Too often, when listening to mystery shop calls (one of our means to evaluate your customer service) made prior to a Sales training class, I hear phrases like I’ll send you the proposal and Call me if you have any questions.
We also hear that a lot when the training participants do their role plays, even when we’ve just discussed the importance of “controlling” the next step. It appears that this habit is hard to break.
As a customer, how do you feel when a salesperson leaves the decision to move to the next step in your hands? No pressure, right? No one telling you what to do next and when. From the buyer’s standpoint, you’re happy this sales person is not pushy, and you think he’s helping you make that decision.
It is different from the Sales Director’s point of view. You are concerned with follow-ups, sales conversions, revenue, upselling, customer retention and reviews (they will not show that you’ve helped the customers in finding a solution).
In sales, the ball is always in your court, and the consumers rely on the expert to ensure the best decisions are made to fulfill their needs. They’ve come to see you, left the comfort of their home (or office) to visit your place, because they believe you have what they are looking for. They see you as an expert, THE expert. It is up to you to take them where you know they need to be.
Tell them what the next step will be, when it will take place, and what it will accomplish for them. If your sales people leave the next step in the hands of the buyers, they will not succeed in sales.
To increase your conversions, make sure to include a follow-up process in your everyday approach to business. As a result, everyone will be clear about what’s happening next, you will have the assurance that something else will happen after the initial contact, and you will be seen as someone highly efficient.
First, make sure that the next step is clearly defined, no need to be pushy: a visit to their place, a follow-up email with an answer, a phone call to clarify some details, to name a few. If this is put on a calendar at a specific date and time, you won’t miss the opportunity. There is still a chance that they will cancel, or won’t show up, or won’t take your call. However, you now have a reason to reach out to them again, don’t you?
Secondly, once you’ve set the action, date and time, specify what is the objective of the follow-up: I will call you so we can review the shipping details. I will be at your office so I can have a better idea of how you proceed on… So, I will send you the proposal by 2 p.m. this afternoon. I will follow-up with you on Thursday at 9:45a.m. to review it together.
Not bad, hey?
Finally, to be most efficient, do confirm their agreement on your suggestion with a simple verification question such as: Would that work for you? Would this be a good time for you? How does that sound? The customer will feel involved and engaged in the decision process.
Does that make sense to you?