I’m on a campaign to reinvigorate and revolutionise the follow-up process in client relationships.
So let me ask you…have you ever said these phrases? Come on…be honest.
- Hi I’m just calling to follow up…
- Hi, thought I’d catch up with you about…
- I was just touching base from our last conversation...
A lot of sales people have these same old tired statements. I was told early in my career, don’t follow up unless, you’ve agreed to it already, there are commitments established or you have something truly of value to share.
Anything outside of this and you become “human spam”: unrecognised, not of value and annoying.
I can’t point fingers here as I’ve been guilty of being all three, all in the name of ‘persistence’
Why do so many sales people deliver such poor follow up?
Doing some research for my upcoming book I’ve noticed five main reasons many sales people fall at the follow up
- They believe it’s a numbers game
- They call because they’re hoping their client will have something they haven’t earned (tough one I know)
- They hadn’t set clear actions on the last call and now have to back track to get commitment
- They don’t actually know where to take the conversation next (unprepared)
- They don’t know really know whats important to the other person
Harsh I know but if you really think about it it’s true for a lot of sales people. Most sales people have no idea they have a pre- or post-sales follow-up process. Very few have a language to articulate it. They simply call it follow-up or, worse yet, account management.
Account Managers are told to stay close, build relationships and find more opportunities. Perhaps that may have got you this far. But to quote the great book by Marshall Goldsmith “What got you here won’t get you there”.
I’d like to share a simple framework for thinking about how you turn yourfollow-up into a value-up. This can be used for new prospects but is mainly focused on taking spending clients on a journey where they benefit and, in the end, want to spend more money with you.
First let’s look at a weak follow-up process.
Here are the 6 things sales people tend to follow post-sale.
- Check in
- Support in implementation of service or product
- Pause (waiting for customer to use product/service)
- Check in to get feedback
- Follow up again
If you haven’t seen this before take note. This model of post-sales is killing a lot of account managers opportunities to deliver greater value and more sales.
The main reason is because today’s follow-up process doesn’t
- demonstrate any intention to deliver continual value
- show the power of how your service/product is benefiting your client or
- build on commitments for future purchase
I’d like to introduce you to the new follow-up model or Value-up model.
The ingredients to great follow up today needs to be:
- Intentional – specific and mutually agreed
- Valuable – something that can benefit your client today
- Future focused – It helps to extend the conversation to a view of wider partnership
- Collaborative – there is committed action for both parties to succeed
There it is. The raw ingredients for the most powerful follow-up conversations you’ll have.
What could this conversation look like?
Glad we’ve scheduled this call as I was thinking about our conversation. And although we’re already working together I had some ideas I believe will significantly help you and your team.
We thought about some of the key things that tend to slow progress with many of the clients we work with. We’ve built a video guide that will help you and the team more easily navigate and apply the system to your department. This will reduce the implementation schedule from 5 to 3 days, saving everyone 100s of hours and potentially 1000s of dollars.
We also want to ensure we’re not tied to just this implementation but thinking about the growth of the company and what we might need to plan for later.
Would you agree, planning for this together would help? Great! Let’s set a time to meet with you and the team so we can work out what role we’ll play in making this happen”.
There you have it.
I know it sounds too easy and good to be true and this may not be the conversation you’ll have. But what is easy to do is also easy not to do.
Go ahead and give this process a go. By the way, that was a real example of guy I coached. In next week’s blog I’ll be sharing his thoughts and successes.
Go forth and change your conversations for ever!