It’s long been said that The Fortune is in the Follow-Up!
So the reality of the concept certainly isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t an earth shattering concept either…so one is perplexed as to why actual follow-up process is such an uphill battle!
Andy Paul, the author of Zero-Time Selling said, “The ART of sales follow-up is less important that the ACT of sales follow-up. Get in the game first, and then work on your craft.” In this regard we should apply the slogan of NIKE – “Just Do It”, or incorporate Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s Habit One, “Be Proactive!” Of course the point, or end result, of what Andy Paul is saying here is that the advantage of forging forward with the follow-up creates momentum and leads to tremendous results – rather than doing what the average salesperson does, which is simply to not follow-up, period!
The oft repeated statistical facts, from the National Sales Executive Association, are:
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact br />10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
In other words, simply put, it takes on average you being proactive enough to reach out at least 5 – 12 times before your client is going to make a purchase! That is the cumulative statistic based on multiple industries and various sales processes. So, it would seem that the natural common-sense approach to the profession of sales is to realize from the get-go that successfully pursuing each and every lead or opportunity is going to take 5-12 contacts, or perhaps even more! If you accept this, and ACT on it, then you’ll have tremendous success.
Related InformationBy: C. Franklin Nilson
Franklin is a guest contributor with Dark Twin Marketing. He has over 40 years experience in sales and sales techniques.
Some more statistics – and these are as astoundingly revealing as they are disturbing:
48% of sales people never
follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts!!
It can be disconcerting to discover that success in sales is in fact a numbers game! But herein is where the mix of the ART and the SCIENCE of the sales processes come together.
These statistics are demonstrative of the SCIENCE of the sale. In other words, as you do the left side of the equation you can be assured to receive the right side of the equation. When it comes to the sheer quantity of follow-up’s required - do the ground work, take the action, be proactive, JUST DO IT – and that will equal success.
Now the ART side of the sales process: As you progress, if you remain teachable, reading and studying along the way, you will get significantly better and your personal numbers will improve - in a staggering way! Most likely, there will come a time in your sales career – if you don’t jump from product to product, or from company to company – when you’ll make a terrific living from the referrals of loyal customers. And the statistics from that caliber of lead follow-up is vastly better than 50-50 within a very short time, especially when a personal introduction is made on your behalf by your loyal customer, who, by the way, has become a tremendous lifelong friend.
One of the most difficult hurdles in this process, early in the game, is to realize that a ‘no’ is not a death knell! No’s are simply little bumps on the road to Yes! And our attitude when we receive a no MUST reflect the understanding of the reality that often times it’s better to get a no and be able to move forward than it is to continually rely on the possibility of a yes in the very near future. I’ve seen particular sales reported on sales projections for weeks and then months before the reality that it’s simply not going to happen finally sets in and the projection is removed to the chagrin of the salesperson. Meanwhile, far too much time was invested in the “if-come” – rather than in working towards a higher probability sale with someone else that would have resulted in income.
Here are some little tricks that will advance your progress towards success much faster: (These are not in any specific order and are general in nature – but I’ve seen 100’s of salespeople make gigantic strides with their application.
1. When doing follow-up’s in your office or cubie – stand up, look into a mirror, be animated and act like someone you’d be willing to talk to…and don’t forget to smile.
2. Stay in touch with everyone. Google the “MacKay 66” and begin to fill out this terrific loyalty building tool for each and every prospect and customer you talk with. Don’t forget or minimize the importance of remembering birthdays, holidays and special events in the lives of your prospects and customers. Doing this with regularity will differentiate you radically from your competition.
3. Be ‘LIKEABLE’ – Brian Tracy said that likeability is the single most important trait of successful salespeople. If you doubt this, think back in your own personal experience and ask yourself when you made your 2nd or 3rd purchase from someone that you disdained? Realize that even in your favorite grocery store you’ll wait for 2-3 people in front of you just to be checked out by the checker that makes you feel appreciated and is likeable, even when shorter lines are available at the line of the grouchy checker that is burdened by your visit! Right? Be likeable…
4. Remember that when it comes to buying – we all love to buy, but none of us love to be sold! Often times we’ll enter a store with the absolute intent of making a purchase of a specific item. Maybe we saw it on an advertisement, maybe not – but we’re going to buy. What’s the first thing we say when a salesperson asks if they can help us? “No thanks, just looking!” We must remember that same mental process when we’re pursuing the follow-up on our leads as the salesperson.
5. Realize that one never “arrives” – and that the key is to keep on a schedule that stretches your abilities. The old TV show Columbo, had Peter Falk always asking just one more question! For those of you who’ve never seen this, Google it and apply his technique to your sales career. Always ask just one more question – always make just one more phone call – always do the little bit extra that turns ordinary into extraordinary! Under-promise and over-deliver and you’ll be indispensable to your company, your team, your clients – and as a byproduct, you’ll enjoy your life and career immensely.
6. Relationships are everything – realize that they don’t form easily. They’re based on trust, and trust can easily be lost, and once lost can be almost impossible to restore. How many of us are friends with people that we initially wanted nothing to do with, yet over time we’ve become loyal friends? The same is true with those we’re prospecting. If we view them as future friends and business associates, we will not become frustrated with setbacks and contact number five through twelve and beyond.Harvey MacKay said, “The mark of a good sales person is that clients don’t regard them as a salesperson at all, but as a trusted and indispensable adviser who luckily is on the someone else’s payroll.” It’s ironic that some will say that this quotation is dated, it was first published in his 1988 book, Swim with the Sharks. The reality is that I’ve found it to be absolutely true in the dozens of markets that I’ve personally been involved with, consulted with and studied over the past 40 years. If you model yourself after these simple - though not easy to implement - techniques, traits, and skills, you’ll find tremendous success as you progress in your sales career. Remember to get your follow-up on, get it on timely, and be tactfully persistent. Never give up! The successful sales career is a process going from an introduction - all the way through to the objective of loyalty (not merely satisfaction...you can’t have loyalty without satisfaction, but you certainly can have satisfied customers that are not loyal!) Would you want your spouse and co-workers satisfied or loyal? Realize that the process takes time, patience, and continual effort, and it involves many advances along the way that at the time may seem insignificant. Persist and you’ll find that the career of sales will grant you every thing you ever wanted in life.