Tip #7: Build a follow up opening statement that gets through the clutter.
There are 4 simple steps to creating that pizzazz. First, introduce yourself using your full name. Second, give your company name. Okay, so far it’s pretty obvious but Step #3 is where you differentiate yourself.
Remind the client why you are calling; remind your client what prompted the follow up call in the first place. This means going back to your initial cold call and reminding the client of the “pain” or the “gain” that was discussed or hinted at in your previous call. For instance,
“Cindy, this is Craig Dollan calling from ABC Training. Cindy, when we spoke last week you had two concerns. First, you indicated that you were concerned about having your current on line training program renewed automatically before you had a chance to review it in detail, and second, that there were several modules whose content was questionable.”
Craig reminds Cindy why she agreed to this call. He does this because he knows that clients are busy; that they forget; or that the urgency of last week may not seem so urgent this week. So he scratches at the scab. Remind your client of the irritation and the move on to Step #4, the agenda:
What I would like to recommend at this stage is two things. First, we review those modules that have you so concerned, and second, we’ll take a closer look at the current contract. Then we’ll determine the next steps, if applicable. How does that sound?
Clients like a clear, concise agenda. They want a vendor who is organized and doesn’t waste their time. They want someone to takes control and move the call forward. This gives them confidence.
Finally, notice how the rep repeats a theme that he established in the first call and in his follow up e-mail. He indicates that they will “determine the next steps if applicable.” It’s a nice touch and reduces client resistance.
Tip # 8: Be persistent, be polite, and be professional but not a pest
If you follow this formula, about 70% of the time the client is there. But, that leaves 30% who are not for one reason or another. If the prospect is not there, leave a message so that he knows YOU called on time. Say,
“Hi _____, it’s ____ from ________ calling for our 8:45 appointment. Sounds like you might be tied up for a few moments. I’ll call in 10 minutes if I haven’t heard from you. In the meantime, my number is ______”
Next, call in 10 minutes. Exactly. If the prospect is still not there leave another message:
“Hi ____, it’s ___ from ___, following up on our 8:45 appointment. Looks like you’re still tied up. Please give me a call when you’re free at —– —–, otherwise I will call you later this morning or early this afternoon.”
So far you’ve been persistent without being a pest. Now, give the prospect a chance to call. A good rule of thumb is a half a day. Four hours is plenty of time and space for the prospect to call you and more importantly, it doesn’t make you look desperate or annoying. Here’s what you can say,
“_______, it’s _____ from ________I called a couple of times today but as of yet we have not been able to connect. When we last spoke you where concerned about the contract expiry date and the content of some of the modules. I ‘m sure you don’t want that date to come and go. . .So, my number is _______.”
Notice how the reps reminds the client of the call but does not make her feel guilty or embarrassed by using the phrase “. . . but as of yet we have not been able to connect.” Also notice that the rep reminds the client about their early talks and the “pain” the prospect was experiencing. In effect, he wants the prospect to think, “Oh. . . ya . . .that contract is nagging me . . .I better get back to him.”
If that doesn’t work make four more follow up calls but space them three business days apart. This shows persistence but the calls are spread far enough apart that the client doesn’t fell like she’s being stalked. If there’s no response by then, you probably won’t get one but at least you took a good stab at it.
Having solid follow up strategies and tactics will separate you from the dozens of other sales reps who calls the same prospects as you. This gives you a distinctive edge. Make the most of your follow up calls and watch your sales grow.