Successful sales managers know that the sales person who masters follow-up, masters selling. Just like a golf or tennis shot, the power is in the follow-through.
Maintain a dialogue with those leads and those clients you are currently working with. The golden rule is to keep in touch. Selling hates a vacuum.
We’ve lost count of the salespeople who contact our office to interest us in their product or service once or maybe twice and then we never hear from them again. Keep plugging away with meticulous courtesy and I promise you will make more sales. Persistence is persuasive. People want to do business with those who really want it. You never lose a sale until you decide to quit.
Your next contact, even if it’s the seventh one to the same person in the last six months, could be the one that opens up the business. Highlight this in your sales training. Just because a customer doesn’t have a current requirement doesn’t mean they won’t next year or the year after. Keep in touch.
If the customer tells you to contact them again in two years and one month’s time because that’s when the contract with their existing supplier expires, do it. Nothing should be allowed to slip through the cracks. Ever wonder why Coke and Pepsi run ads throughout the year? Surely everyone knows about them, so why continue to advertise? Big advertisers have learned that knowing about a brand isn’t enough; the decision to buy is also influenced by how recently we heard about it.
What does this mean for you? It’s not simply how long you’ve been nurturing a potential customer or how many times you have spoken to them that counts – it’s how close your last contact was to the time when they are ready to buy.
Nurture is the name of the game. You need to establish a regular contact schedule with every potential customer. Visit in person, use the telephone, send an email, brochure, article reprint or something else that will keep your name in the forefront of the customer’s mind at least once a month. You need both selling and marketing skills to succeed in today’s market.
We’re happy with our existing supplier
Keep in mind that all relationships ebb and low, they have good times and not so good times. If your customers say they are happy with their current supplier, the soundest policy is to be patient, and to be tastefully persistent by keeping your name in front of the customer. Email them with relevant testimonials, call them – build a relationship.
Solidly position yourself as number 2. Their existing supplier may become complacent or the salesperson may leave. You will then be well positioned to win the business. If you position yourself as number 2 in enough companies, sooner or later you are going to be number 1 in some of them.
Never fall into the trap of assuming that your customers are only interested in your company and your product. Instead, take it for granted that they are being bombarded, induced and seduced by all sorts of other products, services and suppliers.
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