When You Don’t Make The Sale
So you didn’t make the sale. They didn’t want to do business with you. Your product was not for them…not right now, at least. Now that is the key word. Not right now…. That is the key word… Not now.
Just because you didn’t catch them at the right time right now, it is a huge mistake to think that they won’t purchase from you in the future. You must have an organized follow up system. This is critical. The salesperson without an organized and efficient follow-up process is going to be left behind. Let’s face it – most sales are not made on the first sales call.
You must follow up. When you don’t make the sale, ask yourself if this is a qualified prospect:
1. Are they in your area of deliverability? You may have a product that is only useful to those within 100 miles or you may have a product that is useful to those worldwide. Regardless, determine if they are in your geographic sphere. If they are, move to your next qualifier.
2. Are they a decision maker?
3. Are they in the industry you target?
4. Are they in the gender or age group you target (if you target these)?
5. Is their budget or income in your target prospect?
6. Do you believe your product would be useful to them?
You may not know this for sure, but you can make an educated guess. If you answer yes to these questions, then they are indeed a prospect. So don’t give up on them just because they haven’t purchased from you. Instead, develop a streamlined sales follow-up approach
You must have a systematic follow-up system to keep in front of the prospect. When you make your contact, get every piece of information about them that you can. Find a way to constantly stay in front of your contact. Find out when their birthday is and send them an email or a card through regular mail, maybe even a short phone call. Have a postcard of the month that goes out to all your prospects with a quote of the day or motivational blurb. If you know what kind of business that they are in, send them referrals and make sure that they know you are sending them. You might even call the prospect if they are in the auto repair business and tell them that your cousin’s car is on the blink and needs work, then give him your cousin’s number. Of course, only do this if your cousin knows and has given you approval to help. This is really going to keep you at the forefront of the prospect’s mind. So bring them referrals. This will help form a friendship, and all sales start with a friendship!
There are great electronic methods to organizing your contacts, too. You could use the sales program ACT or Goldmine. These type of software and contact management programs will keep everything straight and remind you of when you need to contact someone or of an event or birthday.
A card scanner is a great idea. Instead of spending hours upon hours entering business cards into your database from the last convention that you attended, just scan them in and put them in your database. Lickity split! Use a note card filing system. This is somewhat old fashioned, but guess what? It still works and you don’t have to have electric power to operate it. Above all, don’t just write important information on loose sheets of paper because this type of stuff will get lost. It will also make you appear disorganized and you will lose face in front of your customers. When you open up your brief case, don’t let papers fall out all over the floor. Instead have a neat and organized folder and brief case.
When you follow up with a client, you may send a few testimonial letters from satisfied customers. If you say it, they may think that it is a lie. But when others say it they believe it. So send a few in a follow up. Schedule a lunch meeting and offer to buy, or take them to a sporting event. Regardless, the follow-up and relationship building after the first contact is going to be just as crucial, if not more crucial, than your actual sales presentation.
So don’t spend all your efforts in your presentation, question asking and product knowledge–though these are really, really important. If you have a fantastic follow-up system, you are going to find yourself giving more and more presentations and getting more and more business. So make sure that you have a plan for follow-up.
Make it strategic and get as much information as you can on the prospect to fill out as much as you can for the Mackay 66. (See page 43). You will be amazed at the answers their walls will give you. Their walls will have college diplomas, pictures of favorite sports teams, hobbies and their family. When you walk into an office, go into Sherlock Holmes mode. Scan the room like you are a computer and take note of every pen holder, picture, diploma, stuffed animal and begin to get a feel for who they are.
Remember the crucial data and enter it into your Mackay 66 as soon as you exit. You will also want to use the gate keeper as a source for information. Do not blow this person off. While they may not have the income that the contact person does – it is often very likely that they do have a tremendous amount of pull with your contact person and a relationship that your contact may rely on and advice they may rely on. So take note of what the gatekeeper is interested in, as well–their hobbies, interests and family, etc. Also use the gatekeeper to get information on your prospect. Pretend like you are a CIA agent and get as much intel as you can. Then after you have the intel use it and follow up – follow up and follow up again!