I did something really stupid. I could kick myself. I KNOW better, but I did it anyway. Why? Because I was tired and feeling lazy, pure and simple. So what what this horrible mistake?…
I didn’t prepare properly for a follow-up sales call.
I had a follow-up call scheduled on my calendar with someone I had talked to about a while back. They were not ready to move forward then, but were really interested in working with me and had asked me to follow-up with them. We picked a time to reconnect and I diligently put the date on my schedule and then went about my day.
In the weeks that passed, I traveled a lot and was preoccupied with family and having fun on vacation. I kept up with email and took care of small business issues, but for the most part, did not have my mind entrenched in my business. When I got back, of course, I jumped back in and started getting caught up.
I love what I do, so it was fun for me to get back in the groove. I was excited to start writing again and most of all connect with clients and colleagues again. So when time the finally came, I was eager to make my follow-up call.
Here’s where things fell apart…
Although I remembered my initial conversation with my potential client, I knew where we had left things, I knew their business and why they were interested in working together, I did not take the time to review their pain points. I had an intellectual understanding of their needs, but I had not taken the time to review their struggle and how they were feeling about it.
As a result, our conversation reflected my level of preparation. It was factual. It was intellectual and it was not emotional. I failed to take my client to the place where they connected with the feeling around not having enough clarity for the right direction for their business and how that was impacting their success.
It was an awful experience. It felt like meeting someone on the street I had kissed at a party the night before except all the hot energy was missing and we both felt uncomfortable. YUCK!
The worst part of all was knowing I could have helped this client get fantastic results to create a unique and profitable brand more quickly if I had just done my homework.
So this never happens to you, here are 3 tips to help you properly prepare for your next follow-up sales call:
1. Take detailed notes. You may think you will remember everything you talked about on your initial call, but life happens and our brains get full of distractions. Even if you remember much of your initial conversation, you may forget small details that can actually be pivot points in your follow-up call. Being on top of the details also shows your client you are thorough and that they matter to you.
2. Remember the feelings. Most purchases are done based on feeling. You may hesitate to revisit your potential client’s pain points or challenges on your follow-up calls, but it may be even more important the second time around. You may have already excavated some of the emotional debris interfering with their decision making ability in the first call, but staying present with uncomfortable feelings is the last thing most people want to do. So be prepared to re-open certain doors.
3. Anticipate new excuses. If your client expressed an interest in working with you, but was not able to commit the first time, they may be battling their own resistance to up-leveling. As a result, their original objections may get replaced by completely new ones in your follow-up call. If you understand this ahead of time, you will not be caught off guard and you will be prepared to thoughtfully walk them through those objections so you can complete the sale and they can get the results they need to move forward.
We all wish sales call were a one and done event, but that isn’t always the case. However, if you can prepare and approach your follow-up calls with the same energy and attention as the first time around, you will see much better results.
Your feedback is music to my ears!
What is your ritual for preparing for sales calls?
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.