Follow Up System- Boost Sales

Follow-Up System: Easy Way To Boost Sales Results

No surprise that a lot of sales are lost because the business did not follow-up or gave up too soon. A good follow-up system can often boost your sales conversion rate by 10% or more!  But a one-size fits all approach isn’t the answer.  You need to build your follow-up system to support your business.

When it comes to follow-up, there are plenty of excuses floating around. I don’t have time, I don’t want to appear pushy, the customer will call when they are ready,  I knew they weren’t interested, I know they don’t have it in their budget so why bother!

It’s true that a customer must be ready, willing and able to buy in order to close a sale.  But a good system will certainly nurture your leads and help you close more sales now and set up future sales opportunities.

Sales Follow-Up | What To Consider

What’s the Risk?  Buying decisions take longer as the cost goes up or when the purchase has long-term impact or higher perceived risk.  Buying a new home or car, doing a major renovation, investing in business equipment or replacing a heating system are big investments, not impulse buys! The decision can take many months depending on where your prospect is in the buying process.

How long is the sales or buying cycle for your products and services?  You need to know this.  Then build the follow-up system to match it.  A six-month sales cycle often requires at least six months of ongoing communication.

Think Contacts. Follow-up is not a series of phone calls asking “have you decided yet”?  Nor is it a series of reshuffled sales pitches.  A good follow-up system is a combination of education and communication.  It’s a way to share information, build trust and keep your name in front of the prospect – to move them closer to YES.

Remember, buying decisions often require seven or more contacts or touches.  Giving up after a few tries will leave sales on the table.  Berating prospects with a stream of sales pitches will simply annoy them. Find the frequency and communication that works for your business – then do it consistently for each prospect.

Mix Up Connections.  While phone is certainly a great follow-up tool, it is not the only method available to you. I find a little variety goes a long way.  Based on your customers preferences and type of business, why not use a combination of phone, email, direct mail, text and social media to follow up and stay connected.

Now here’s a real benefit for all the “I am too busy” people out there.  Many of these methods can be systematized, automated, delegated or even outsourced. So supplement the personal phone calls with other communication.  You’ll save time and convert more sales.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Consistency Matters.  Leads come from a variety of sources such as networking, referrals, website, search engines, direct mail and social media.  While it’s helpful to know the source, don’t take shortcuts based on that information or other assumptions.  Apply your process consistently to all prospects – because you just never know.

close more sales

Profit From Better Sales Conversion Rates

When sales are down or you need more customers, do you automatically look for ways to generate leads? A lot of owners do because they believe their sales conversion rates are better than they actually are.

Sales conversion rate is simply how many leads you or your sales people convert to paying customers. Think of it as an efficiency measure for sales. What is your sales conversion rate? If you do not know (and I mean really know), then start to track it. Why?  Because it’s one of the untapped, low-cost profit opportunities in many small businesses.

When I ask business owners about their sales conversion rates, most estimate this to be 75% or higher.  Once we start tracking it, they are surprised to learn how low it is – sometimes 40-50% lower than they estimated.  What an opportunity – because now you can you do things to improve it.

7 Ways To Improve Your Sales Conversion Rates

  • Clearly define your ideal customer(s) and understand what is important to them. Without clear targets, every lead looks like a great opportunity.  You then end up investing a lot of time and money trying to sell to people who don’t need or want what you have to offer.  Use your resources elsewhere.
  • Recognize your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. What do you do well (from the customer’s point of view) and profitably? If you are not sure, ask your ideal customers. Then focus on prospects that NEED what you do well and be willing to let go of the others.
  • Differentiate yourself with a guarantee. If you consistently deliver a critical benefit for your target customers, a guarantee is a great way to improve sales conversion because it reduces the buyer’s perceived risk. The key to an effective guarantee — make sure your delivery is consistent and make sure it is relevant or important to your target market.  One additional point — a guarantee that has no consequence if you fail to do what you promise, has little or no value.  Here’s an example to demonstrate what I mean:  Our technician will arrive within 30 minutes of your scheduled appointment (benefit) or we will credit you $50 on the service call (consequence).
  • Create a sales management system — a consistent approach you use for every lead. Know the key touches and steps and where prospects are in your sales process.  Don’t let a lack of follow-up or an inconsistent process blow your sales opportunities.
  • Know why customers buy.  What benefits do customers get when purchasing your products or services. Make sure your sales messages and discussions communicate this. Remember, prospects may ask about features , but they buy benefits.
  • Set sales and milestone goals and track them. Key events in the sales cycle, such as face-to-face meetings or requests for proposals, are indicators of progress. Tracking tells you where prospects fall off so you can improve your sales system. Remember, what you measure, you can manage and improve.
  • Stay connected.  A ‘no’ today doesn’t mean forever.  A good process, to nurture prospects and keep them in the sales funnel, will pay off down the road.  You will simply convert them later!

As you plan your success and set your goals, look beyond lead generation and include strategies to improve your sales conversion rates.

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Are Your Customers Ready, Willing and Able to Buy?

Are customers ready, willing and able to buyThere’s an old saying, customers buy when they are ready, willing and able.  Sounds simple but it’s important to recognize this — so you can take the right actions to convert more prospects into paying customers.

Ready is a timing issue.  Consider a lawn care company that provides services from May to September.  Doing a campaign in October is too early (for next year) and doing one in June may be too late.  Know the timing cycles for buying decisions as it relates to your products or services.  Then have a way to stay connected until the timing is right and the prospect is ready.

Willing has to do a lot with perceived value.  Do your customers understand what you do and why you are the better choice for them?  Do they perceive value as it relates to your products or services? Take the time to educate customers on benefits and value.  People won’t buy without it.

Able is all about the capacity to pay.  Can they afford to buy your products or services now or in the future? If they can, stay connected as time may turn this opportunity into a sale.  If not, let it go and move on.

We all want customers who are instantly ready, willing and able to buy.  But the reality is that many aren’t.  So stay connected – by phone, by email, by mail, in person or even through social media – and move them closer to the sale.

More Ways to Grow Your Business

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