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The Champion Forum Podcast

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The Dreaded Sales F Word: The One Word You Should Never Say In Sales

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! One word I never want to hear a salesperson use is the word "follow-up." The fact is that your prospects are busy, high-level decision-makers! If you interrupt them, you have to add value to every conversation and quickly remind them of the benefits you can offer. In today’s podcast, I will give you five different ways to move your sales process forward without using the dreaded sales "F" word.

80% of sales require an average of five follow-ups to close the deal. However, 44% of sales reps follow up with a prospect only once before giving up. Worse, when they do follow-up, they do so in a way that fails to add value or remind their prospect of the initial meeting in any way. In today’s super-busy, fast-paced world, you can't afford to interrupt prospects without providing some value and a compelling reason for them to keep the conversation going. If you're not connecting with prospects, it's time to change your approach.

It's safe to say that most of your prospects will not buy from you instantly. You cannot simply introduce someone to your products or services once and expect that they will go the rest of the way by themselves. Every salesperson knows that they need to follow up but many fall into the trap of the sea of sameness by starting their follow-up call with the dreaded words, "I am just following up." 

How to close a sale without using the word "follow-up":

Before you leave your initial meeting, set clear next steps.

Before closing any meeting, get the next one set. This means a mutually agreed date and time with a calendar invitation that is sent and accepted. If they won't agree to the meeting, they likely have already made up their mind and are trying to let you down easily.

When you reach out again, remind the client why you are calling.

Remind your client what prompted the follow-up call in the first place. Refer back to your initial meeting and remind them of the “pain” or the “gain” you discussed. When you do, you will remind the client why they agreed to the call. Most clients are so busy that what felt urgent last week may not seem so urgent this week.

example: “Brad, this is Jeff Hancher calling from ABC Company. Brad, when we spoke last week, you had two concerns. First, you indicated that you were concerned about having your current delivery times, and second, you wanted to streamline your vendors to a single source solution.”

Set the agenda:

My experience tells me that decision-makers like a clear, concise agenda. They want an organized salesperson who doesn’t waste their time. They want someone to take control and move the process forward. Describe what you want to accomplish in the meeting and get agreement.

example: “Brad, I would like to recommend at this stage two things: First, we review the items that have you concerns about, and second, we’ll take a closer look at customizing a better solution for you and getting you the best value for your outsourcing dollar. Then we’ll determine the next steps, if applicable. How does that sound?”

Use email if necessary.

If you are unable to schedule a second meeting and cannot get your prospect on the phone, send them a valuable email. Instead of pushing your product again, send them a relevant resource that relates to their pain point and look to schedule a meeting with them to process the information.

example: "Brad, I know it's a big decision to change from the status quo. That's why I thought you might be interested in this article (case study, webinar, ebook) on (a relevant topic that highlights the value of your program). Let's set up a time to talk through your questions."

Be creative!

Remember that you are fighting for your prospect’s attention. They are focused on their team, their deliverables, and their clients. They are likely fielding calls from other sales professionals. Make your proposal stand out by engaging your creativity! When you change your approach, you will produce different results.

Application Activities

1. Create a new follow-up script for yourself. If you are used to saying, “just following up!” Write out a new script for yourself and fill out the details specific to each prospect before you move to have the follow-up conversation. This script should have these components.

  1. Greeting

  2. Describe the problem you discussed at your last meeting in their own words.

  3. Describe the possible solution you came up with.

  4. Set the agenda for the conversation.

  5. Get agreement.

2. Come up with a few ways you can differentiate yourself as a salesperson. Using an appropriate meme or photo in a follow-up email, sending a small gift or note, or even incorporating a small talking point into your attire (like wearing blue shoelaces) can help prospects remember you and your offer better. 


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