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Phone Call Follow-Up Tips for Small Business Owners

Effective Follow-Up With a Personal Touch

Mastering Phone Call Follow-Up

5 Steps to Closing the Deal

Raise your hand if you love getting phone calls from telemarketers! C’mon, don’t be shy! Oh, I see…

Unless you love being interrupted and thrust violently into a sales conversation, or you are just really lonely, you probably don’t like dealing with telemarketers. And it’s THAT feeling that causes so many business owners to shy away from phone call follow-up. They don’t want to be that guy. The guy that interrupts someone and wastes their time.

Fair enough. But there are two things you should know:

Number 1…

  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact!

Number 2…

Telemarketing and phone call follow-up are VASTLY different beasts.

If you are following up, the other party has already reached out to you. They are interested, and now you can put a friendly voice to your offer and answer any questions the prospect may have. Think of it as “warm calling,” as opposed to “cold calling.” Much different. Much easier. Much better. And yet…

  • 48% of sales people NEVER follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of sales people make more than three contacts

In this report, you’ll get 5 steps to help you understand and master the art of phone call follow-up, so you can start closing that 80% of sales you are missing! It’s not trickery or pushiness – it’s sincerity and persistence.

1.) Know Why You’re Calling

The two most important components of an effective follow-up phone call are:

  • Direction – Where the conversation is going to go, and
  • Intent – What you want to accomplish at the end of the call.

As for intent, limit yourself to what you want to accomplish at the end of this call. Maybe that is a sale, but not always. If you have a longer sales cycle, your goal might be to have the prospect download a free report. Or it might be to get them to understand that they really do have the problem your product can solve. Or maybe it’s as simple as setting up another, more in-depth call or meeting. Whatever the goal is, use it as a barometer of the call’s success. If you accomplish your goal, it’s a success! You are one step closer to a sale! Don’t get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentality.

2.) Know Exactly What You Want to Say

Because this is a follow-up call, you know the prospect has shown interest in your offer somehow. Maybe they requested a quote online, or called in to get a quote, but decided to think it over some more. So that helps you figure out your direction: You are calling to explain why choosing your company is the right decision. Or maybe your direction is that you are calling to alert them to a special offer they can take advantage of. It might sound elementary, but you need to how you will get from “hello” to accomplishing your goal. If you don’t, the conversation will get awkward and ugly – fast.

You should have a loose outline of what information the prospect should know by the end of the conversation. Knowing the direction you want to take allows you to drive the conversation without dominating it. You need to steer the conversation while at the same time being flexible to the needs of the prospect.

To create your loose outline:

  • Write out your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is the most important piece of information to convey in the conversation because it explains why you are a better choice than the competition. (If you don’t know yours, you can download a helpful worksheet we’ve developed to help you come up with one.)
  • Next, make a list of other important information you want the prospect to know. This could be compelling facts and figures, your story, a case study – whatever. As long as it supports the goal of the call, write it down.
  • Finally, make a list of common hesitations you have encountered from other prospects in the past, and how to respond to them. That way when your prospect brings up one of these topics, you have a response on hand. And having answers to their concerns will win you huge credibility points.

3.) Be YOU

You absolutely DO NOT want to sound like you’re reading off of a script. Be prepared with your outline, but allow the conversation to flow naturally. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

  • Use a conversational tone. Don’t be too formal.
  • Listen as much as you speak. If you are doing all the talking, they are probably just biding their time until they can end the call.
  • Understand their perspective. Each prospect will be unique, and understanding exactly where they are coming from helps you tailor your message to their specific situation.
  • Answer questions. If the prospect is asking questions, it means they are engaged. Take the time to fully answer all of their questions. This will establish your professionalism and knowledge.

People want to do business with people. Simply being yourself in your follow-up calls will help the prospect feel more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in the conversation!

4.) Set a Schedule

Many salespeople don’t follow up with prospects enough (or at all – remember that stat from the beginning?). Why? It’s not because they’re lazy; it’s because they’re afraid of annoying them. They don’t want to lose them forever by ticking them off. That is a valid, and I totally get it. HOWEVER, if you are personal and prospect-focused in your follow-up calls, the relationship actually gets better over time.

Most people are not annoyed by someone who genuinely wants to help. If you are sincere, and you really think your product can make their lives better, easier, or more productive, don’t be afraid to follow up! You will get a few people that are impossible to please, obviously, but that’s life. Don’t take it personally and move on! The added revenue you’ll generate from those you DO make a connection with will be well worth that little bit of extra effort.

So here’s what you do:

  • Make follow-up phone calls once a week for a 6-week period after the initial contact.
  • If the prospect shows interest, stick with the once a week timeline until they come to a decision.
  • If the prospect is not showing interest, scale back the calls. Make them once a month or once a quarter instead. This allows you to get into that 80% category where your prospect is very likely to convert, but it won’t wear them out if they are truly not ready to buy.

5.) Always Make Another Point of Contact

Look back at those stats. It’s unlikely your prospects will be sold after one or two calls. That is why you need to establish a new contact opportunity at the end of each of your calls. There are lots of ways to do this. Let’s look at a couple common examples:

During the conversation, the prospect asks a question that you don’t have a complete answer for. At the end of the call, you mention that you will do more research and call them next week to address the question fully.

As the conversation is winding down, you see that you have covered everything you wanted to cover, but the prospect isn’t ready to take the action you set as your goal. You thank them for their time and mention that you will check in next week after they have had some time to digest everything, to see if they have any more questions.

And that’s a wrap! You have everything you need to start closing more sales over the phone! Here are your action items:

  • Create a checklist for follow-up phone calls, including topics you would like to cover and generating another point of contact.
  • Make a list of frequently asked questions and concerns you normally receive from prospects and customers
  • Write an outline of the information you want to provide prospects during the phone call. Focus on your USP, benefits of your products or service, great customer case studies, and any experience or qualifications you have in your industry.

Good luck! And feel free to call 1-800-628-1804 if you need any more assistance!

Phone Call Follow-Up Tips for Small Business Owners
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