Want to be a Top Closer? Improve Your Follow Up Tactics | Clarke Inc. Creative Marketing & Print Communication
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Want to be a Top Closer? Improve Your Follow Up Tactics

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I recently learned in some sales training with Hubspot a couple of statistics critical to sales.

  • The first company to respond to a business inquiry wins 35-50% of the deals
  • Eighty percent of all sales take at least five follow-up contacts before closing

It would seem follow-up is the number one deal-maker or breaker, no matter the temperature of the lead.

Sure, good probing questions, a solid presentation, and good business acumen are all central to sales; but only when you are talking to the prospect. That’s the point of follow-up, to keep them in the fold.

The minute you let up, your prospect can slip away, costing you time and money. Close more deals by putting together a solid follow-up plan, and using the proper tools to implement your plan successfully.

Add these tactics to your plan

 

  • Set a minimum goal of five outreach attempts per suspect if they are a cold lead, referral, or website lead who’s never been contacted.
    • Most sales people give up after two attempts, but statistically the odds are better in your favor with five attempts
  • Set a realistic timeframe to be consistent in contacting new inquiries.
    • The longer you wait after receiving a lead, the higher chance the prospect will find an alternative solution.
  • Map out a plan of action ahead of time.
    • Buyers do not appreciate salespeople who do not do their homework before the meeting. Do your research so you can structure the engagement to accomplish the primary objective, getting to the next stage in the sales process.
  • Provide value to your prospect with each interaction.
    • Don’t waste your potential customer’s time by contacting them just to “see how things are going.” Make sure you can offer something worthwhile and new each time you speak, even if it is only to pass on an interesting article or white paper.

  • Tell the prospect what to do next.
    • Never make a potential customer guess what they should do next. By telling them what to do, you provide an actionable step and stay in control.
  • Summarize in writing.
    • Always send a follow-up email after an official meeting. Express gratitude for their time and summarize your understanding of what was agreed upon and why. This demonstrates you are listening. Last, remind them of the next step. It could be an action they should take or the date of the next conversation.

Pro Tip: Never use email to request follow-up meetings or activities from the prospect if they have not already been discussed and agreed upon verbally. Call back if necessary.

  • Pursue contact with all opportunities until a break up is confirmed or you’ve made a sale
    • Don’t leave things open-ended. If you hear crickets, keep reaching out until it’s evident the prospects had a reasonable time to respond. Then send a break-up letter explaining, “due to lack of response I’m closing the account record. Please contact me if needed in the future.” Sometimes, you’ll get a, “Wait a minute, I’ve been super busy…” response. Otherwise, you are now free to pursue opportunities which might move faster.
    • Change your reasons for reaching out to something other than sales. Offer a helpful resource, send something cheerful. If they respond, it’s a clue they are still engaged. Then follow up and ask for the next action or meeting.
    • Use notification tools like HubSpot’s Sales Pro to see when your emails are opened or the prospect visits your website. Then pick up the phone immediately. Your chances of getting through are much higher.

Get Tools to Help You Work Smarter

Tech won’t close a deal for you, but not using the right tools will keep you from closing a higher volume of opportunities. When you implement efficiencies, you can put more leads through the pipeline which always results in a greater number of won sales.

Streamline your activities and track progress using a Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM. Once you have a system down, you’ll never go back to the old way of searching through emails, racking your brain over the details of the last conversation, or completely forgetting about leads.

Using a good CRM means…

  • Never forgetting to execute a necessary action.
    • Queue the phone calls you need to make, and set up tasks to notify you at the time you need the reminder.
  • Having all the information you need at hand.
    • Each contact record is a central location for data points on the person, the company, and your communication with them such as notes, email correspondence, and shared documents. You can pick up right where you left off.
  • Maintaining a consistent procedure for all potential customers.
    • Customize the pipeline stages in your CRM to match your sales process. In a couple of clicks you can quickly see who is in each stage and then review the record to confirm if the next action is on you (should have a task assigned) or the prospect.
  • Analyzing your performance.
    • Whether a meeting ends in a sale, or not, it is critical to keep track of what happened. A good CRM shows you the number of leads attempted, the number of opportunities generated, and the number of sales closed. It helps you figure out where in the sales process people drop off the most so you can adjust tactics.

 

Tell us the follow up tactics you use not listed above in the comments box below.

 

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Victor Clarke
victor@bebetterdomore.com

Victor began a 30+ year career in sales and marketing with Xerox Corporation following his graduation from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has sold copiers, word processing systems, computers, print, mail and graphic design. In addition, he advanced from a street wise sales person, to the Director of Federal, State, Local and Education Sales, to the owner of his own company. He has been the owner of Clarke, Inc. for 20+ years evolving it from a dedicated print shop to an inbound and outbound marketing firm. We deliver epic marketing truth every day for our clients. We provide real solutions for real businesses. If you want the marketing pretty boys, we’re not it.

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