Sales is a multi-faceted profession that requires several key components for success. A good salesperson should be empathetic towards customers and tune into their needs, wants and feelings. You also should be knowledgeable about your product or service, friendly, optimistic, genuine, committed and driven. If you excel at all these things, and still falter in making a final sale, maybe you should re-evaluate your follow-up process. Here are some tips for improving your follow-up techniques.
Pursue all types of leads
You'll obviously want to follow up with a hot lead because they carry the most potential for a sale. This is great and to be expected. However, you should never neglect the customer who was interested, but not quite ready. You need to boost these leads and make them a priority with a follow-up phone call, email or another contact method. If you ignore these leads and focus on hot leads only, you could lose important future sales and profits. Although it can be grueling work, contacting all lead types with current sales incentives, offers or programs may turn your customers around to a sale much sooner than you anticipated.
Warming a cold or indecisive lead
In pursuing all types of leads, you want to be able to convince indecisive customers that you offer something they can't resist. So, how can you effectively turn your cold lead into a warm lead that gets closer to the sale? Employ an effective content marketing strategy. According to Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." You can warm prospects by providing them with valuable, on-demand information that is relevant to your products and services, and demonstrates how those products and services can meet your customers' current or future needs. Plus, you need to communicate regularly with these prospects to keep your business in the front of their mind. Log those communications internally and track which communications are ultimately converted to a sale.
Timing is everything
Timing is critical in the art of following up. When you meet or make contact with a prospect that doesn't immediately generate a sale, follow up as soon as possible. Send an email soon after your meeting to express how nice it was to meet or schedule a reminder to call the prospect the next day, but be sure to mention something from your conversation or meeting to show you were paying attention. The best practice is to have a set plan and schedule in place for all your prospects, and be sure to stick to it religiously. If you tell someone you are going to send them a note or call them, do what you say. This builds trust and shows you are dependable and true to your word.
Optimize social media to connect
Finally, this is a digital age so companies need to get on the digital-sharing highway, and a great way to follow up and stay connected to prospects is through social media sites. According to Hubspot, more than half of marketers using social media for at least two years report it has helped them improve sales, while 85 percent of all marketers are actively pursuing social media marketing. If you're not using social media to stay connected with prospects, start doing it now. Offer your Twitter handle, Facebook and Instagram accounts on every email. Find your prospects and connect with them to keep the communication flowing.
This article was written by Lori Melton for Small Business Pulse
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