We get a lot of questions about successful follow-up strategies. Following up can be a very difficult process to theorize as it will be different from industry to industry, depending on what you are selling and how you are selling it. Having said that, this will be a generalized piece informing you all of some great follow-up tips and strategies that have been proven to generate success.
First thing's first, you must visualize the type of customers to whom you are selling your product. This will dictate frequency of your follow-up calls to these individuals. For example, if you are selling a product that a customer saw on a television ad and called in immediately after seeing it, this is going to be an impulse buyer and you may only have one shot. If it doesn't turn out to be a so called "one-and-done" sale, then you must begin following up IMMEDIATELY. That customer should be called again that same day, to see if they have any other questions before you finish the transaction. If the customer does not answer the phone, a voicemail should be left with your specific phone number for call back and prompting them to call you back immediately. Another follow-up call should be placed again first thing the next day. And another one sometime later in the day. Both with VOICEMAILS.
When you leave a voicemail, be sure to always include your full name, company and direct phone line for them to return your call. BUT DON'T LEAVE YOUR NAME AND COMPANY IN THE OPENING OF YOUR VOICEMAIL. The majority of voicemails get deleted immediately after the customer realizes who it is. Furthermore, you only have about 10 seconds before you lose their attention and they hit that delete button. Be sure to use their name to instantly connect on a personal level. Spark their interest by saying, "Hey John, I'm calling you today to set up an appointment so that we can further discuss..." or "John, I've got some great news for you! I'm going to be able to..." Then, you can leave your name, company and phone number. Repeating your phone number is essential to ensure that they are writing the correct numbers down.
When your customer picks up the phone, DO NOT... I repeat... DO NOT start the conversation with, "Hello, this is James, following up with you on the..." First of all, this is completely unnecessary because your customer already knows why you're calling. BE DIFFERENT. Make the customer feel unique by immediately re-addressing their pain and continuing the previous phone call. Jog their memory by re-creating the value of the product you are selling them. Something along the lines of, "Hey John, in our previous conversation, you said that you wanted to make sure..." or "John, I've been thinking and I have come up with a solution for you to..." This will draw your customer in and immediately spark their interest all over again. I cannot count how many times I've heard sales reps say "Hey John, is James following up with you on the..." and they are hung up on within the first 3 seconds of introducing themselves and telling the customer why they are "just touching base."
One thing that I have personally loved doing in the past is using an OPTIONS CLOSE during the opening of the follow-up call. Although, this only work in phone sales, it can be extremely efficient if done correctly. Also, I would not recommend using this on the first or second or even third or fourth follow-up call. You can call this a "last ditch effort." I have been known to close prospects that were in my inbox for several months to a year. It's a very simple process and a very assumptive process.
The 2 options were 1) questions and 2) buy now. There is no option 3. I would ask my customer if they had any questions before finalizing the deal. That's it. Wait. If they responded with, "No, I'm still thinking" I would then try to get them to reveal what is holding them back (whether it's price, competition, etc.). Once they revealed their true hesitation, I would ask if there was anything else holding them back. I would be sure to remind them why they need this product/service and how it would help them. I would push their pain point in a direct way until the customer realized that they truly needed to buy this product now. I would get the ball rolling with something like, "Look, this is what we're going to do here. Let's get everything set up and I'll get your paperwork sent out to you so you can review everything to make sure it fits your needs. Where should I send your confirmation?" The key words I used there were LOOK, THIS IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO... Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of hard selling and pressure to push the customer over the edge on the right side. Again, this should be a last ditch effort and I wouldn't recommend it on your first follow-up call.