The last piece in the sales and goal achievement puzzle.
The one everyone hates.
The dreaded two words.
I don’t think the issue here is laziness.
So, why does everyone detest it? What’s the real reason?
Here are the BIG TWO reasons I’ve seen over the last two decades:
- You don’t know how to do it well (smoothly, not awkwardly).
- It feels icky – like you’re chasing and desperate.
Sometimes you have a great conversation with someone and… it stalls. For whatever reason, the next step does not happen.
Sometimes you are simply following up on a previous “no” or even a time when you never really connected at all and it’s time to reach out again.
Regardless of where you are in the process the next step is yours and you better get moving.
Let’s address issue number one from above.
You don’t know how to do it well.
Here’s my suggestion. Respect the person you’re talking or writing to by stating exactly what both of you know occurred. The more you try to be smooth, the weirder you will feel.
A rough example of a follow-up to a long past interaction…
“Hey Sarah, I reached out a few times over the last couple of months and never heard back. Since then, I dropped the ball. I’ve also been very busy. But I was thinking about you today and thought to say hello and see how things are. Would it make sense to pick up where we left off?”
A rough example of a follow-up to a recent interaction…
“Hey Sarah. We had such a great conversation last week. I know it’s easy to let things drift when you’ve got so much going on. But I also know this is (problem/issue/thing) important to you to get handled. Would it make sense to jump on a call and warp it up? I’ve got both Friday and Saturday open.”
These are just examples. There are a million ways to follow up, some better than others.
Many sales trainers harp on the horrible ways and words people use to follow up.
I’ll tell you the worst way: not doing it all.
The next issue is, that you feel icky. Desperate.
There’s a fantastic scene in the movie, “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.
Tommy Lee Jones is a US Marshall and Ford, accused of killing his wife, escaped from custody and is on the run, desperately trying to evade Tommy Lee Jones and prove he’s innocent.
At one point, Tommy Lee Jones corners Harrison Ford in a big drainage pipe leading to a rushing river.
Harrison Ford looks at Tommy Lee Jones and says, “I didn’t kill my wife!” Tommy Lee Jones says, “I don’t care.” (At which point, Harrison Ford jumps into the river.)
So, if you feel awkward or icky following up, I’m Tommy Lee Jones. I don’t care.
It’s part of the responsibility you have to your customers and prospects. If you are in fact, desperate, it’s because you don’t follow up. So, that’s on you. Start following up more – you won’t be desperate.
Plus, studies show over and over that follow-up works and it’s how you turn all the invested time you’ve spent into profitable time.
You’ve probably said “yes” after you experienced a competent, respectful, and persistent salesperson who followed up with you, too.
You need to be the leader and the one to check in, follow up, and attempt to move things forward no matter how you feel or how “imperfect” you may sound.
The more you do it, the easier it will become.
Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW
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