Tag Archives: Sales

10 Tried and True Proven Strategies for Sales Follow-Up

FACT ….. 48% of salespeople NEVER follow-up with a prospect

Most salespeople never follow-up a customer after the product or service has been delivered.

There is so much opportunityfor the sales and customer service people who want to make follow-up a priority and habit.

So much business is left on the table through a complete lack of any systemised follow-up.

We all must follow-up, follow-up, follow-up….It’s one of the most successful strategies for exceptional and consistent results and improved incomes.

Excuses for not following up that I’ve heard

  • I just don’t have the time
  • I don’t know when I should follow-up
  • I don’t know what to say
  • I’m uncomfortable when making follow-up calls
  • I feel like being a pest
  • I have enough new inquiries to handle on a daily basis
  • If they’re interested, they will call me

Remember….Over 48% of salespeople never follow-up with a prospect. The professional. Do what the pros do. Don’t listen to the whingers and whiners that haven’t adopted follow-up as one of the key priorities.

The calm true sales pro and adopt the following 10 proven strategies.

10 strategies for sales follow-up

STRATEGY 1….. Making your priorities a priority

Fact: People do business with people they like.

They also do business with people, on a regular basis who follow them up on a regular basis.

Follow-up must become one of your top priorities EVERY DAY. You must allocate a certain amount of time per day for this important priority….Follow-up.

The amount of business you can do by making eight previous customer calls per day will make you a member of the winners circle. 40 calls a week to previous owners of your product or service will give you enough new business opportunities and referrals to keep you more than busy.

Add to this activity, the follow-up of your current prospects. Many of these prospects will have already decided that they want the product, but they haven’t decided who they will entrust their business with.

Your follow-up should put you at number one on their list, because over 48% of all salespeople will never call them.

STRATEGY 2….. Get and use their name

One of the biggest gripes we get from customers is that sales people either do not use that name at all or say it incorrectly.

When asking for someone’s name, ask them “how do I spell your name?” Once you have done that, repeated back to them for correctness and use it often.

Make sure that when you are data basing your prospects or customers’ details and that their name / partners name is spelt correctly.

STRATEGY 3…..Ask what is their preferred communication channel?

It is essential for you to know your prospect or customer’s preferred communication channel. This will be either:

  • Phone call….. My preferred option….. Quick, use a script you. This strategy allows you to gain feedback on your product or service and the much valued opportunity to ask for a referral. You can also update your database as to their degree of ITCH for a new updated product or service.
  • Text message….. quick, very fast response time.
  • Email….. Good for short messages.
  • Letter….. Be different, stand out from the crowd. You competitors don’t send letters.
  • Via social media… LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.
  • E-newsletters….. Helps you to remind your database of upcoming news and reminds them of who you are and where they can find you.

It definitely pays dividends for you to ask what the customer wants regarding their preferred style of communication.

STRATEGY 4….. Always have a reason to follow-up

A great line to use is…” The reason for my call is…..” It lets the caller know that this is a professional and courteous follow-up call. You should have a list of beneficial reasons to call. It is really beneficial to prepare and use a list of say 20 reasons to call. Examples include:

  1. Happy birthday
  2. Merry Christmas
  3. Product upgrade
  4. New product released
  5. Sale starts at
  6. Limited time offer on manufacturer’s rebates
  7. Special offer….Limited time
  8. Product anniversary purchase date
  9. So many people don’t call because they have not planned any reasons to call.
  10. Be prepared….Get yourself a list

STRATEGY 5….. Sending out hand written Thank you cards

3 a day. That’s the goal. Sending out 3 hand written thank you note per day, which equates to 15 a week, which equates to 60 people a month receiving your personalised thank you notes.

If you’re looking for a business edge, you will be creating 60 positive impacts per month and building your business network.

With many businesses now focusing on the value of referral selling, you have just created 60 opportunities as a result of your thank you cards.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a printed card on one side with THANK YOU and a place on the inside for you to write a handwritten note and have your name contact details et cetera printed. My strong suggestion to you is to immediately get organised and have a thousand printed. The three day habit is one of the best strategies for follow-up I could ever recommend.

