the-importance-of-sales-follow-ups

Lead Nurturing is About Relationship Building not Selling

Quite often these days the importance of sales follow-ups is ignored. People these days are under the impression that calling up customers and prospects is nothing more than a relic from a bygone era. Nothing could be further from the truth. The phone is as relevant as ever and is the marketing tool of choice for the most successful marketers.

Do Sales Calls Work?

But what do the numbers say? Are sales calls really effective? Do they work?

The answer is an emphatic ‘YES!’ A survey by Marc Wayshak shows that 41% of marketers consider the phone to be the best marketing tool in their arsenal for increased sales.

Even these numbers don’t tell the complete story. The hard truth is that many marketers are not using the right tactics which is why they are not getting the right returns on their sales calls. Thus, you should know why the sales follow-up calls matter.

If every single marketer started using the right tips and tricks, then you will see an even stronger preference for the phone as the ultimate marketing medium. Many get it outright wrong which is why they do not get high conversion rates that are possible with phone calls.

In fact, the truth of the matter is that any email or inbound campaign is simply incomplete without outbound marketing methods like phone calls.

The main point to realize is that customers and prospects are now more skeptical and demanding than ever before. Thus, you have to put in the right amount of effort and use appropriate tactics for reaching out to prospects.

 Why The Sales Follow-Up Is a Top Priority for Sales

A single phone call just won’t cut it. You cannot expect to change prospects minds and influence them strongly with just one phone call. You have to keep at it and contact them at the right intervals to evoke a positive response. Sales follow-up is indispensable for more conversions.

The trouble is that many marketers simply give up after just one phone call. This is not right! You have to persevere and keep going till you prevail.

Do you know how many follow up calls it takes on average to complete a sale?

You need to make at least 6 calls before prospects see the light! Needless to say, that is a lot of hard work. But it is hardly surprising given the vast choices that customers have these days and the high level of intense competition that you will face in any niche.

According to another source, it takes around 8 follow up calls on average to close sales. The difference does not really matter. What matters most is that you will need persistence, patience and hard work to succeed with phone calls.

And this is the main reason why you keep hearing that phone calls don’t work. The truth is that most professionals simply lack the discipline, grit and determination to keep at it till they succeed.

Many people expect quick results with the phone. However, there are many reasons why you will almost never get a reply in the affirmative with your first call. Your prospects may be busy, distracted or they may have not thought deeply enough about your offer. Thus, it will take repeated attempts at appropriately spaced intervals to complete a sale. You will thus have to follow up your first call with a couple more to nudge your prospect gently into deciding.

Your follow up calls are a part of the lead nurturing strategy where you are walking your prospect through the intricate process of thinking about a purchase. You will have to patiently listen to the concerns of your prospect, understand their issues and provide the best possible solution for their problems.

According to another source, well over 40 percent of marketers throw in the towel with just a single phone call. However an overwhelming 80 percent of sales transactions require at least 5 follow up calls to seal the deal.

There are several steps that you can take to improve the efficacy of your follow up calls. Here is what you can do.

Schedule Your Follow Up Calls

As we know all too well, most prospects are just too busy to listen to us with a clear mind. Thus, you can put your prospects in a more receptive frame of mind by talking to them at the right time. Calling up customers and prospects at the right time will vastly improve your chances of getting closer to the deal.

One of the best things that you can do is to politely ask your prospects whether or not it is the right time to call. If they reply that they are busy, then you can request another time to call when they will be free to listen. Make note of the time given by the prospect and call them up at this time. By showing due regard for the precious time of your prospects, you can inspire trust in your brand, exude professionalism and make them much more cooperative. This is much better than rambling away nonstop when all they want is for you to hang up as soon as possible.

Of course, you should convey your key message as succinctly as possible before you ask them about the time.

Do Your Research

You should do your due diligence and research as much as you can prior to placing the first call and making subsequent calls. The more you know about your prospect, the more relevant your interactions will be for them.

The prospect will be impressed that you took the pain to find out about them. This is your way of displaying deference for your prospect and how much their issues matter for you. This way, prospects and leads can be certain that you are not just running after the deal. They will find that you are more interested in providing value.

In fact, the savviest marketers do not emphasize and just push  their own products and services on unwilling prospects and leads. Instead, they elucidate how their products and services can resolve their key issues, pain points and woes.

In other words, you should aim for a customer-centric approach where you discuss their key issues and pain points. Once you suggest the right solution, sales will follow.

But to do this, it is always best to do maximum research beforehand so that you you can prepare the most relevant answers for your leads. Your prospects and leads will appreciate that you took the trouble of understanding their needs rather than just resorting to hard sell.

