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You just finished one of your best meetings and the prospect says, “we definitely want to go to the next step – send us what you need from us and we’ll get it back to you right away!” Then, you send the list of items needed to move the process forward and you never hear from your prospect again.
Why did that happen? What did I do wrong? What can I do to get my deal back on track? While most of us have pondered these questions, most have not tracked the numbers closely enough to take the emotion out of the process. When you know how the numbers should work and you can see that they are in the normal range of expected results it becomes math. So, what is the math of effective follow up?
Just like we have tracked the methods that get the best prospecting results, we have also tracked the methods that get the best results when following up with a prospect who says that they want to go to the next step.
First, it is important to build the expectation with your prospect that you will be checking in with them and then do what you say. In our process, we let the prospect know that we will send them the items needed for us to put together an initial analysis AND that we will check in with them in a week if we have not already heard from them.
Second, if we have not heard back from the prospect with the requested items, we reach out by phone AND email to check in on them. One of the most common mistakes I see is that salespeople make it too easy for their prospect to ignore them. Look, they said they wanted to move forward – it isn’t pushy or “too much” for you to call and email them once a week to keep things on track. In fact, if they are serious about moving forward they will appreciate the follow up. If they are not serious you will find out and be able to take them off the list.
Third, most prospects leave the great meeting you just had with them and get right back into their list of 1,000 tasks and projects. That is your competition. After all these years and thousands of meetings, I have concluded that most people are sincere and do mean to go to the next step with you when they say so. They just get busy and it is MY responsibility to keep OUR project on track. I am just not that important until I do the work necessary to get the deal across the finish line and provide my new customer with real measurable value.
Lastly, this is the point in the sales cycle where you will see the biggest attrition. What should it be? That varies by industry but, in our case, we see it as a healthy amount of attrition if 50% make it through and get us the stuff we need to do our analysis. So, when we are tracking at these levels we can rest easy… After all, it’s just math.
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