This Is a Great Article on Sales Contact Process from Bob Bly
It happens to everyone in the service industry, all the time.
You get a phone call from a great prospect.
He's a perfect fit for your service - and he seems ready to buy.
So you send him the information he requested about your services.
And then you hear nothing more from him - despite your repeated attempts to get him on the phone.
"What happened?" you ask yourself, agonizing over this seemingly lost opportunity. "What did I do wrong?"
Relax. You didn't do anything wrong.
"I don't understand," you think. "He seemed so eager and interested when he first called. Did something happen?"
Yes, something happened.
And here, more likely than not, is what that something is....
The day he called you to inquire about your services, he had a pressing problem that he wanted to solve fast.
But priorities can change in a week, overnight, even in a minute - and suddenly, the problem he called you about is now at the bottom of his priority list instead of at the top.
However, you don't know this - and so getting the prospect on the phone is still at the top of YOUR priority list.
And that's where the disconnect is: closing the deal is now much more important to YOU than it is to your prospect.
Can you change that?
Some sales trainers would say yes, and give you a bunch of techniques for making the prospect's need more urgent.
But those techniques are largely useless.
Prospects move according to their timetable, not yours - and there is nothing you can do to change it.
So how do you save the sale?
Well remember, the prospect still has the problem he called you about - and still needs a solution.
Your challenge is to gain "top of mind" awareness - to implant your service in his mind and link it to the nature of the problems you solve.
Then, when the problem pops up and becomes a priority again, in a week or a month or a year from now - and it will - he thinks of you and calls you first.
And the way to make that happen is through good, old-fashioned follow-up.
If you sell a professional, creative, consultative, or technical service, the following 3-part "Triple Play" follow-up system can help you increase your closing rate of leads to sales by as much as 50% or more.
There are 3 components to the system: managed contact, automated contact, and random contact.
Let's take a look at each. They're all simple, and anyone can do them.
First, "managed contact" means you use contact management software - such as Goldmine or Act - to instruct your PC to automatically remind you of when it's time to touch base with any given prospect.
If you've never gotten any feedback from the prospect on the best time to contact him again, you should schedule regular phone or e-mail follow-up at an interval that makes sense to you - perhaps monthly or quarterly.
On the other hand, if the prospect has told you the best time to contact him - e.g., "Call me after Labor Day" - program your contact management software to remind you accordingly.
The second part of the Triple Play Follow-Up system is "automated contact."
This requires you to publish a monthly online newsletter you distribute free to your clients and prospects.
When you get an inquiry or meet a potential client, you always ask "May I sign you up for a free subscription to our on line newsletter?"
Nine out of ten will say yes, allowing you to add their e-mail address to your subscriber list.
Now, a reminder of you and your services - your e-zine - appears in the prospect's mail box every month ... resulting in automated monthly follow-up for all new leads added to your list.
The third type of follow-up is random or sporadic follow-up. This means the follow-up isn't planned; you just do it when the mood or opportunity arises.
My method of random follow-up is to clip articles from the magazines and newspapers I read that would be of interest to a particular client or prospect.
I scribble a brief note on the clipping (often nothing more than "John - FYI - Bob Bly"), put it in a #10 envelope, affix a stamp, and mail it.
And that's the Triple Play Follow-Up system in a nutshell: managed contact ... automated contact via e-newsletter ... random follow-up via the mailing of article clippings.
Any one of these follow-up methods can help make you stand out in your prospect's mind - and separate you from your competitors.
But the 1-2-3 triple follow-up is an unbeatable combination for imprinting your name indelibly on the prospect's memory ... so that when a need for your services does arise, he calls you first.
Copywriter / Consultant
590 Delcina Drive
River Vale, NJ 07675