Arm Yourself with the
Proper Follow Up Tools
By Judy Garmaise
stereotype of the annoying salesperson who is always pestering you
to buy something, the fact is that people want to do business with
those who show exceptional follow up skills. While they don’t want
to be bullied or stalked for their business, they do want to work
with a salesperson who takes the initiative to educate them, remind
them, and keep them abreast of current offerings.
Unfortunately, most salespeople lack decent follow up skills.
They may call or e-mail a prospect one time, but when they get no
response, they give up and ultimately lose the sale. Why is this the
norm? Because good follow up skills require good organizational
skills, and most salespeople are confused on how to stay organized.
They haven’t found the right tool that works for them, and they
haven’t figured out their own follow up techniques.
Since they haven’t even thought of becoming organized, they
don’t have a system that works for them. And if they do have a tool,
such as when a sales manager dictates that everyone will use certain
contact management software, they don’t know how to use it
effectively…and their results suffer.
However, these days there’s really no excuse for not
following up. With all the technology and paper reminder systems
available, everyone should be a follow up master by now. The key is
to know what works for you and to use it consistently. In fact, when
you pick a system and use it, you can quickly become a follow up
The Value of a
Why is having a system in place so important? Consider this
scenario: You promise prospect A that you will get back with him in
two days. Rather than put the follow up reminder in some sort of
follow up system, you rely on your short-term memory. Two days come
and go, and you never follow up. A week later, Prospect A moves on
to another company and another salesperson who does follow up, and
Prospect A ends up spending a lot of money with your competition.
In order to get the sale, as soon as you promise to follow up
with someone, you need to stop what you’re doing and jot down, type,
or speak into your calendar the correct day and time to make the
follow up. If you do that with every promise you make to someone,
you can dramatically increase your sales in one year. People will be
so impressed with your impeccable use of time that they will refer
all their friends and family to you.
The biggest mistake you can make is believing you will
definitely remember your promises. Don’t fool yourself; no one is
that good. The reason you can’t leave anything to your memory is not
because you don’t mean well; rather, other factors come up and other
situations transpire that distract your focus.
Once your mind is diverted to a new situation, it is highly
unlikely you will remember that previous detail. Most likely, you
will simply forget to call Prospect A, but three days later at 4
a.m. you will wake up in a sudden scare and remember that you forgot
to follow up as promised.
That’s why all salespeople need some sort of follow up system
Tools You Can Use:
first step to creating a follow up system that works is to know your
personal style. You then have to understand how to integrate that
style into your company’s culture and existing systems. The
following tips will help:
Are you a techie? Do you love writing things out by hand? Are
verbal reminders more effective for you than visual ones? Since each
person is different, it’s completely normal for each person to have
a different preferred follow up system. For example, some people are
pen and paper people, even though technology is everywhere. They
love to write and erase and highlight and handle physical pieces of
paper. Other people are techno kings and queens who thrill at
watching their iPhone screen move at the flick of a finger from page
to page. Whichever technique you prefer, that’s the one that will
make you excellent at the art of follow up.
understand your personal style, experiment with the various tools
available. The most common follow up tools are:
Pick one and try it out. If you hate it or don’t use it
consistently, then try something else. Be open to new things. And
remember that just because you love online activities and are a
computer whiz doesn’t mean your follow up system has to be high
tech. You can have one low tech area of your life. Whatever you
choose, just make sure it works for YOU.
Combine and Conquer:
necessary, use a combination of methods. For example, perhaps you
like using sticky notes. You use a particular color sticky note for
the various activities, and your computer monitor looks like one
giant rainbow flower. Each time you complete a task and peel off the
sticky note, you get a sense of satisfaction. But because you don’t
want to carry multiple pads of sticky notes with you on sales calls,
you rely on your iPhone calendar to schedule reminders while you’re
out in the field. Then when you come back to the office at day’s
end, you transfer the information to your sticky notes method.
You may also need to use a combination method if your company
requires you to use a certain system that doesn’t work for you. For
instance, if your company requires that you use ACT! so they can
track your activity, but you’re a pen and paper kind of person, you
can use your paper system during the day and transfer your notes to
the computerized system at night for tracking purposes. This may
seem like you’re running two systems at once, but sometimes it takes
a tag-team approach to get the job done.
The Success is in
the Follow Up:
The bottom line is
to know what your preferred tool is and then to go all the way with
it. Very soon you’ll become addicted to whatever tool you implement
and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. That’s when
your own personal organizational systems will start to develop, and
your sales will increase.
Ultimately, when you’re organized and using a system you like, your
confidence level will increase, which will be evident in your sales
approach. You’ll no longer feel like a failure because you forgot to
follow up with someone. Rather, your prospects will view you as a
credible and reliable salesperson with exceptional follow up skills,
and they’ll reward you by giving you the business you so rightly
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