Sales is 99% Follow Up
One of the greatest differentiators separating good sales people from great salespeople, is the ability to follow-up effectively. Success in sales can be achieved by having a steadfast commitment to client follow up, regardless of how much sales talent one possesses.
Effective follow up begins with business development and securing new clients/contracts/users. Great salespeople will overcome at least 3 objections before accepting “no” for an answer. And they will follow up relentlessly with any opportunity that is yet to make a decision – sometimes for several years before finally reaching the finish line and closing the sale. If you’re one of the few that will continue to pursue the same opportunity for as long as it takes, then you’re half way there. The most important part of follow up, however, begins after the deal is closed.
You should have made many commitments and promises along the way and now it’s time to deliver. Your future credibility depends on your ability to produce what you’ve been promising. Unfortunately, this is where many salespeople end up dropping the ball – losing out on more opportunity and referrals can be very costly. Earning a new client is one thing; retaining that client, and leveraging that relationship to create more business, is quite another.
Onboarding a new client is where you really need to redouble your efforts. It’s critical that the initial experience the new customer has with your organization is a smooth one – slacking off here, and moving on to the next new client will cost you big. You should be laser focused on delivering everything you promised, exactly the way you said it would be delivered. The reward for a smooth kickoff is so valuable it can’t be quantified. This new client of yours will be watching how this plays out very closely. He’s put his trust in you so don’t muck it up.
Regardless if your position requires any kind of project management responsibilities, you should always remain available to the clients, and continue to follow up with them regularly. They entrusted you with their time and money, and when issues arise or curveballs are thrown, you’re the one that needs to take responsibility. The blame-game helps no one. Problem with operations? Finance? Product team? doesn’t matter – take ownership and prove you’re the dynamic problem solver they originally invested in. A salesperson that disappears after the dotted line is signed is chasing a commission check, not a relationship.
So the client is in the door, he/she is very happy, and the stars have aligned for you – NOW is when you solidify that new relationship and make yourself invaluable. Look for ways to benefit the client beyond your product/services you originally sold them on. Search for key contacts within your network to connect them with, introduce new products, services, and ideas that will benefit them and their business. Continue to put forth the effort in becoming a valuable resource to your customer and not only will referrals rain down upon you, but you’ll have built a valuable relationship that will continue to reciprocate value forever.