I had a great conversation yesterday with a sales partner who is trying to improve his follow up. I would like to share a couple of the ideas I shared with him to increase your sales with disciplined follow up.
If you are an independent sales professional, the odds are that you have pretty good sales skills and are self motivated. If you are like the sales professional I spoke to yesterday, you know how to execute a plan and get things done. But you may still get up every day feeling a little lost in terms of what actions you should take.
Let me encourage you to do several things as part of your follow up routine. Doing these will not only increase your sales but also give you a feeling of purpose and direction each morning when you get up.
The process starts by adding new businesses to your pipeline. Make sure you are walking into ten to twenty businesses per day where you have not yet spoken to the business owner. This simple activity is really the core of prospecting. Without it, nothing else will make you successful.
Once you have established this basic work ethic for prospecting, the next step is to pause a few moments after each visit to decide what your next action step should be. This is where discipline really comes into the equation. To think in terms of generalities about action is so easy. For example, “That was a nice person; I am going to follow up next week sometime”; or “That merchant probably won’t be interested for another couple months. I will just keep him or her on my list until then.” These statements and other similar ones are the reason you feel like you are spinning your wheels. Instead, you must take a moment after every visit to make a concrete choice about the next action step. Here are some concrete choices: “I am going to stop by next Tuesday at 2 p.m. because that is when she was in the business this week.” “I believe they are just going to waste my time, so I am deciding not to follow up on this one.” “Their contract is up in three months, so I am going to follow up the first Monday in October.” “I got the statement. Now I need to send a personal email tonight and tomorrow to update this merchant on my progress and send a reminder of our follow up appointment on Friday.”
In addition to these specific next action steps, make sure you also record your notes in your CRM system. Having notes about what happened on each visit will drastically improve your chances of making the sale on the follow up visit.
The next step is to record the next action step in a way which will notify you. In our marketing platform, we have tasks and events. Some people like using task or “to do” lists while others prefer to look at things on a schedule. The choice is up to you. The key is put these actions into a system so you can forget about them, knowing with confidence that your system will remind you at the right time.
Now you can enjoy your day. As you wake up, you will see your task list or calendar for the day and realize you already have five to ten specific actions to take each day with potential clients.
Final tip: If you get to the point where your follow up is keeping you from walking into at least ten businesses per day where you haven’t yet spoken to the owner, you need to be more selective with whom who you follow up and how. Don’t be afraid to decide to cut 30% of your scheduled “next actions” in the weekly schedule if you need to free up some time to do new prospecting. Prospecting is the engine that fuels follow up; you must always be adding new prospects to the pipeline.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post; have a great day in the field!
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