Some benefits for sending out thank you cards include: 

  • It’s a tangible way of showing your appreciation for their business.
  • It is an unexpected gesture.
  • Many people keep thank you notes as keepsakes.
  • You will be different! Very few businesses take the time and effort to use thank you cards.
  • It gives you a reason for follow-up phone call
  • It’s a great habit to have.

STRATEGY 6….. A current, clean and methodically updated database/CRMsystem

A good CRM program will assist you in organising your contacts and tracking important dates. It can also keep for you huge amounts of information regarding your prospects, their buying habits, a section for notes, and likely times of next purchase. I have always regarded my database is my goldmine. The more good stuff you put into it, the more valuable it becomes as a resource for you in gaining more business, more easily.

STRATEGY 7…..Persistence

There is nothing truer than the statement – “Persistence overcomes resistance”. Our statistics show that over 50% of all salespeople lack any form of persistence when it comes to follow-up. That leaves the door open for anyone who can adopt the award-winning habit of persistence. With a little bit more determination and a focus on an extra 1% effort in all you do, you’ll be amazed by your results.

STRATEGY 8….. Always end your communications with a proposed next step

As most of your follow-up will be on the phone, it is always good to finish your call with a proposed next action step.

  • “May I have your permission to……” – Is an extremely courteous and nonthreatening question to ask of your prospect/customer. This question is answered YES in 99% of time…. “ May I have your permission to call you in one week”.
  • “May I have your permission to email you the…”
  • ”May I have your permission to send you a proposal regarding….”
  • “May I have your permission to visit with you and….”
  • “May I have your permission to send you important information on …”

This step guarantees continuance of the conversation.

STRATEGY 9….. Ask for referrals

FACT: You will never lose the sale for asking for a referral… But you can lose a lot of business if you don’t ask for one. Your choice.

Most sales pros set a target for referrals on a daily weekly or monthly basis. Why not set yourself a target of 1 referral per day. That will deliver you 20 referrals per month. These referrals will be the most profitable and easily closed business that you can get.

When asking for referrals, the key term you must use is… Who do you know…?

 STRATEGY 10……. Creating customers for life

In his bestselling book, CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE, Carl Sewell asks… “How good you want to be?” He also asks… “Ask your customers what they want… And give it to them”.  Your customers will be the best barometer for you in gauging your level and provision of good customer service.

MUST READ… CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE written by Carl Sewell

In his book, Carl Sewell gives 10 Commandments of customer service.  My favourite chapters are:

  • Under promise and over deliver… Customers expect you to keep your word, exceed it
  • Your mother was right….Show people respect. Be polite. It works
  • Japanese them… Learn how the best really do it, make their Systems your own. Then improve them

The strategy of creating customers for life is not all that hard when using the above eight time tested strategies.

Remember….Relationships are like plants, you must nurture them or they will wither away and die.

About David Jackson CSP 

David is internationally known as “THE SALES DOCTOR” for his Vitamins for Success and prescriptions for uplifting Profits.  He has over 30 years of experience as an internationally recognised Sales Skills and Communication Coach including Keynote Public Speaker. David brings the ability to positively transform the skills and attitudes of his audiences with humour and real world experiences. He will lift you to a new level.

15 Key Benefits of using Sales Scripts

Ever been stuck with the right things to say? 

Have you often thought that what you said could have been delivered in a better way? 

Most people don’t utilise the power in any way of using a prepared sales script. These people just shoot from the hip and hope that they will get the results they want. These same people do not keep score of their customer activities and therefore have no record of what works and what doesn’t work. 

Let’s now look at some of the myths that people spread. 

7 MYTHS YOU NEED TO DESTROY ABOUT USING SCRIPTS 

  1. They don’t work, tried one in previous job, nobody used it.
  2. People can tell when you are using a script. 
  3. You sound like a SALESPERSON, trying to sell something, whether I need it or not.  
  4. Limited customisation. You are unable to tailor your presentation to the individual needs and wants of your clients. 
  5. You sound like a robot. You have a limited flexibility of what you can say. 
  6. You sound like a telemarketer with the call centre as your background. 
  7. I am a PRO, at the job for 10 years. I know what to say! 

