Do you love your follow-up calls? You should, because it is where many of your sales might come from. Many people feel that making a follow up call is a type of harassment, and if you feel that way then it might be. A follow up call should feel like you are helping someone by calling back when you said you would to do something you promised you would do. Let’s look at three things that can make your calls feel more like giving a gift than stalking someone.
Some Background – the follow up call comes after your initial meeting, sales presentation, pitch, strategy call, etc. or after you have completed work for a client. When that meeting is over (or the work is done) and you have not secured your sale (or next sale) then you need to ensure that you are reconnecting with your potential client (unless they gave you a definite ‘No’). Remember, your job is to help people make a decision – Yes or No – and either is acceptable.
Change your perception
There are a couple of things you can do to change your perception of what you are doing. First, don’t call it a follow-up call. The word ‘follow’ is a word you would use if you are stalking someone, so let’s just let that word go. I like ‘checking-in’ and some people I know use ‘checking-up’. That sounds like what your steward would do for you on a cruise.
“Good morning, I’m just checking in with you to see if you need any additional towels or bed linens. Is everything to your liking?” Makes me want to go somewhere warm and blue. Do you feel the difference? Try saying it out loud, it will feel different to you and it will be perceived differently.
The second change you can make is to think of this call as an opportunity to help someone, not sell to them. Take a minute before the call to think of the ways you might be able to help your potential client. Maybe you could connect them to a great new referral partner or a supplier that they really need. Maybe something you have to offer is perfect for them, but always remember you are there to help, not sell. Again, your call will feel incredibly lighter and easier to do.
Pre-arrange the call
When you originally spoke with the person you promised you would follow up (or check in) with them. Make sure when you promise this you actually book a date and time. If it is too far in the future then book a date to schedule the call. You don’t want to try and track people down for a call, and then it really is stalking.
Even better than checking in with someone is getting them to commit to calling you on a certain time/date. By scheduling a meeting with the responsibility for them to reach out to you there is a much higher percentage that they will be available for you at the set time. In my experience I have very rarely ever had someone not show for a meeting they have committed to being at. Actually just one person, and they have done it twice to me, but that is another story and they have some hoops to jump through now to rebook my time.
If you have something of value and people know it then you are worth ‘following up’ with. Be there for your clients, help them decide if they want to hire you or not and respect their time by booking your checking-in date. You will be surprised at how people’s perception of your credibility as a business person will increase because you have shown them that they are worth the time you take to make sure they are getting what they need when they need it.
P.S. Don’t forget to ask for the sale. You must ask them to take action – again it can be a yes or a no but you have to help them decide.