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The Power of Following Up

January 6, 2012

Let’s just say you meet someone at a networking event or at your office, and you speak to them about your product, service, or  business. Afterward, you think the meeting went great!  You are excited for the possibility of the sale. And then, you never hear from them. You look back at your calendar for the month and you wonder why none of those “great” meetings ever converted into a sale.  At this point, you should ask yourself: “Did I follow up?”

Following up with a person keeps you on the forefront of their mind, so when they are ready to make a decision, they think of you and only you.  During the follow up is also a good time to see if the potential client had further questions or concerns that they did not mention at your meeting.

Now, the question is: How do you follow up?

First, you need to have a system.  It does not have to be fancy or expensive; it just needs to work for you.  Your method may be that you have a follow-up file system where you write the person’s information on a piece of paper, include the date and time to follow up, and then file it accordingly. Each week you would have organized who you need to follow up with. Another method may be that you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program, or a calendar system (like Outlook or Google Calendar).

The important thing is that you call them back. Check to see if they have any questions, or want to set up another meeting to speak with you. Once you make the call, you may find that they are no longer interested. Don’t get discouraged; just because they are not interested at the moment doesn’t mean they may desire your services in the future.  There is also a good chance that they might know someone who may need your services.

You can also use these conversations as a learning tool.  When someone brings up a concern or objection, find out why they hold that position.  This will help you better understand their decision, and it gives you the opportunity to clarify or maybe change your presentation in the future.

Even if they are not interested at the time, don’t give up.  Staying in touch is also very important. Keep the information of those who were uninterested the first time you called, and contact them  once or twice a year to see if there is anything new, or just to say hi.  You can also set up emails to touch base with them periodically.  The email should not be specifically asking for the sale. The purpose of the calls and emails are to build relationships. An idea may be to send holiday greetings, or an article they might find interesting.  The important thing is to keep in touch so you remain on the forefront of their mind.

If you are consistent in following up, you will not only have a better chance of closing the deal, but you will also learn more about you self and will be able to use that knowledge to tweak you presentation.

Alexis Daly, Sales Manager at 317 Virtual Services, LLC. 

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