15 KEY BENEFITS OF USING A SALES SCRIPT 

1. Improves how you sound 

We believe when conversing with another person, particularly on the phone, your results will be improved dramatically through the use of scripts. This is because there are no gaps in the conversation and no awkward moments of not knowing what to say. You have a script/plan. 

2. Improves the impression you make 

By sounding more confident and more professional, you will automatically improve the impression you make. With time on the phone a critical issue, a script will give you a measurable improvement in the impression you make. 

3. Improves rapport 

Rapport is improved in concert with the impression you make. Remember, that people do business with people they like. Customers love to hear their own name and a courteous tone when building rapport. 

4. Improves effectiveness 

Your effectiveness on the phone or in person will immediately be improved when you follow the key points of your professionally prepared script. Confidence will be improved, retention of what the prospect says to you will also be improved along with a more professional discussion. 

5. Improves confidence 

When your sales and service team members know that they can rely on a good script, their confidence when handling a customer enquiry will grow. 

6. Decreases stress 

When new people join your sales and service team, they will be unfamiliar with what they should be saying and how they should be responding to your customer enquiries. A book of scripts or computer link to where they find your company’s tailored scripts makes this a far less stressful situation. 

7. Increases activity level 

You will be able to do more in less time with a professional script. They keep you organised and totally accountable for your results. With a happy and good attitude, you really can increase your activity levels with a good script hugely. 

8. Promotes consistency 

Consistency in what they’re saying is really important for your sales and service team. When the team has a company tailored and agreed-upon scripts they become more powerful. Consistency brings with it professionalism and better results. We need the same response given every time to a customer enquiry. 

9. Increases your confidence 

Following a script will increase your confidence level because by using a script you are asking all of the relevant information required to move forward with your prospect. You don’t have to remember anything……Just use your script! 

10. Reduces training time 

The length of training sessions can be reduced for individuals and teams by using script books, charts and computer-generated programs. 

11. Increases customer satisfaction 

With a script, you will be able to measure an individual’s KPI’s and performance. With this information, you will be able to spend time with poor performers in order to increase the customers’ approval rating. 

12. Assists in maintaining compliance 

Compliance to laws and regulations today is not a choice. They must be regulated and adhered to 100%. We must ensure all of our sales and customer service team members are using compliant scripts and replying truthfully and ethically to all customer requests. 

13. Avoiding human error 

When we have a script, we are encouraged to cover all of the points in the script. When we do this, we avoid human error of forgetting certain key questions that need to be asked. 

14. Measuring results 

When scripts are used, we can hold people accountable for their activities. We are able to measure KPI’s in all of their activities. This gives us the opportunity of continuous improvement. We can highlight problems and tweak scripts when necessary. 

15. Overcoming objection 

You will handle objections so you much more easily when you have a script or a list of bullet points to cover when responding to your customer’s objections. This gives you the power in any conversation. 

It’s in front of you….You don’t have to keep thinking of what you have to say. It’s all in front of you on your script. 

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER 

  • Update and refresh your scripts often in order to keep staff motivated to use them. 
  • Actively listen to your customer….Never interrupt the customer. 
  • When you listen, you learn. You will gain more information with little effort about your customers’ needs and wants by listening, and nodding of your head to indicate that you are listening. 
  • Know-how and when to deviate from your scripted approach. 
  • The customer will often ask you for information and advice not covered in a script. It is important that these be answered when you are asked. Make a list of things that the customer may say or object to in your script, so that you are prepared no matter what. 

BENEFITS OF REAL PLAYS 

Here are four of the major benefits that are achieved by those who do some role-play, or as we prefer “real play”, with these proven and time-tested scripts. 

1. Practising 

No matter the activity, all professionals practice their skills. Practising and fine tuning your scripts can really be fun. It will also allow you to personalise the scripts you are delivering to your client with a more meaningful message. 

2. Building confidence 

When you review or practice something constantly, your confidence will grow. Real plays develop confidence in you leading to a far more successful sales winning conversation. 

3. Developing active listening skills 

When you use a script, because you have the words in front of you, you don’t have to be constantly thinking about what you’re going to say next. This allows you to listen a lot more intently to what your prospect is saying. 

