Follow Up: Sales People and Love Birds Ask When and How to Follow up
Follow Up: By Mike Faherty, President of ProSales Connection, LLC
First sales meetings are much like first dates.
Before the date you are anxious and excited, but you have prepped for success. You know exactly how you are going to start the conversation and if the conversation lags, you have thought-out questions to help you get to know your date a little better; to understand their background, to determine where they are at this point in their life, and to inspire the sharing of future plans.
Then you have the date. It goes great. You have butterflies at the end and you talk about meetings again soon. Then comes the problem… you’re not sure exactly when or how best to connect with them again.
This follow up step is not only critical in romantic relationships, but also in business relationships. There always seems to be confusion amongst sales people when it comes deciding when and how best to follow up after a successful first meeting.
The ideal approach to follow up after a first sales meeting with a potential prospect consists of 3 simple elements:
Steps 1 – Next Day – Quick thank you call
The idea here is to call the next morning to say thank you for taking the time to meet. This is a very short call and you should expect to get their voicemail. You simply want to convey your appreciation for their time and summarize the action items that you took away from the meeting. Let them know that an email will follow in the next day. Make sure that if you make this self-imposed deadline you don’t miss it. Don’t start the relationship by missing a deliverable.
Steps 2 – Day 2-4 (or when you committed to deliver the letter) – Short email letter to clarify your understanding and preliminary recommendations
Next you need to draft a short letter that outlines the following:
- Your understanding of their present situation
- What they would like their future to look like
- How you recommend achieving this desired outcome
- Any budget or time-frames that need to be considered
- Confirm what you understand to be the decision process
- The recommended/agreed to next steps
This is a detailed letter, but it needs to be succinct as well. Aim for 2-3 pages at the most. Make sure your contact understands that it is a “living document” and that they are encouraged to edit and clarify any of the details of the letter. In order to cover all of the content recommended above, you may have to make some assumptions. This is perfectly okay, but be sure to acknowledge when assumptions are made and ask your contact to validate them as well. This participation will help you ensure the solution is a mutually beneficial solution.
Steps 3 – Day 4-5 – Follow up on the letter to ask for edits and corrections and to schedule the next meeting.
Your goal now is to schedule a time to review the letter with the decision making team. Remember that significant business decisions are seldom made by just 1 person, so encourage you prospect to invite stakeholders, users and business influencers to the meeting. This will ensure that all potential objections to moving forward with your solution are uncovered early in the sales process so that you can overcome the objections and shorten your sales cycle as much as possible.
Use your follow up letter as the basis for the second meeting agenda and make sure that everyone invited has the most recent version of the letter before the meeting.
Using this follow up process will help you transform your relationship with the prospect from a “selling relationship” into collaboration. Done right, you will turn more first dates into meaningful long-term relationships.
Mike Faherty is President of ProSales Connection, LLC a Sales and Marketing firm based in Houston, Texas. Mike Faherty is a noted leader in the technology industry and in 2008 founded ProSales Connection to use his experience to build and lead inside sales teams for B2B clients in the US and around the World. Please connect with me at the links below or give me a call at 832-365-0730 for more information about ProSales Connection.
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