You can get leads through your business network and find out as much as you can. You can also follow existing customers in your database around the web to find out what they are doing.

With advanced knowledge, scouting and business intelligence, you can make your follow up calls far more compelling.

Simple Questions

Ask simple questions to your leads to stimulate a thought-provoking conversation that can provide value to them. Based on the replies that you are getting, you can suggest the appropriate course of action. For example, suppose you are marketing HVAC services, you can ask your lead about the last time that they got inspection done for their expensive equipment. Inform them about the pitfalls of not running regular inspections and how it can be detrimental to them in the long run.

Center your services around providing value. Hence, in this case, you will have to delineate how your services can help them to extend the lifespan of their expensive equipment, safeguard their investment and empower them to get maximum ROI. You can further explain how you can get the job done in short time with minimal disruption. As far you can, provide a unique value proposition to take the lead over the competition.

Knowing what to say can have a strong positive impact on your follow up call and induce prospects to take notice. When you are in control and know what you are saying, prospects will be more willing to trust your expertise and eventually avail your products and services.

Thus, prior preparation can make your follow up call much more useful for your leads, prospects and customers which will influence them positively in your favor.

Balanced Conversation

A conversation is always going to be 2-way traffic. Never expect to carry out all the talking in your follow up call. Give your leads and prospects plenty of opportunities to chime in and express their opinion. You will get plenty of useful input from them which can make your subsequent interactions far more relevant for them.

Just the simple act of listening alone can work wonders to make your prospects, leads and clients more amenable and receptive to what you are saying. Listening carefully and showing due regard for the opinions of the prospect is the best way of building rapport and fostering trust.

As you receive input from the prospect, you should extend your value proposition to convey how you can resolve their issues and fulfill their most pressing needs. Asking thoughtful questions in the middle will compel the prospect to believe that you are listening intently and have a genuine interest in remediating their pain points. Your replies will also be strongly customized according to client needs.

Thus, for a more successful follow up call, you should give your prospect plenty of opportunities to speak and be an active listener as well.

Friendly and Warm Persona

Your politeness, professionalism and friendly demeanor can have a strong positive impact on client perceptions. Thus, you should try as much as you can to influence them with a friendly and jaunty attitude that will motivate them to communicate with you more openly. A warm, gentle and jovial approachCan go a long way towards opening up your prospect to a meaningful and thought provoking conversation.

Even the most minor details like the tone of your voice and choice of words can make your lead more receptive. Make it crystal clear to your prospect that they are always free to express any concerns. Your prospects should know that there is no such thing as a stupid question if you want them to learn more about your brand, product and services. When they do ask any question, no matter how basic it may be, start in a very positive way like “I am glad you asked that because…”

Small acts of encouragement like these can greatly increase the effectiveness of your follow up calls, help you to interact more deeply with the prospect, and move Closer towards the deal. In other words, you will have to make the client more confident and alleviate their hesitation so that they can talk more openly and frankly. Better engagement this way will build up both trust and rapport.

Summarize the Client’s Answer

It is always a good idea to restate the client’s answer in your own words. This shows that you are closely following what they are saying and have exactly the right idea of what they are implying. This is particularly important when you are taking an order or noting down requirements.

This way, the prospect will have greater confidence in your ability to deliver the most appropriate service or product for their needs.

It is always good practice to briefly summarize what the prospect has said after they are done talking. Not only will it please them it will also give you assurance that you have understood the prospect correctly.

 Follow Up on Your Follow Up Call

This may sound bizarre, but it is always best to follow up on your follow up call. Thus, within a few minutes of a follow up call, you should fire an email detailing the summary of your call. This is another nifty way of engaging your prospect. A smart letter can make an informal conversation more businesslike and equally importantly leave a record of call details.

As you can see, follow up calls are essential and are yet one of the toughest aspects of your marketing campaign. No matter what modality you choose for your marketing campaign, you have to pick up the phone to place follow up calls. This will inevitably boost your conversion rates by a substantial margin.

However, follow up calls require a lot of painstaking care, proficiency and patience to get it right. You need years of practice to use the right tactics and elicit a good response. Whats more, since follow up calls require so much time and effort, you can be diverted from your core business.

But you need not worry any longer since you have the right professionals on your side with Gen Leads who are more than capable of handling all of your outbound marketing needs including follow up calls. You can put your confidence in Gen Leads for outbound marketing and follow up calls that will give you great results, boost conversions and bolster sales.

If the sales follow-up call is something that you find is often neglected due to a lack of time or resources but you understand its importance be sure to contact Gen Leads today to find out how we can help increase your sales with our lead nurturing services.