Follow-Up Is the Key Sales Criteria

The follow-up closes any consistently gaps and turns new opportunities into sales

 

Every sale starts with an opportunity, but not every opportunity results in a sale. Oftentimes, this is due to a lack of follow-up and the resulting loss of trust that discourages prospects from taking the plunge.

 

  • It’s imperative for business owners to remember that opportunities do not automatically turn into sales – follow-up is often necessary to close a deal.
  • Timely follow-up with prospective customers builds trust and creates a sense of urgency, encouraging prospects to act now rather than later.
  • But follow-up doesn’t end once the sale is closed; rather, it should continue through to reporting and relationship management, fostering further trust and ongoing sales and referrals.
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Sales is the lifeline of a business whether small or large, and the sales cycle of every business starts with opportunity. In a successful business, this initiative or opportunity becomes a sale, and the cycle begins anew.

But that opportunity or initiative doesn’t always result in a sale, and in some businesses, this happens more often than the owner would like.

What happened in these cases?

If your company isn’t consistently closing on sales opportunities, you may be overlooking a key sales criteria: follow-up.

Sales follow-up

Follow-up is vital to closing the gap leading into a potential contract or engagement. Many times, the prospective customer is not ready to engage in the short term. This is especially true when the contract requires a large capital investment, and is not necessarily urgent to the client’s everyday operations.

Think about making major investments on your home, for example. Maybe you’ve been considering upgrading your HVAC system or your roof, and perhaps you may have even gotten a few quotes here and there. But your house keeps chugging along with no issues requiring immediate attention, and so you’ve just never gotten around to making these major purchases.

The same thing happens in business – unless a client is in immediate need of whatever you’re selling, chances are they’ll be happy to let the investment slide to the backburner, unless there’s some follow-up on your end to prod them to act now rather than later.

Tracking and following up on a potential sale can make all the difference in your ability to close. By re-engaging with the client at the appropriate time, you can pique their interest, create a sense of urgency, and build trust. Follow-up shows that you care about the client and what is best for their business, and can be counted on to see things through. Conversely, if you don’t follow up after the initial sales meeting, the prospect can begin to lose trust.

And follow-up doesn’t end when the sale goes through.

Once an opportunity becomes a sale, follow-up must shift to reporting, ensuring that Operations and Accounting have accurate data so they can properly execute their functions.

And even when you’re not actively engaged with a customer, follow-up should continue on a periodic basis, ensuring that everything is going smoothly and that there’s nothing additional with which you could help that customer. This ongoing “relationship management” follow-up will continue to foster trust, and often leads to additional sales, referrals, and – most importantly – a lasting business relationship.

Related articles:

3 Marketing Tips to Increase Sales Success

3 Consumer Groups to Drive Sales Success

3 Steps to Empower Your Sales Staff

 

About the author

Alex Hart

Alexander J. Hart of Cuban American decent is principal and founder of Hart Vida Raffo. With over 25 years of experience, Alex specializes in the areas of tax strategy and planning, business process improvement, and capital consulting. Whether advising on capital and financing strategy or consulting for privately-held professional services firms, Alex has the expertise and practical know-how to help any company optimize their business processes and make tactical financial decisions. He began his career at IBM in sales operations and accounting. He was a Controller for the N.Y. Post, has been a CFO for a medical device company, and has written a tax column called “Ask the Tax Guys” for Micro-Cap Review. Alex is a professional member of A.L.T.A. (Affiliated Lawyers of the Americas), a member of the National Association of Tax Preparers, and is a contributing author and mentor at Latin Business Today. Alex graduated from St. John’s University with a B.A. in Spanish and his M.B.A. in Finance. He obtained his accounting degree from Pace University.

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