4. Developing group problem solving abilities 

When in a group situation or group discussion, fine tuning of your scripts will pay huge dividends. Concerns and problems can be raised and extinguished through meaningful discussions and changes to the set script. It is essential that everyone, and I repeat everyone, is happy with and uses the same script. 

IN CONCLUSION 

  • Be different 
  • Be and sound professional 
  • Be a user of customer friendly and results measured scripts 
  • Ask for referrals 

About David Jackson CSP 

David is internationally known as “THE SALES DOCTOR” for his “Vitamins for Success” and highly effective “Sales Problem Solver”. He has over 30 years of experience as an internationally recognised Sales Skills and Communication Coach including Keynote Speaker. David brings the ability to positively transform the skills and attitudes of his audiences with humour and real world experiences. He will lift you and your team to a new level. 

It’s Spring… Time To Get Creative

The newbie real estate agent  had just closed his first deal.  To his horror he discovered the piece of land he’d sold was mostly submerged at high tide.  He asked his boss if they should annul the deal, but his boss roared at him, “Money back? What kind of salesman are you? Get out there and sell him a houseboat.”

There’s always a not so obvious answer.  Spring is a great time to get creative… analyse what you’ve done, contrast it with the best in the industry, and figure out how you can be the biggest mover in your marketplace.  Analysis and benchmarking of results are the awesome tools that can make a huge difference.

It’s All About ‘Mindset’

How ordinary people achieve extraordinary results…

and I don’t just mean ‘being positive’, you need to find your purpose and your passion and focus on raising the standard of your delivery. Do you embrace a challenge or avoid it? Do you keep going when you get a setback – or give up easily? Do you learn from criticism or take it personally? Mind blockages or having a fixed mindset affect your ability to achieve and succeed – so form a plan and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Look around you at those who are successful – they are usually positive, go-getters who see a setback as a challenge and keep going!  It is important to create a balanced life and make time for the things that make you smile – spending time with family and friends and having some ‘me’ time is crucial to ensure you are surrounding yourself with an environment to live a fulfilling life. You’ve got to create a lifestyle .. not a job.  We are fortunate to have a number of excellent coaches on board to assist you with getting your mindset on the path to success – give us a call today on 0800 800 303 to book in a session with either myself, Mark Sutherland, Steve Gurney or Mike Allsop.

Understanding your client

One of the key things for you to do this month is to really get an understanding of who your client really is.  Review sales for February, March and April and create a client profile or demographic that gives you a clear understanding of who your customer really is.  Consider location, age group and employment characteristics to build your profile.  By doing this, you will have a much clearer idea of who your client is and how to get more of them.  I am consistently seeing businesses that have not defined their target market of clients and understand how they can get more of them.  Spend the time to review your sales history and you may very well be surprised on how easy it is to get more of them.

Exciting launch of INK Consulting Associates

Over the last 1½ years, as I have continued to build the darrenpratley.com speaking business, I have been consistently seeing self-employed business owners or team members that are needing support or help in developing their business.  As there are many areas of business that I don’t work in, I thought it was important for me to have some very strong solutions that could assist them in developing  their business in areas where I don’t necessarily work.  From this, we developed the concept of INK Consulting Associates where we have brought together a range of high performing consultants and topic experts that can help support our clients in improving their business and developing growth.  We can see from many of our discussions with our clients that growth of their business becomes a very important part of what they do as their success improves.  With the success, growth is a key focus and that is why we are really focusing on becoming the growth agency for self-employed business owners and their businesses.  Over the coming months, we are looking to add high performing consultants on our team and ensure they are able to provide us with expert and industry leading information to assist our clients.

Trust

Over a number of years I have been working with various industries that are looking to develop a trusted relationship with their clients. As you look to develop your relationships with your clients into the future, getting them to understand your value proposition, how your service works and the skill that you have in providing that service or product. Being able to have a in-depth discussion with your customer around their needs and wants for your service or product will make your life easier when it comes to the sales process. I have noticed many businesses still trying to treat sales in the traditional formats of building pipelines, pressuring and disturbing customers around their purchase time frames or opportunity and pressing them for payment for the goods. Please understand that as we are all more savvy around the sales environment, more informed about the product choice via the internet, we are now demanding that the people that we work with have the integrity, the credibility and the ongoing relationship with us before we are willing to trust and then make the purchase.

