After decades of experience in sales, sales management and sales training, the No. 1 pitfall I see in sales of any product or service in any global marketplace is the lack of follow-up with prospective buyers.
After a sales meeting, 97% of prospects never receive a follow-up email, mail, fax or phone call, according to the National Association of Home Builders‘ National Sales and Marketing Council.
Therefore, the immediate recommendation is: Follow up with every prospect!
During the sales presentation, a salesperson may hopefully close the buyer three, four or five times before determining that the prospect is not ready to purchase the product that day. However, the salesperson must earn the customer’s contact information.
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It may be as simple as declining to answer all of the questions a prospect may have. The salesperson may share that each question is a good question and promise to follow up shortly.
Ask for permission to call the prospect with the answers. Make sure that you have contact information for your prospects before you end the meeting. Then, instead of calling the prospect with each answer, you may choose to call the prospect two or three different times with the answers and additional information. This process builds trust with prospects and demonstrates interest.
Since research shows so few prospects ever get this type of attention, you know your competition is not following up with these prospects so you now have a competitive edge.
Every company should have a follow-up prospect asset management or customer relationship management program to record prospects’ contact and interest information. Some companies use scraps of paper and napkins to record their information, while others use CRM software like Salesforce or Salefish. CRM programs help integrate prospect and customer information so that salespeople and managers alike can keep complete records.
Update prospects’ files after each contact has been made with notes from the meeting or phone call. Salespeople cannot remember every aspect and facet of a conversation. By documenting this information, it is easier to prepare the next customer presentation.