikely that anyone could close the sale on the spot — but that just makes it even more important to map out the next step in the process during your initial meeting. If you can agree on the next step right away, you’re much more likely to make the sale. Gain your prospect’s firm commitment on a follow-up meeting while you’re still in front of him, and clarify the objective for that conversation. Assuming you’ve already presented your proposal, consider making some strategic assumptions. For example, you might say, “I’m looking forward to our follow-up meeting next Tuesday at 10, where we’ll discuss any outstanding questions you may have and finalize our next steps for moving forward.” Now that you have the next meeting lined up, there are three simple techniques you should use during that meeting to close more business. Technique No. 1: Kick off your follow-up meeting by asking great questions and actively listening to what your prospect is telling you. Your primary goal should be to help your prospect make a good decision, not simply to close a sale. That’s how you build real relationships and generate a strong referral base. Use open-ended questions and statements to get your prospects to lay their cards on the table. For example, you might say, “Tell me about the elements of the proposal that will have the most impact on your business.” You could say, “Tell me about anything that might have been missing or needs to be reworked,” or, “Tell me about any other particulars you’d like to be sure are taken into consideration as we move forward.” Technique No. 2: If you have to follow up by phone, ensure you have something new to tell your prospects that adds value for them. No one likes to have a salesperson call simply to “check in.” If you’ve found new information that will help address your prospect’s needs, you’ll be seen as a partner or consultant, not just a salesperson. Technique No. 3: If your prospect is unable to make a buying decision in the immediate future, your follow-up strategy should be to stay top-of-mind until the prospect is able to move forward. Be persistent, but not a pest. Mix it up at every touch point. Alternate between calls, email and direct mail, ensuring you are adding value to the relationship each time. Consider asking a current customer to call your prospect, talking about the confidence he has in your company. Master the art of the successful follow-up to make sure you’re maximizing each opportunity, not just eliminating prospects as if there were an unlimited supply.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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