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Make Winning Follow-Up Calls That Turn Prospects Into Clients

By Wayan Vota on October 26, 2009

By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach™

If you’re calling on a prospect with the intent to follow up with them rather than calling on them cold or for the first time (example: following up after sending them a brochure, press kit, product/service information, an initial conversation at a networking event, etc.), consider the following points:

1. Deliver Value in Every Call. When following up, don’t simply call to “follow up.” In other words, stay away from calling with the intention to see if they’ve received your information or to “check in” to ask if they have any immediate needs for your product/service. Take some extra time and weave in a compelling reason for your call. How can you deliver value to them? Is there something timely that you can share with them about your product/service or about their industry? Is there something newsworthy that you can discuss that applies to them? Perhaps a success story with a client you’ve worked with?

Below are some examples that you can use when making follow-up calls:
“After reflecting back upon our conversation, I have some new ideas that I’d like to share with you regarding how our [product/service] may actually complement and enhance what you’re currently doing, especially when it comes to [state benefit/end result they could realize].”

“I was thinking about another client who was in a similar situation as yours and thought that you might be interested in hearing about how we were able to eliminate the challenges they had, such as [state some problems your product/service could eliminate].”

“We’ve made some interesting changes to our [product line/service/programs/packages] and thought of you and the results you were looking to achieve. There may be a great fit here worth exploring in more detail so that you can [state compelling benefit].”

2. Bridge Each Conversation. Bridge any previous conversation or contact with your follow-up call. Refer back to your initial conversation and remind the prospect why they need to continue that conversation with you. What initially piqued their interest? Use phrases like, “I’d like to continue the conversation we began about …”; “Let’s continue our discussion about how we can …”; “As we discussed last week when we met, let’s see if there’s a way for us to …”; or “Based on our prior conversation, I’m calling to continue our discussion about ….”  If you happen to send them literature, rather than asking if they received it, weave it into the intention of the call. For example: “Let’s take a moment to discuss what I had sent you and see if it makes sense for us to proceed further/explore working together.”

3. Keep the Fire Alive. If you let your dinner sit too long, it’s bound to get cold. The same rule applies to your prospects. Even the warmest of prospects who initiate first contact can turn to ice. If you don’t continually remind the prospect why they are investing their time in talking with you (WIIFM? — “What’s in it for me?”) and why this is a priority, something else will always take precedent.

This process must continue all the way up until the point when the prospect can finally realize the benefits on their own. This only occurs after the sale is made and the prospect (who has since become a client) is actually using your product or service. Now, they don’t need any additional prompting, since they get to experience the benefits firsthand rather than hearing about them from you.

Filed Under: Sales
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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