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  • Writer's pictureRoger Pierce

Think about your follow up — before you make the sales pitch

There's nothing more boring than the traditional "follow up" email. Here's how you can be more effective and win more customers for your small business.

Sales is a process and the pitch is just one component of that process.

Most sellers drop the ball during follow-up; for example, it's well known that 80% of trade show leads are never followed up. In my experience, the follow up is where the sale is made. You can perfect a pitch but blow it with a late or clumsy follow up technique.

A good follow up technique is creative, sincere, and timely. It's based on permission from the prospect and gives them what they want to see/hear/do as next steps in the sales process. A bad follow up usually involves the seller's idea of closing techniques and a rush to make the deal.

Differentiate your follow-up by:

  • Offering to connect the prospect to an existing customer

  • Giving the prospect a free sample/free login/trial period to test run your offering

  • Sharing a customer testimonial

  • Sending your pricing and an explanation of how you charge

  • Preparing a customized quote or proposal

  • Scheduling another meeting to present all of the above

Or whatever next step makes sense for your business. Avoid sending one of those boring and ineffective "checking in" or "following up" emails because they only annoy buyers and don't add any value.

I like to include "Next Steps" in the pitch so the prospect knows what's coming. It might look like this:

Next Steps:

  1. Review (problem/challenge/situation/website or whatever you talked about)

  2. Identify 3 possible solutions

  3. Price out each of those options in a short proposal and submit on Dec 4

  4. Reconnect a week later to discuss proposal & answer questions

This kind of approach lets the prospect know exactly what will be happening going forward. You can even ask for their permission by saying, "Do these Next Steps work for you?" and let them tailor the steps as they wish — which is a great technique to get a commitment to move forward.

Lastly — do what you promised to do in your Next Steps. So many other sellers never follow up after their pitch, or miss agreed task deadlines. That's pure laziness. After each sales pitch, be sure to schedule enough time in your calendar to do these tasks properly. That's how you'll earn the sale.

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