Managing director of Vincent Consulting
Timely follow-ups after a sales contact is a critical element in any client contact or engagement, but it is one of the things that can easily fall through the cracks without proper planning, discipline, and execution.
Ongoing sales follow-ups allow you to anticipate problems, address them before they become major obstacles, manage client expectations, build new relationships and identify new other “reinforcers” for future sales contacts.
This is an ongoing process that involves short-term and longterm actions, including notes of thanks, phone calls or meetings to manage project initiation, timely administration (paperwork), internal communications, and/or team assignments.
The timing of the initial follow-up should be immediate, and the frequency and methods will depend on the nature of the client commitment or project.
A construction related company I know of has a systematic process using a spreadsheet with a “sort by date” follow up on all leads bi-monthly, until either the client chooses to unsubscribe, or gives the company information that indicates a future contact can be made at a more suitable time.
This company has more than 120 leads on its books and no lead slips through the cracks.
A systematic plan and system for following-up is best, and often includes project software, MS outlook/calendar management, excel spreadsheets and so on.
Ask yourself these questions
What needs to happen in terms of:
People – who do I need to contact internally and or externally to make the next step happen?
Communications – what confirmations need to be sent to the client and what information to send to your team?
Timing – when are things and actions needed? Other resources – what resources are required for this outcome? The time, energy or money to make it all happen.
Maintaining positive momentum – how do I ensure all will go to plan so that the client and my company are fully informed on progress, and the client will receive what they want, in full, on time and to the best quality?
Will future follow ups be necessary to on-sell parts or services?
What did I learn about the client/ organisation?
Do I need to update client information and who were the influencers and deceision makers?
What did I do well? What can I do better next time?
What client records should be updated?