Have a think about your business today, how you can get your clients to understand the trust proposition that you provide. Identify the areas where you can provide advice and information that will make their lives easier and get them to where they want to be. Your customers’ success is your success, so focus on identifying it and moving your business to take advantage of that. If you are looking for some support about how to identify your businesses trust opportunity and then how to seize on it, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Five Steps to Analyse Your Market Place

1.         Google search

Google search your industry, your known competitors and related industry participants and print all relevant content that you can find to build a collection of your industry competitors.  Now analyze it.

2.         Mystery shop

Get someone that you trust to mystery shop your competitors checking:
(a)        customer connection;
(b)        needs identification;
(c)        solution development;
(d)        pricing, terms and conditions;
(e)        closing the sale;
(f)        ongoing relationship definition.

3.         Direct analysis and comparison

Review the above mystery shop items to identify what your competitors are doing in regards to service, product offering and client retention ability. Compare to your own service proposition.  Have you ever had someone mystery shop your business?

4.         External assessor

Use an external party to complete a service assessment on your business.  Having someone who knows about how far industry service propositions have developed and assess your business against this criteria will give you a great idea on how to move your business closer to your customer.

5.         International benchmarking

It is always important to look at what the leaders in your industry are doing.  Don’t be limited by your geographic boarder in regards to development of your service.  International markets can help you grow your service proposition.

You Need to Make the Calls!

In sales, because of the further development of electronic communication tools such as text messaging, emails and Facebook, many people have moved away from the tried and tested and proven communication tool, the telephone.

The use of the telephone and creating a call to a prospect or an opportunity allows you to create a personal connection with that client that no electronic means will provide.

We know that if we can make personal contact with a potential or opportunity, the ability for us to listen to the client’s situation, understand their needs and then propose some potential solutions, helps them feel that we care and that there is a person involved in the transaction.

Because of many salespeoples’ reliance on electronic mediums there is also a reluctance to call.

This reluctance or fear of calling is a key factor in most salespeople’s inability to make the required number of calls per day.

We have to investigate why these fears or this nervousness is happening and create clear solutions to enable these calls to be made.

Once the initial fears are overcome and confidence builds, creating more and more calls to prospects becomes easy.

These new prospects are either added to your database as future opportunities or appointments are secured from that initial information and discussion.

It is simple and clear that you just have to make your calls. Putting a simple call script in place to give you some key pointers for discussing your client’s true wants and needs will help you create solutions that enable the transaction to happen.

Creating More Sales by “Feeling the Pain and Doing it Anyway”

Having worked with hundreds of self-employed business owners, I constantly see a simple mistake that literally costs business owners tens of thousands of dollars.

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the ability to attract customers can be more challenging and with the speed of losing customers ever increasing, we should reassess the adage that it is cheaper to keep a past or existing customer than it is to chase a new one.

Recently, I was working with a client who has built a very successful business over 14 years and was commenting about how his energy for chasing new clients and opportunities was beginning to challenge his passion and drive for new business. On asking about his past clients, he provided a very noncommittal response.

I then asked, “When was the last time that you talked to your past clients?” The blood drained from his face and he looked at the floor.

From that response, I knew the answer.

Today in business, it is very easy for us to do the deal and move onto the next one, continually spending our time chasing new business and opportunities. But it is also so easy for us to forget the deals we have done for clients where we have impressed them, but through lack of communication we have let them slip away, allowing them to be picked up by a competitor.

My challenge to you is simple. This month, create a campaign that specifically targets your past clients.

Yes, you will feel uncomfortable, but you need to do it anyway.  The simple introduction of, “Hi it’s Darren here, I’ve been updating my database and noticed we haven’t talked for such a long time I thought I would give you a call to say hi.”

This simple statement will give you feedback from your client that at least lets you know how to move forward.

Please feel the fear and make the call anyway as it will be a great chance for you to begin new relationships with your past clients. Plus, I know this really works.