Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fantastic Follow-Up Techniques - Part I

At the May 9 Erie Sales Club workshop, the group discussed Fantastic Follow-Up Techniques. This will be the first in a series of articles that highlight our discussion. Panelists for the workshop were Derek Van Slyke of Jameson Publishing, Brad Allen of Rossbacher Insurance, and Christie Mahany of Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services.

We asked the group this question -- "True or False: The most important part of follow-up with a prospect is to follow-up quickly and completely. Give them all the information they need -- not just some of the information -- and do it on time."

* True. If you compete with larger companies where leads can be dropped online, you'd better follow-up in 2 hours or it's gone.
* What's most important with follow-up is to exceed the expectations of the customer or prospect. If they think you'll get back to them within 48 hours, respond with the information they need in 24 hours. If they think you'll get the information to them tomorrow, call them back today.
* If you don't have the information they need, recognize that with the customer. Call them and tell them why you don't have the information and let them know when they can expect it.
* One technique to keep customers in the loop is to cc them on your emails with the service technician who is working to solve the problem.
* True. Salespeople often worry about being too aggressive. But if you stay on the customer's agenda -- solving their need -- it's impossible to be too aggressive. You can be seen as too aggressive if you're on your agenda (e.g. "We need to do this to meet my deadline.").
* A + T = CE. Actions + Timing = Customer Experience. If you take no actions or poor actions, you will fail the customer. If you take appropriate actions but you're too late, you will fail the customer. If you take appropriate actions quickly, you will succeed in the customer's eyes.
* Engage in "polite persistence." Establish next steps on your sales call, then make good on that commitment. This shows the customer a real-world example of what it would be like to work with you.
* People will buy from who is most convinced. If you act with urgency and follow-up quickly because you truly believe you can solve the prospect's problem, you give yourself a better chance to win their business.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.